New United Way policy could cut Boy Scouts’ funding


Herald Writer

EVERETT — The United Way of Snohomish County has adopted a policy to not fund groups that discriminate against any minority, including gays, a move that could cost the local Boy Scouts more than $127,000 a year.

By a 15-2 vote, the United Way board adopted a new nondiscrimination policy Tuesday that means no money will be contributed to any community organization or group that excludes anyone.

"The board affirmed today its values around discrimination," said Brent Stewart, president of the local United Way. "This vote was not a vote about the Boy Scouts, nor was it directed at any specific organization.

"Rather, it was a vote to say that the United Way supports everybody in the community having the right to participate in all groups and organizations."

Nonetheless, Duane Rhodes, scout executive with the Mount Baker Council, which includes Snohomish County, said the decision disappointed him.

"I am disappointed that the Snohomish County United Way would decide there is no place … for those faith-based, traditional family values that scouting upholds," Rhodes said.

The issue arose after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed June 28 that the Boy Scouts have the right to bar homosexuals from membership and leadership.

Following that, the Mount Baker Council issued a written statement saying: "We believe avowed homosexuals do not provide a role model for Scouts that is consistent with the Scout Oath and Law. This is maintaining our moral standard, not practicing prejudice."

That set the question in motion of whether Scouts were discriminating and whether the United Way wanted to fund them.

Tuesday’s move won’t mean an immediate cutoff of United Way funds to the Scouts, or any other group now funded by Snohomish County United Way.

The local United Way operates on a fiscal year that ends June 30. The current allotted funding expires June 30, 2001.

But the next time each group, including the Scouts, will have to certify they have a nondiscrimination policy when requesting funds, Stewart said.

"Chances are they (the Scouts) won’t do that," said Mark Todd, United Way communications spokesman.

The local Scouts are receiving $127,849 from the United Way through June 30, 2001, Todd said. The council still may be funded in the subsequent yearlong cycle, because groups are being allowed a one-year grace period, he said.

Rhodes, who also serves on the local United Way executive directors board, said the Snohomish County United Way funding represents about 15 percent of the scouts’ operating budget in the county.

He noted that the Boy Scouts’ policy of not admitting gays "is a national policy, and all of the 320 local councils across the country are obligated to follow it."

He said the Mount Baker board would meet this week to discuss a response to the United Way move.

"I don’t think there is even the smallest chance that they will change," or deviate from the national anti-gay policy, he said.

While United Way executives say that the move is not aimed at the Scouts, Rhodes thinks differently.

He said the question was asked after the vote Tuesday whether the action meant that funding for places such as the Battered Women’s Task Force would now be in jeopardy because it serves only women and not men.

"The answer that was given is that it is a ‘targeted service,’" Rhodes said. "We were told that that is not discrimination.

"I’m not sure that’s the case. I think that ‘targeted services’ is just a euphemism to allow the United Way to serve the population it wants to serve and not serve the population is doesn’t want to serve."

Scouting groups are facing a similar funding cutoff in King County, where the United Way has a similar nondiscrimination policy.

A small number of other United Ways around the country are reducing or eliminating contributions to the Boy Scouts, said Philip Jones, a spokesman for United Way of America.

Jones emphasized that local United Way organizations set their own nondiscrimination policies.

Meanwhile, Scout Master Bob Hayman of Marysville said he hopes this gives the Mount Baker Council time to reconsider and adopt its own nondiscriminatory policy. He has supported scouting for years and supports tolerance.

"I hope the Scouts will change," he said. "It’s not a matter of funding. It’s a matter of being tolerant of all walks of life."

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Ariel Garcia, 4, was last seen Wednesday morning in an apartment in the 4800 block of Vesper Dr. (Photo provided by Everett Police)
How to donate to the family of Ariel Garcia

Everett police believe the boy’s mother, Janet Garcia, stabbed him repeatedly and left his body in Pierce County.

A ribbon is cut during the Orange Line kick off event at the Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘A huge year for transit’: Swift Orange Line begins in Lynnwood

Elected officials, community members celebrate Snohomish County’s newest bus rapid transit line.

Bethany Teed, a certified peer counselor with Sunrise Services and experienced hairstylist, cuts the hair of Eli LeFevre during a resource fair at the Carnegie Resource Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Carnegie center is a one-stop shop for housing, work, health — and hope

The resource center in downtown Everett connects people to more than 50 social service programs.

Everett mall renderings from Brixton Capital. (Photo provided by the City of Everett)
Topgolf at the Everett Mall? Mayor’s hint still unconfirmed

After Cassie Franklin’s annual address, rumors circled about what “top” entertainment tenant could be landing at Everett Mall.

Foamy brown water, emanating a smell similar to sewage, runs along the property line of Lisa Jansson’s home after spilling off from the DTG Enterprises property on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Snohomish, Washington. Jansson said the water in the small stream had been flowing clean and clear only a few weeks earlier. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Neighbors of Maltby recycling facility assert polluted runoff, noise

For years, the DTG facility has operated without proper permits. Residents feel a heavy burden as “watchdogs” holding the company accountable.

Rosario Resort and Spa on Orcas Island (Photo provided by Empower Investing)
Orcas Island’s storied Rosario Resort finds a local owner

Founded by an Orcas Island resident, Empower Investing plans” dramatic renovations” to restore the historic resort.

A possible development site for Snohomish Garden Townhomes at 9321 Paradise Lake Road on Friday, April 5, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Neighbors’ effort falls short of stopping 196 townhomes near Maltby

Nearby residents said the proposed development would make traffic much worse along Highway 522 — among other concerns.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Stanwood in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Stanwood man gets federal prison for selling fentanyl on dark web

In 2013, Christerfer Frick was sentenced to nine years for trafficking drugs. He began selling online upon his release in 2020.

Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

Dan Templeman speaks during a forum lead by The Daily Herald on housing affordability at the Mukilteo Library on Thursday, April 11, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
At Herald forum, experts affirm Housing First model, despite downsides

At the Mukilteo Library, panelists discussed drug-contaminated housing and lengthy cleanup efforts in Snohomish County.

Molbak's Garden + Home in Woodinville, Washington closed on Jan. 28 2024. (Photo courtesy of Molbak's)
Molbak’s, former Woodinville garden store, hopes for a comeback

Molbak’s wants to create a “hub” for retailers and community groups at its former Woodinville store. But first it must raise $2.5 million.

A fire at a home near Alderwood Mall sent one neighbor and one firefighter to the hospital. (Photo provided by South County Fire)
Officials: Residents returned to burning Lynnwood home to rescue dogs

Five people and six dogs were displaced in the Thursday afternoon house fire, according to South County Fire.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.