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The Merck Foundation Suspends Funding To The Boy Scouts Of America

The corporation’s giving arm will no longer fund the BSA as long as the organization continues its ban on gay Scouts and Scout leaders. “[W]e cannot continue to provide support to an organization with a policy that is contrary to one of our core beliefs.”

In a open letter on Scouts For Equality, Brian Grill, vice president of the Merck Foundation, explained why it’s severing ties with the BSA:

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.

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.

As part of the broader review of funding decisions in 2013, the Foundation is currently assessing all current and future funding commitments to ensure that it is not funding organizations with policies contrary to its own.

We’re confident that this decision is aligned with our high ethical giving standards and strong core beliefs, and reinforces our long-standing commitment to policies that prevent against discrimination.

The Merck Foundation is joined by Intel Foundation and UPS Foundation in its nondiscriminatory stance on the BSA’s anti-gay policies. According to GLAAD, the decisions were a response to petitions started by Zach Wahls and Scouts for Equality to severe ties with the BSA.

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