The VoluntEARS program run through the Walt Disney Company is a volunteer organization that allows Disney employees to complete service hours in exchange for a cash donation to the charity of their choice. The program raised $4.8 million in 2010, all of which was donated to various charities. The Boy Scouts of America have traditionally benefit greatly from this, being one of the primary charities that Disney employees chose to donate to. However, this policy will be changing come 2015.
Disney recently announced that they will no longer offer any funding to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). This decision was made due to the BSA policy banning gay leaders. In their mission statement, it is written that “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.” Although the BSA finally voted to permit the membership of homosexual youths last year, their policy still prohibits gay leaders and employees.
Although the Disney Company strongly believes in giving back to the community, especially youths, it was against the company’s principles to continue funding the BSA. In Disney’s charitable guidelines, any programs that “discriminate in the provision of services unlawfully or in a manner inconsistent with Disney’s policies on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, marital status, mental or physical ability, or sexual orientation” may not benefit from charitable donations.
We at Her Campus Bryant hope for a future in which no organization discriminates based on such attributes. Until then, it is necessary for companies such as Disney stand up for their beliefs until prejudicial policies, like those of the BSA, are changed.