Girl Scouts refuse $100,000 anti-transgender donation

Girl Scouts Raise Money After Declining Anti-Transgender Donation

SEATTLE (AP) — The Girl Scouts of Western Washington said it has returned a $100,000 donation because it came with the provision that the money couldn't be used to support transgender girls.

The group said it sent back the money in late May after the donor had asked that the gift be returned unless the group guaranteed it would not be used to benefit transgender girls.

"Girl Scouts is for every girl, and that is every girl regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion. Every girl is every girl," Megan Ferland, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, said in an 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 local council has transgender girls participating in the Girl Scouts, said Kate Dabe, the council's vice president of marketing and communications. To preserve their privacy, Dabe declined to say how many or provide other details about them.

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President Obama caves to Girl Scouts, wears tiara plus other Pete Souza photos
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Girl Scouts refuse $100,000 anti-transgender donation
Still editing 2014 Year in Photos. I may include this one even though it's a posed photo. This is from the annual White House Science Fair. The kids from Girl Scout Troop 2612 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, convinced the President to wear a tiara with them for their group photo. The girls had exhibited a Lego flood proof bridge project.
US President Barack Obama greets Girl Scouts from Accokeek Academy after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base May 9, 2014 in Maryland. Obama is returning to Washington after spending three days in California mainly fund raising. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Cool shadows in the Oval Office today.
Still editing my 2014 Year in Photographs. I considered this portrait of the President during a meeting with staff in the Rose Garden but ultimately decided not to use it in the final edit. Here's why: although I used the widest aperture on a long lens to blur the background, I should have also used a slightly lower angle so the brighter area in the mid-upper background was directly behind his head. Although some people might not be bothered by this, it actually torments me that I missed this detail while making this frame. Alas, another frame from this same situation will make the final edit and you'll be surprised how different it is from this one.
Winter Wonderland at the White House.
US President Barack Obama greets Girl Scouts from Accokeek Academy after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base May 9, 2014 in Maryland. Obama is returning to Washington after spending three days in California mainly fund raising. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Rembrandt meets POTUS. I'm in the process of editing my 2014 Year in Photos from the White House. Think this one from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam might make the final cut.
President Obama opens a Christmas present from his personal secretary, Ferial Govashiri, today in the Oval Office.
President Obama's feet during a town hall on immigration in Nashville today.
President Obama holds a koala before the start of the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia.
US President Barack Obama greets Girl Scouts from Accokeek Academy after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base May 9, 2014 in Maryland. Obama is returning to Washington after spending three days in California mainly fund raising. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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But $100,000 is a lot of money, the group noted, representing about one-quarter of what it raises each year to provide financial help for girls to go to camp and participate in other activities.

So leaders of the local nonprofit, one of 112 independent local councils across the country and that serves more than 25,000 girls in western Washington, talked about how to they could communicate their needs to the community.

On Monday, the group set up a crowdfunding campaign asking for help to fill the gap. "Help us raise back the $100,000 a donor asked us to return because we welcome transgender girls," it said on its fundraising page on Indiegogo.com.

By Tuesday afternoon, thousands had given more than $185,000.

"We are astounded," Dabe said. "We were prepared for a 30-day campaign. We raised our goal in a day."

Dabe declined to share details about the donor, citing privacy concerns.

Ferland said the donor gave the money a few months back. But in the midst of a national discussion about the Girl Scouts USA being an inclusive organization and discussions about Bruce Jenner's transgender journey, the donor wrote back with the catch, Ferland said.

In an emailed statement Tuesday, Girl Scouts USA said that the group, "as a movement, has always been committed to inclusivity and supporting all girls." It said it works with local councils, which are responsible for their own fundraising. "Inclusion of transgender girls is handled at a council level on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of all members as a top priority," the group added.

In Washington state, the local council has heard from both sides on the issue, but the overwhelming majority of comments have been positive, Ferland said.

"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," Ferland said.

But plenty of supporters, including current and former Girl Scouts, praised the move on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

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Girl Scouts refuse $100,000 anti-transgender donation
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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: A Girl Scouts sells cookies as a winter storm moves in on February 8, 2013 in New York City. The scouts did brisk business, setting up shop in locations around Midtown Manhattan on National Girl Scout Cookie Day. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: Girl Scouts sell cookies as a winter storm moves in on February 8, 2013 in New York City. The scouts did brisk business, setting up shop in locations around Midtown Manhattan on National Girl Scout Cookie Day. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: Girl Scouts sell cookies as a winter storm moves in on February 8, 2013 in New York City. The scouts did brisk business, setting up shop in locations around Midtown Manhattan on National Girl Scout Cookie Day. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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SILVER SPRING,MD - February, 22:Girl Scout Min Hunt-Neu, 11, loads up her cookies Wednesday February 22, 2012 in Silver Spring, MD. She sold 100 boxes.(Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Girl Scout cookie boxes were loaded into vehicles during the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California's Mega Drop event at Big Valley Church in Modesto, California, Monday, February 20, 2012. Approximately 322,130 packages of cookies were distributed to Girl Scout troops for delivery. (Bart Ah You/Modesto Bee/MCT via Getty Images)
SILVER SPRING,MD - February, 22:Girl Scout Min Hunt-Neu, 11, looks over her cookie list Wednesday February 22, 2012 in Silver Spring, MD. She sold 100 boxes.(Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
SCOUTCOOKIES09-- Jason Henderson helps local Girl Scout troop at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont as they pick up their Girl Scout Cookie orders. Millions of packages of Girl Scout Cookies are being distributed throughout the state over the next week! These packages will fulfill customer orders and help girls gear up for Girl Scout Cookie Booth Sales at grocery stores and other retail locations from Feb. 12 to March 7. RJ Sangosti/ The Denver Post (Photo By RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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