Talk about an emotional roller coaster.
A Girl Scout council in Western Washington was thrilled to receive a $100,000 donation – a sum that could have sent 500 disadvantaged scouts to camp – except for one catch: The donor stipulated that the money should not be spent on transgender scouts – a problem for the organization whose national leadership announced a new, non-discrimination policy in May.
“If a girl is recognized by her family, school and community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe,” Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Chief Girl Expert for the Girl Scouts, wrote in a statement.
In late May, just as Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transition played out in the public eye, the Queen Anne offices of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington got a note from a donor saying: “Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls. If you can’t, please return the money.”
Council CEO Megan Ferland elected not to name the donor, citing privacy concerns, but she told Seattle Met that the relationship between the organization and the donor is “complex.”
Ferland said that while the request made her “very sad,” she decided to return the money. “Girl Scouts is for every girl,” she says. “And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”
Always resourceful, the scouts found another way to raise the money. They launched an IndieGoGo campaign to match the amount – and they succeeded, surpassing their goal, raising $193,108 in just one day. “Thank you for sending the loud and clear message that Girl Scouts is for EVERY girl!” their fundraising site reads.
It wasn’t the first time Ferland has had to stand up for the Scout’s policy of inclusivity. After a 7 year-old was denied entry to a Denver troop over her gender identity, Ferland made a public statement welcoming transgender girls into the organization.