On Friday, Disney announced that they planned to halt funding to the Boy Scouts of America beginning in 2015 over the Scouts’ controversial ban on gay leaders. The group voted last year to allow gay youth member, but not gay leaders.
Disney does not contribute to the BSA directly but its VoluntEARS program allows employees to perform volunteer work in exchange for donations to organizations of their choice. The Boy Scouts are no longer eligible for funding through that program.
The news first came to light after a troop council in Florida alerted local troops of the decision (Walt Disney World is in Orlando, and so the company has many ties to the community). One Florida scout leader said that some troops were receiving up to $6,000 a year through the program. It’s unclear exactly how much funding Disney provides to the BSA. Its full VoluntEARS program contributed $4.8 million in charitable donations in 2010.
Disney’s charity guidelines say that groups become ineligible for funds if the discriminate in a manner inconsistent with Disney’s own policies on the basis of sexual orientation, as well as other traits including, race, religion, and sex.
“We’re never happy to see Scouting suffer as a result of the BSA’s anti-gay policy,” Zach Wahls, a co-founder of Scouts For Equality, said in a statement. “But Disney made the right decision to withhold support until Scouting is fully inclusive."