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United Way To End Funding To Cleveland Area Boy Scouts

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 4:56 PM

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The United Way of Cleveland says it will stop direct funding to the Boy Scouts of America’s Cleveland chapter. As ideastream’s Brian Bull reports, the decision stems from the BSA’s national policy on sexual orientation.

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The United Way of Cleveland's sign outside their downtown office (pic by Brian Bull). United Way of Cleveland's CEO and President, Bill Kitson (pic by Brian Bull)

Currently, the Boy Scouts of America does not allow gay members or staff.  Bill Kitson, CEO of the United Way of Cleveland, says this violates his organization’s diversity policy.  After some discussion between the two groups, Kitson says United Way chose to end $100,000 worth of direct funding to the BSA in the next funding cycle.

“When we took a look at all the agencies that we fund and their diversity and inclusion policies, we found that the Boy Scouts were the only ones that discriminate,” says Kitson. “If a boy raises his hand and says he is gay, then he is no longer a boy scout, and that discrimination will no longer be tolerated as part of the United Way policy, so we will no longer fund the Boy Scouts come next spring.”

Kitson adds that as a private organization, the Boy Scouts have every right to decide who they serve and who serves them. But he says United Way has the right not to fund an organization that discriminates.

The Boy Scouts of America - Greater Cleveland Council has expressed disappointment in the decision, which ends nearly a century of partnership. 

Kitson says those wishing to specifically donate to the Boy Scouts through United Way can still do so, though its regular processing fee still applies.

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