United Way funding for Scouts on hold due to policy on gays
SUNBURY – The Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way Board voted unanimously this week to place discretionary funding for the local council of Boy Scouts of America “on hold”, due to their policy on homosexuals. The national Boy Scouts of America organization continues to review a policy of “not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals.”
The local United Way chapter said the action was taken in response to recent discussions at the national level and in the context of some large corporations withdrawing their support for the Boy Scouts of America. Eric Rowe is board chairman of the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way.
Rowe said, “We have appropriated money for the Boy Scouts, which we have put in escrow until the national organization makes a decision in regards to gays and homosexuals.”
Jon Brennan is Scout Executive and CEO of the Susquehanna Council of the Boy Scouts of America, serving Northumberland, Snyder, Union, Lycoming and Clinton Counties. He talked about the impact if United Way funding were cut.
Brennan said, “At this point in time, I can’t speculate, as far as, what the financial impact is at this point in time. But, am I saying we are going to be cutting programs? Not necessarily. Am I saying we are going to have some difficulties? Yes we will.”
However, he is optimistic for the future. Brennan said, “We want to continue to have a very positive relationship with the folks at the United Way. I think we, along with every other organization that receives funds through the United Way is a key integral part of every community.”
Rowe admits it’s a tough decision. He said, “It’s an issue where the emotions are so strong on both sides. It doesn’t matter if you are on the Boy Scouts board or the United Way board, it’s difficult for everyone involved.”
The national Boy Scouts of America will have a decision in May on the issue. Public input is being accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Ali Stevens)