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Valero, other corporations, giving big to Boy Scouts despite anti-gay policies

Photo: Photo illustration by Chuck Kerr, License: N/A

Photo illustration by Chuck Kerr



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Attempts were made to contact each foundation, but many went unreturned. Some foundations said they would wait until the next grant cycle to determine if the Boy Scouts qualify for funding.

Fred Solomon, vice president of corporate communications for the PNC Financial Services Group, told TAI via email: "The PNC Foundation provides support based on the strength of a group's proposal and its alignment with the foundation's priorities. Without a specific funding proposal before it, the foundation would not speculate on the potential for future support."

Kathleen Manning, public relations manager for the Monsanto Fund, said in an email statement, "No preemptive decisions to fund the group have been made and if we receive a grant request from the Boy Scouts of America again we will evaluate it at that time."

Enforcing the policy

Specific Boy Scout councils that have benefited from donations from these corporate foundations in the past have reportedly kicked out gay scouts and volunteers.

The Cradle of Liberty Council in Philadelphia voted in May 2003 to end its participation in the national policy of discrimination based on sexual orientation. But just weeks later, the council kicked out a scout named Greg Lattera after he told media outlets that he was an openly gay boy scout.

"He decided to hold a press conference to come out as a member of the gay community," William T. Dwyer, the chief executive of the council, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Our staff knew he was gay and never made a big deal about it. He decided to make a big deal about it.

The don't-ask, don't-tell policy is pretty clear."

The Inquirer noted that the council's policy had "no mention of don't ask, don't tell."

By that summer, the council had adopted a policy that stated: "Applications for leadership and membership do not inquire into sexual orientation. However, an individual who declares himself to be a homosexual would not be permitted to join Scouting."

News outlets cited threats by the national Boy Scouts of America to revoke the council's charter if it did not revert to the national policy on gays and scouting.

The council lost hundreds of thousands in grant funding from the United Way, Pew Charitable Trusts, and William Penn Foundation after it dismissed Lattera and changed the policy. The incident also spurred the Philadelphia City Council to review a 1928 agreement that lent the Boy Scout council city land for $1 a year. In 2006, the city raised the rent from $1 to a market rate of $200,000 on the Boy Scouts after the council failed to state that it would not discriminate based on sexual orientation. The Boy Scouts sued and won the right to remain in the building. In 2010, a jury sided with the Boy Scouts on free speech grounds.

Several corporate foundations donated to the Cradle of Liberty Council in 2010. Bank of America gave $1,500; Verizon gave $250; and PNC gave $150. UPS appears to have given $5,000 – the foundation's tax form indicated a donation to "Boy Scouts – Cradle of" but the rest was cut off.

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