Nov. 10 was my last day as an employee of United Way of Snohomish County as a result of its new policy that requires agencies to adopt a United Way approved nondiscrimination policy in order to receive future funding. Private agencies have a constitutional right to set their own standards of leadership and membership so in regards to the Boy Scouts. The new United Way policy is in opposition to their faith-based (religious) beliefs so they are being discriminated against.
It is hypocritical that this year United Way of Snohomish County funded a program for homosexuals (a newspaper/zine for and by gay, bisexual and lesbian youth) yet now has a policy that in the future will not fund a program for heterosexuals (Boy Scouts of America). It is blatant selective discrimination that diverse sexual orientation is supported but diverse faith-based religious values will not be supported. If United Way truly wanted to follow their standard of “making sure that we follow a course that ensures we are serving the greatest number of people in need,” then a private agency who has faith-based values that serves a huge number of youth should be eligible for funding.
United Way thinks it is now more inclusive with this new policy but is actually more exclusive since there is at least one agency – Boy Scouts – that will no longer receive funding. Due to the board’s total disregard of religious faith-based values, I had to hold firm to my own values and resign. I can only hope the United Way Board will reconsider its decision since the people of Snohomish County will show their support or lack of it with their money.
My husband and I are Silver Feather Leadership Givers who will no longer give money to United Way until this selective discrimination issue is rectified. Keep in mind that it is not us who are hurting the community by not donating to United Way but that the board did this by its policy change. It will take more effort but we will continue to donate to our community but just not through United Way. I encourage everyone to let the United Way know the will of the people of Snohomish County.
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