Earlier this week, The American Independent reported that Intel was one of the Boy Scouts of America’s largest corporate donors in 2010, giving over $700,000 to local troops and councils as matching grants for employees’ volunteer work. Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls responded by launching a Change.org petition calling on the computer chip maker to cease financial support for any group, like the Boy Scouts, that discriminates against people based on their sexual orientation.
Today, Intel clarified to ThinkProgress that it has already adjusted its policies to prevent such donations in the future. The company first launched its Involved Matching Grant Program three years ago, offering donations to organizations for which employees volunteer, but there was originally no mechanism to ensure that they aligned with Intel’s nondiscrimination principles. As checks were being cut at the end of last year, Intel realized that many were going to organizations — including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts — that were out of step with those principles. This year, for the first time, prospective recipients of Intel grants will have to sign a statement confirming that they do not discriminate based on creed or sexual orientation, and any groups that cannot do so will be ineligible for funding.
Intel’s Chief Diversity Officer, Rosalind Hudnell, provided the following statement to ThinkProgress:
HUDNELL: 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.
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. Hopefully, the company’s ongoing commitment to its employees and their volunteer work will help more troops shift to a policy of inclusion.
Change.org offered the following comment from Zach Wahls upon conclusion of his petition:
WAHLS: Intel made the right decision here, in order to live up to their corporate values of diversity, equality and individual liberty. Companies that support the LGBT community simply can’t be in the business of funding organizations that discriminate. Frankly, by sending this message, Intel is upholding the true spirit of Scouting better than the BSA is today.