Dec 102012
Merck Foundation

The charitable foundation for pharmaceutical company Merck is the latest corporate leader to suspend financial support for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) over the organization’s anti-gay policies. The Merck Foundation’s Brian Gill explains that BSA’s refusal to allow gay scouts does not align with the company’s nondiscrimination guidelines:

The Merck Foundation believes that it is critical to honor and support a foundational policy of diversity and inclusion in all funding decisions. Recently, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) restated its policy that excludes members on the basis of sexual orientation. The BSA’s policy of exclusion directly conflicts with the Merck Foundation’s giving guidelines. On that basis the Merck Foundation has decided to suspend funding to the BSA. The decision to suspend support applies to direct funding from the Merck Foundation, the matching of gifts from Merck employees, and paid time off for volunteering.

The Foundation has supported the BSA for many years and we continue to herald the fine work that the BSA has done in communities throughout the country. We know that many of you have personally contributed to the BSA and that this decision may be upsetting to some of you. However, we cannot continue to provide support to an organization with a policy that is contrary to one of our core beliefs. We remain ready and willing to re-consider our funding position in the event that the BSA were to revise its policy.

Gill notes that Merck will be assessing its other giving to ensure that no other charitable recipients have similar conflicting policies. The company had given $30,000 to Boy Scout entities in 2011.

Merck joins Intel and UPS in withholding support from the Scouts until they update their policies. Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls is also currently petitioning Verizon to do the same.