A Donation Request from the Boy Scouts of America

And how I handled it.

Apparently, Arizona Highways magazine has once again featured my helicopter charter company, Flying M Air, in its magazine. This time, I’m on a list of “31 Things To Do Before You Die.” Although I should be thrilled about this, I’m not. I’m only in Arizona half the year and, in all honesty, have begun thinking of moving my business to Washington permanently.

But I digress.

With publicity like that comes the usual collection of beggars. People looking for money or service donations or “partnerships” with what they believe are ultra-successful businesses come out of the woodwork, visit my site, and start contacting me by phone and email. The ballsiest of these (so far) has been The Boy Scouts of America. Here’s the email their fundraising person sent me yesterday:

Today I am writing concerning the Grand Canyon Council, Boy Scouts of America’s First Annual East Valley Golf Tournament, which will be held on Saturday September 15, 2012 at the Alta Mesa Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona. This will be the first of what we hope will many annual golf out to celebrate the Character Development programs of Scouting here in our community.

Scouting serves nearly 50,000 young people annual in our community with the mission of preparing our youth members to make ethical and moral over their lifetime by instilling in them the Scout Oath and Law. You will find enclosed additional information about some of our successes for your review.

The Alta Mea Golf Club’s 7,093 yard Dick Phelps designed Championship course will provide a wonderful setting for our first annual event. The East Valley Golf Tournament will include lunch, great raffle items, a silent auction, and a player participation package that will be worth in excess of $150.

The event’s auction and lunch will create a great deal of excitement that will top off a perfect day of golf and fellowship. Most auction items are unique, high quality items and/or packages that auction winner’s treasure. I’d like to ask you to consider donating a Multi Day Excursion. Your donation will help Scouting make a positive difference in the lives of over 50,000 children in our community. All donors are recognized in the event program.

If you would like to contribute to this worthy cause, please contact us. Should you have any questions, please contact me at 602-###-#### or XXXXXXX@bsamail.org. Thank you for your consideration of our request. Your generous support will be deeply appreciated!

There was no enclosure. She obviously copied and pasted a boilerplate letter into the message content field on the form on Flying M Air’s website.

Apparently, her editing was limited to requesting a specific service we offer: a Multi-Day Excursion. What you might not know, however, is that our Southwest Circle Helicopter Adventure costs $6,995 for two people. So she was asking for us to donate nearly $7K worth of services for … wait for it … recognition in the event program and their deep appreciation.

Wow.

I did say ballsy, didn’t I?

Of course, The Boy Scouts of America have been in the news quite a bit lately. The New York Times‘ July 17, 2012 article titled “Boy Scouts to Continue Excluding Gay People” — published just two days before I received the email above — begins with the summary:

The Boy Scouts of America has reaffirmed its longtime policy of barring openly gay boys from membership and gay or lesbian adults from serving as leaders. The decision, announced on Tuesday, came after what the organization described as a wide-ranging internal review, and despite public protests.

The article goes on to provide details. If you’re not aware of BSA’s stance on gays, you really ought to read it or one of the dozens of other articles exposing the BSA as the homophobic, backward-thinking organization that it is. Just Google “boy scouts gay” and you’ll get enough links to last through a week of reading.

I guess the BSA’s fundraising people think that their stance on gays is something we should all be glad about — something we all want to support by donating to their charity events. Why else would I get an email message asking for a donation so soon after the BSA made their announcement?

Well, I’m not glad. I don’t think any group should be discriminated against for any reason. The BSA is excluding scouts and leaders based on their sexual orientation. That’s just plain wrong.

I didn’t waste much time crafting a response to the request. I kept it short and simple:

I’m sorry, but the BSA’s anti-gay stance makes it impossible for us to support them. I’m sure you understand.

And I don’t think anything has given me as much pleasure lately as clicking that Send button.

6 thoughts on “A Donation Request from the Boy Scouts of America

  1. 1. I think you did the right thing.
    2. The pitch letter is full or errors.
    3. The most pleasure lately. Really?

  2. Gay Eagle Scout here from the 1970s.

    The Boy Scouts of America won their right to discriminate against gays and atheist youth, youth parents (who are gay and/or atheist) and adult leaders (who are gay and/or atheist) in 2000 per the US Supreme court. See links below (if interested).

    “Scouting For All” was formed in 1993 to promote tolerance and diversity within the Boy Scouts of America in the face of its policies requiring members to be heterosexuals who believe in God. Imagine, “Scouting For All” was formed 1993! That’s a long time.

    Eventually, the ACLU got on board and started to really tighten the screws to the BSA which resulted in the Boy Scouts losing many of their rights to camp and use government facilities. They have lost all their rights to camp on military bases (which I used to do in the 1970s) and lost their rights to have their camps rented on government property. They’ve also lost a lot of corporate funding.

    One of the main problems with the Boy Scouts of America is the Mormon church. The Mormon Church has typically been one of the BSA’s largest donors.

    The only Boy Scout organizations which discriminate against gays and atheists are all Arab Scouting organizations and the Boy Scouts of America.

    Boy Scouts of America v. Dale
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_Scouts_of_America_v._Dale

    BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA V. DALE (99-699) 530 U.S. 640 (2000)
    160 N. J. 562, 734 A. 2d 1196, reversed and remanded.
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-699.ZO.html

    Exclusionary Practices & Policies of the Boy Scouts of America
    http://www.bsa-discrimination.org/index.html

    Scouting For All
    http://www.scoutingforall.org/

    Scouting For All Wikipedia page:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scouting_for_All

    30 second YouTube video about the Boy Scouts of America, discrimination, Scouting for All and being gay:
    http://youtu.be/-dVO7BamMUQ

  3. Not sure if anyone cares now at this point, but in case you didn’t know, policy has been overturned. Scouting now allows gay youth and leaders at the Sole discretion of their chartered organizations.

    So if a church starts a troop and decides no gays, then there will be none permitted.

    But if a local organization starts a troop and wants to allow gay membership/leadership, it’s 100% acceptable.

  4. I don’t entirely agree nor disagree with this article. When I got to the cost of the multi-day excursion I was quite surprised that it was asked for. That’s A LOT! However, as a parent in a troop and part of fundraising efforts for our small group of boys, quite often letters and requests are sent out to all area businesses and it’s possible the individual making the request has NO way of knowing that a donation of this size could NOT be accommodated. You never know until you ask. People making requests are not necessarily expected to be professional writers. They are more likely people just like me: A parent trying to help the troop. I think the original homophobic ruling is BS and am glad it was overturned. I find it very disappointing (for all involved) that the courts’ ruling could trickle down to change the mind of one person or one company to donate one item to one troop and that donation could make the difference in the life of ONE BOY.

    • This was written before the ruling was overturned. I cannot support any organization that discriminates against anyone for any reason. I’m also VERY glad the ruling was overturned and am more likely to support the BSA in the future. In general, however, I support organizations that help people without applying faith-generated tests or values.

What do you think?