Intel will end support for Oregon Boy Scouts over Scouts’ policy on gays

By Mike Rogoway

Boy Scouts in Oregon have few benefactors more generous than Intel, which has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs over the past few years.

It’s not that Intel has a particular affinity for Scouting; its employees do. By volunteering as scoutmasters and in other roles, they trigger a $10 corporate donation for each hour spent helping a troop.

And with close to 17,000 employees in the state, those hours — and dollars — really add up. In 2010 alone they came to $180,000, according to the Intel Foundation’s most recent tax filings.

The donations, though, are now drying up.

They’re a casualty of a change in Intel’s requirements — which attaches a nondiscrimination pledge to the donation — and the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay members and troop leaders.

“We don’t have many gifts at that level. So that’s going to hurt,” said Matt Devore, head of the Scouts’ Cascade Pacific Council. “When any political, adult issue gets in the way, where the real pain is is when it affects children.”

The Boy Scouts’ policy on homosexuality has made it a lightning rod for controversy, with advocates and detractors lining up to support or denounce the organization’s stance. Gay rights have also become a perilous social issue for large corporations.

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