This is a short diary, but here's a bit of good news that I haven't seen reported here today. The Merck Foundation, the charitable arm of the pharmaceutical giant Merck, has officially suspended financial support for the Boy Scouts of America. They have become the latest company, following Intel and UPS, to end donations to the BSA over the organization's discriminatory anti-gay policy barring gay Scouts and Scouters. We can give major thanks to the grassroots group Scouts for Equality, founded by famed Eagle Scout Zach Wahls. Wahls has spearheaded the fight to pressure corporations to cease their donations to the BSA, and it has clearly been working.
In 2011, Merck gave $30,000 to the BSA. These are not small contributions the BSA is losing due to their embrace of an antiquated, homophobic policy.
This is what the Merck Foundation's Brian Gill had to say about the decision:
The Merck Foundation believes that it is critical to honor and support a foundational policy of diversity and inclusion in all funding decisions. Recently, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) restated its policy that excludes members on the basis of sexual orientation. The BSA’s policy of exclusion directly conflicts with the Merck Foundation’s giving guidelines. On that basis the Merck Foundation has decided to suspend funding to the BSA. The decision to suspend support applies to direct funding from the Merck Foundation, the matching of gifts from Merck employees, and paid time off for volunteering.That makes this Eagle Scout happy.
The Foundation has supported the BSA for many years and we continue to herald the fine work that the BSA has done in communities throughout the country. We know that many of you have personally contributed to the BSA and that this decision may be upsetting to some of you. However, we cannot continue to provide support to an organization with a policy that is contrary to one of our core beliefs. We remain ready and willing to re-consider our funding position in the event that the BSA were to revise its policy.
Good for the Merck Foundation, and good for the activists who helped make this happen.
Now, the next corporate target: Verizon. Sign the petition to tell Verizon to stop giving to the BSA. Hopefully they will be the next domino to fall.