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UWCR will drop Boy Scouts unless they comply with policy

By , - Last modified: August 24, 2012 at 2:34 PM

United Way of the Capital Region announced today that it will not renew its partnership agreement with Boy Scouts of America — New Birth of Freedom Council unless the council comes in line with its nondiscrimination policy by Jan. 1.

Last month, Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its national policy of barring openly gay scouts and leaders from membership. UWCR said in a press release that the local council has stated it will follow the directive of its national organization, which prompted UWCR to re-examine its agreement.

UWCR Board Chairman Robert S. Jones called the decision "extremely difficult" and said UWCR values the leadership skills and dedication to community service the Boy Scouts teach young men in the community.

"It's because of our long-standing relationship with the Boys Scouts that we will continue funding the organization until the end of its annual partnership agreement," he said.

Joseph M. Capita, UWCR president and CEO, said the conflict with UWCR's nondiscrimination policy was last discussed in 2000, when it was decided the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was acceptable. The community has changed since then, he said.

Capita said the undesignated money United Way distributes is meant to serve all segments of the community, and the Boy Scouts position conflicts with that.

Last year, the Boy Scouts received $89,116 through UWCR's allocation's process, which represents 2.8 percent of the organization's operating budget. Under the current agreement, the organization will receive allocation funding through March 31, 2013.

The press release also noted that the Boy Scouts, like any qualified nonprofit organization, will continue to receive 100 percent of any money directly designated for it from United Way donors.

Patrick Jinks, president and CEO of United Way of Lancaster County, said it has not reviewed its policy recently but does currently fund a local Boy Scout program.

"What we're funding with them doesn't violate our nondiscrimination policy," he said.

Jinks also noted that United Ways are local and autonomous.

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