A donor gave $100,000 to the Girl Scouts to exclude 1 group of girls. They gave it right back.

Earlier this year, a generous donor gave $100,000 to the Girl Scouts of Western Washington.

According to the Seattle Met, that was almost a quarter of the council's fundraising goal for the entire year. This was a big deal.


Unfortunately, the donation came with one very big catch: The Girl Scouts had to promise that the money would NOT be used to support transgender girls.

"Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls," read the message. "If you can't, please return the money."

Wait, what!?

As a national organization, Girl Scouts has been explicitly inclusive in their messaging about trans members.

Earlier this year, the Girl Scouts made clear that they support trans girls:

"Girl Scouts is proud to be the premiere leadership organization for girls in the country. Placement of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child and the members of the troop/group in question a top priority. That said, if the child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe."

Ultimately, though, the decision about whether trans girls can join a troop is left up to individual councils. For example, just two months after the statement was released, a Louisiana troop reaffirmed that trans girls weren't welcome — and it seems as though the $100,000 donation to the Girl Scouts of Western Washington was an effort to get them to try to make a similar preemptive policy.

The Girl Scouts have received some pretty major backlash over their trans-inclusive policy, but they've stuck to it.

After the national organization released its statement on the matter, petitions and boycotts of the Girl Scouts were launched by a number of anti-LGBT organizations arguing that trans girls are really just "boys in skirts" (they're not) and are somehow a threat to the safety of girls in the troop (there's no truth to this type of accusation).

The Girl Scouts were not having it.

The group had a tough decision to make, but landed on the side of being inclusive: They returned the $100,000 donation.

As a local council, they could have taken the money and vowed not to accept trans girls. But that's not how this council rolls.

"Girl Scouts is for every girl. And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to."
— Megan Ferland, Girl Scouts of Western Washington CEO

Council CEO Megan Ferland explained the reason for the decision, telling the Seattle Met, "Girl Scouts is for every girl. And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to."

But doing the right thing meant the troop was out $100,000. So they asked the Internet for help — and got it.

It wasn't like this money was just going to sit around. In fact, the council was counting on that donation to help fund 500 girls' memberships in the Girl Scouts. Without the money, these girls would be out of luck.

So the troop launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise money from people who believe that an inclusive environment is a better environment.

In a single day, the council raised more than $100,000!

It's great to see the Girl Scouts of Western Washington standing up for all girls.

Because an accepting, inclusive world is a good world. Trans kids go through enough struggles as it is, and for trans girls to know that the organization will stand up for what is right can be life-saving.

Stefanie Ellis, the public relations director of Girl Scouts of Western Washington, emailed me with some background on how the crowdfunding campaign came about.

"When we realized the donation would require us to exclude some girls, there was nothing else to do but return it. We were grateful to have the enthusiastic backing of our board and staff in making that decision. It was a sad one, though, because that money was for 500 girls who couldn't participate in all the life-changing opportunities we offer without financial support. So we knew we needed to find a way to get that money back. Crowdfunding came up as an idea, and we ran with it. Now here we are.
...
We wholeheartedly believe every girl means EVERY girl. And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to. The only way we're going to fulfill our mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place is if we make sure there aren't any barriers in place for girls' success. We welcome all girls to join us, and get out there and make a difference in our world!"


You can watch their #ForEVERYGirl video below, and you can donate at their Indiegogo page.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less

We know that mammals feed their young with milk from their own bodies, and we know that whales are mammals. But the logistics of how some whales make breastfeeding happen has been a bit of a mystery for scientists. Such has been the case with sperm whales.

Sperm whales are uniquely shaped, with humongous, block-shaped heads that house the largest brains in the animal world. Like other cetaceans, sperm whale babies rely on their mother's milk for sustenance in their first year or two. And also like other cetaceans, a sperm whale mama's nipple is inverted—it doesn't stick out from her body like many mammals, but rather is hidden inside a mammary slit.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less