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 Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."