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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 3, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 27
Girl Scouts of Western Washington give back $100K donation requiring discrimination against Trans girls
Raise $309,865 in four days on Indiegogo in response
Section One
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Girl Scouts of Western Washington give back $100K donation requiring discrimination against Trans girls
Raise $309,865 in four days on Indiegogo in response

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Girl Scouts of Western Washington have returned a donation of $100,000 because the donor asked that it not be used to benefit Transgender girls.

The gift was substantial. The one donation alone represents almost 30% of the group's annual $350,000 in donations.

The organization said that the money would have been enough to help 500 girls who needed extra financial support to participate in GSA programs, but that their commitment to providing inclusive Scouting experiences was more important.

'The donor asked us to return the donation unless we could guarantee that the money wouldn't serve transgender girls,' the group said in their June 30 media release.

'We said we couldn't (and wouldn't) guarantee such a thing because Girl Scouts is for EVERY girl. And we gave the money back.'

To replace the donation and help provide financial assistance for additional girls, GSA of Western Washington has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

'We've never done anything like this before, but we want to send a loud and clear message that our community is stronger BECAUSE we are inclusive,' the group said in its media release.

'Girl Scouts empowers every girl, regardless of her gender identity, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, to make the world a better place. We won't exclude any girl,' the fundraising pitch on the Indiegogo webpage says.

'Every girl deserves access to a safe, friendly environment where she can stand up for what she believes in and be proud of who she is.'

According to GSA, 4,000 donors have responded to date, with enough money to fund activities for 1,000 girls.

Many donors also left comments recalling their own experiences as Girl Scouts. Jennifer Leonard, one of the donors, said the donation had a personal significance.

'From a lifetime member of Girl Scouts, Gold & Silver Award recipient, and trans masculine identified person I thank you very much for honoring GSUSA's mission to be for ALL girls by sacrificing such a huge gift. I am glad to see you are on track to be repaid 2 fold! Girl Scout Camp was such an important experience for me, I'm honored to enable a girl to attend,' Leonard wrote.

GSA did not reveal the name of the donor, but they did say that they received the money before Caitlyn Jenner came out as a Trans woman in May. Once Jenner's story went viral, the donor sent the Girl Scouts a short letter asking 'Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls. If you can't, please return the money.'

Unlike the Boy Scouts, who are struggling with their inclusion polices, GSA has been open to Trans girls since 2011, and has been open to Lesbian girls and parents since 1991.

As of Thursday evening, July 2, Indiegogo's 'Girl Scouts is #ForEVERYGirl' has raised $309,685 by 6526 people in four days with 27 days left. Their goal was $100,000 to replace the donation they returned.

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