WATCH: A Girls Scout chapter has been rewarded with a sweet surprise after making a controversial decision. NBC’s Eric Wilkinson reports.
Girl Scout leaders in Washington state have taken the values of “courage, confidence and character” to heart, turning down a big chunk of cash from a donor who wanted to discriminate against transgender scouts.
But the decision to refuse the $100,000 pledge, made on the condition that it “not be used to support transgender girls,” has been met with an outpouring of support and donations amounting to nearly more than double what they declined.
It was a big deal for the group to get that big a donation in the first place, Girls Scouts of Western Washington CEO Megan Ferland told Seattle Met Wednesday. So, she was disappointed to get a letter from the donor back in May, in the wake of a string of news stories about Caitlyn Jenner and her transition.
“Girl Scouts is for every girl,” Ferland said. “And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.” She said she was “sad” to have to return the gift and described the relationship with the donor as “complex.”
The disappointment turned into action this week when she and the council decided to earn back that money.
The $100,000 donation they returned was equal to almost one-third of a financial assistance program used to help girls take part in Girls Scouts activity. That much money would have assisted some 500 girls.
So the Girl Scouts of Western Washington council started a crowdfunding campaign on the website Indiegogo, with the Twitter hashtag #ForEVERYGirl to show the organization’s proud acceptance of transgender girls.
BELOW: Watch the message from Girl Scouts of Western Washington and why they’re campaigning #ForEVERYGirl
“That’s money that would have gone to girls who can’t participate in Girl Scouts without our help. With that support girls can join a troop, go to camp and participate in a multitude of other life-changing Girl Scout experiences even though their families can’t afford to pay for them,” read a message on the Indiegogo site.
The response was overwhelming and the campaign has collected more than $260,000 from over 5,300 donors in just two days
“I am humbled by that show of support for the girls who need us most. And that’s what this equates to.”
Everyone at the council is of course “giddy” about how successful the campaign has been so far, Ferland said. But they’re hoping people will continue to contribute.
According to the campaign page, the council expects to have more than 2,000 girls who will need financial assistance in order to participate in Girl Scout activities.