Aug Sept 2016
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Girl Scouts Return $100K When Donor Demands It 'Not Be Used' For Trans Girls

Girl Scouts Return $100K When Donor Demands It 'Not Be Used' For Trans Girls

UPDATE: An Indiegogo campaign set up by the Girl Scouts of Western Washington has raised more than $103,000 in 24 hours. Get the details here

The Girl Scouts of Western Washington were overjoyed last month when they learned they'd received a $100,000 donation that could send 500 girls to camp. But the celebratory mood soon changed when the donor sent a follow-up note, according to the Seattle Met:

"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 told the newspaper her decision wasn't hard after that, though she was "very sad" to see discrimination possibly deny her troop resources. She wrote a note back to the donor, who she was careful not to name, saying she would not be accepting their money.

"Girl Scouts is for every girl," she said of her decision. "And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to."

The Girl Scouts of Western Washington started an Indiegogo fundraiser dubbed #ForEVERYGirl, asking the public to help the troop recoup the donation lost because of the organization's trans-inclusive stance. Within one day, the troop raised more than $103,000, with donations still pouring in.

"$100,000 is a lot of money," the troop explained on their fundraising page. "In fact, it's almost a third of our entire financial assistance program for this year — and girls need this support now. That's why losing the gift is such a big deal." The money is intended to aid families who cannot afford to pay for Girl Scouts programming, which the troop says can be life-changing and empowering for all kinds of girls.

Girls Scouts of the USA has long welcomed transgender girls in its troops on a "case by case" basis, first making headlines in 2011 when a Colorado troop faced conservative outrage over welcoming a 7-year-old trans girl. Last month the organization reaffirmed their trans-inclusive stance when the anti-LGBT American Family Association targeted the organization, gathering tens of thousands of signatures on a petition demanding the Girl Scouts rescind its trans-inclusive policy.

In a statement at the time, Girls Scouts USA Chief Girl Expert Andrea Bastani Archibald made it clear that the nonprofit would continue its mission of "serving all girls":

"There is not one type of girl. Every girl's sense of self, path to it, and how she is supported is unique," Archibald wrote, later adding, "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."

Hear more from the Girl Scouts in the video below.

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