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The Gifts of Inclusion


NEW YORK TIMES | When a donor made a $100,000 gift to the Girl Scouts’ Western Washington Council last March, it was time to break out the hand-shaped clappers.

“Our development office has these clapper doodads, like you use on New Year’s Eve, and we clap them whenever we get a success,” the Girl Scouts’ area chief executive, Megan Ferland, recalled with a chuckle. That day, she said, “the clappers were going crazy.”

One hundred thousand dollars was a big donation for the council, which represents about 25,500 girls in 17 counties in the western part of Washington State.

But in late April, after the funds were in hand, Ms. Ferland received a letter from the donor. This was around the time that Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner who changed her name and gender, was in the news.

“I will characterize the letter as saying essentially that they had seen news coverage of the Girl Scouts allowing transgender girls to participate in their programs,” says Ms. Ferland, who declined to identify the donor. “They wanted assurance that their funds would not help support transgender girls participating and if I couldn’t give that assurance they wanted the money returned.” Before she even finished reading the letter, “I thought to myself, ‘The money’s going back.’”

Since its founding in 1912 by the philanthropist Juliette Gordon Low ... Read the full story!