LGBT activists claim victory with Intel decision on Boy Scout funding

LGBT-rights advocates have declared victory in their campaign to get Intel to stop funding the Boy Scouts of America until that organization eliminates its policy of excluding gays and lesbians.

An American Independent investigation published Tuesday showed that in 2010 — the most recent year for which the company’s tax filings are available — Intel donated about $700,000 to local Boy Scout groups. The donations were part of the “Intel Involved” volunteer matching program, in which the company donates money to organizations its employees volunteer for.

Like a number of other corporations identified in the TAI story, Intel’s foundation has a policy that specifically bars donations to organizations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

In response to the TAI investigation, Eagle Scout and LGBT-rights advocate Zach Wahls — with the support of GLAAD — launched a petition; calling on Intel to stop funding the Scouts until the anti-gay policy was reversed.

Wahls declared victory after Intel released the following statement to Think Progress on Friday:

Intel and the Intel Foundation give millions of dollars annually to great organizations doing valuable service around the globe. Intel has not provided funding to the National Boy Scouts of America organization. The $700,000 in funding from the Intel Foundation was donated to local Boy Scout troops or councils where our employees volunteer their time, through our volunteer matching grants program.

In an effort to recognize our employees commitment to the communities we call home, Intel expanded its volunteer matching grants program in 2009.  Through it, Intel matches the amount of time employees’ volunteer with non-profits with dollars from the Intel Foundation. Due to significant growth in the number of organizations funded, earlier this year we revisited our policies associated with the program, and applied new rigor that requires any organization to confirm that it adheres to Intel’s anti-discrimination policy in order to receive funding.

Intel is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and to supporting the communities in which we live and work.

According to Think Progress, “Under the policy, the growing number of Boy Scout troops and councils that refuse to abide by BSA’s discriminating policy would still be eligible for Intel’s funding.”

In our Tuesday story, TAI reported:

When asked about the Intel’s funding policies, Intel Foundation executive director Wendy Ramage-Hawkins told TAI via email: “All organizations seeking financial support from the Intel Foundation are required to affirm their compliance with Intel’s non-discrimination corporate donation policy. Organizations that cannot affirm their compliance will not receive funding from the Intel Foundation.”

Intel wouldn’t say whether or not it would continue to fund the Boy Scouts.

“We will know if and when they affirm our non-discrimination policy and request our support,” Ramage-Hawkins said.

She later clarified that the Intel Foundation will be asking for a statement of agreement with their nondiscrimination policy in the next grant cycle but had not done so in the past.

“We have not previously asked for affirmation, so this will be the first time the question is raised,” she said.

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