US: Merck Foundation ceases funding for Boy Scouts of America

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The charitable arm of a pharmaceutical and health company has ceased donations to the Boy Scouts of America due to its anti-gay policy for volunteers, members, and staff.

The Merck Foundation, the charitable branch of the company based out of New Jersey, has said it stopped giving money to the BSA because the anti-gay policy conflicts with “giving guidelines and the company’s nondiscrimination policy,” reports the Morning Call.

Reports suggested that the foundation had given $30,000 (£19,000) to the BSA in 2011, and $10,000 (£6,000) to the Cradle of Liberty Council, a Boy Scout Council covering Philadelphia, Montgomery and Delaware counties.

Kenneth C Frazier, the CEO of Merck, was a boy scout when he was younger, and received the “Good Scout” award from the Cradle of Liberty Boy Scout Council, back in June.

Back in July, after a two year review, the Boy Scouts of America announced it would retain its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff.

The Boy Scouts have already lost funding from several large corporate donors, including UPS, back in November, who had given over $150,000 (£95,000) to the BSA, and Intel, another of the scouts’ largest donors, ceased funding back in September.

As well as corporate sponsorship, synagogues and other Jewish organisations across the United States began terminating their relationships with the Boy Scouts of America over its policy.

Earlier this month, a California Boy Scout who was refused the prestigious Eagle Scout Badge for being gay, was honoured by the California state Assembly, after presenting a petition with 400,000 signatures to the BSA, and appearing on the Ellen show.

The Merck foundation said it would consider giving money again in future, if the policy were to change.