How much money did The Girl Scouts of Western Washington receive from one donor last month? $100,000. How valuable is teaching young girls about not compromising their integrity? Priceless.
After receiving a very generous donation of $100,000, The Girl Scouts of Western Washington were overjoyed! But their joy was short lived as they realized the donor had a specific use in mind for their money…and it didn’t involve every girl.
The Girl Scouts added a new inclusive policy to their mandate earlier this year which states:
“If a child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organisation that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe”
In May, The American Family Association put together a petition in an attempt to ban transgender girls from participating in the group. They wanted The Girl Scouts to be exclusively for “biological girls”. The petition said:
“Boys in skirts, boys in make-up and boys in tents will become a part of the programme. This change will put young innocent girls at risk.”
That association wasn’t alone in their disapproval. The donor who gave The Girl Scouts the $100,000 cheque added a stipulation to their donation shortly after the new policy was revealed. The donor made clear that the money was not to be used to benefit transgender youth.
Not many participants in The Girl Scouts are transgender, and the conditioned donation was about one-quarter of their yearly financial needs, yet the organization did something truly honourable – they sent that money back.
Chief executive officer of The Girl Scouts of Western Washington, Megan Ferland, spoke out about the choice in an interview. She said it was “one of the easiest decisions I’ve had to make. It was a sad decision, but a really quick one”. She also stated:
“Girl Scouts is for every girl. It always has been and always will be. I could not be put in a position where I would have to turn girls away.” Interview Tuesday It was a sad decision, but it was not a difficult decision. There was no way I would be put in a situation of refusing a girl participating because of a gift. It was really that quick.”
The interview was for Seattle Metropolitan and Ferland acknowledged that they knew there might be back lash from their new policy. She stated:
“I understand that people have different views. We stand by the fact that Girl Scouts is for every girl. We knew going in that not everyone would share that view.”
After the money was returned to the donor, they realized that they had to make that money back. So this week they launched a 30 day crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo.com. Their goal was to make back the $100,000 that was returned. Their story touched the hearts and wallets of many.
Stefanie Ellis is the cousin PR director for The Girl Scouts. She said that it was the first time they had ever dipped their toes into crowd funding and that it was “very new territory”. Yet that new territory treated them very well! Within one day they surpassed their goal of $100,000 and by Wednesday, July 1st they reached nearly $280,000 with 28 days still left to go!
Ellis told US Weekly:
“We wholeheartedly believe EVERY girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to. The only way we’re going to fulfill our mission of building girls’ courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place, is if we make sure there aren’t any barriers in place for girls’ success. We welcome all girls to join us, and get out there and make a difference in our world.”
“To see that we not only made our goal in our FIRST day, but surpassed it, is not something that can be easily described. The words ‘grateful,’ ‘blown away,’ ‘thrilled,’ and ‘moved’ to come to mind, though even those words don’t seem to easily articulate what we’re feeling over here. Because at the end of the day, it’s about the girls. It’s why we do what we do. It’s why we were moved to find another source of funding when the one we initially had was given back.”
The Girl Scouts of Western Washington serve over 25,000 young girls and your donations are invaluable in helping them. Since their story was shared, #ForEVERYGirl has gone viral.
To donate visit their crowd funding page at:
Do it #ForEVERYGirl!!
Girl Scouts of Western WA “Girl Scouts is #ForEVERYGirl!” Youtube. 29 June 2015. Web. 2 July 2015.