When the Girl Scouts of Western Washington received a donation of $100,000 from an unnamed donor, it was a pretty big deal. This was a quarter of what the organization raises annually, and would go a long way in supporting girls financially.


Unfortunately, the donation came with a serious string attached.


In the wake of conversations on the inclusiveness of Girl Scouts USA and transgender status in society, the donor of the $100,000 decided to make it clear whom this money was intended to help — or should we say, whom it was not intended to help.


The donor reportedly wrote to the organization after initially giving the donation in order to clarify that the money given was not to be used to support transgender girls in any way. In the event that those terms could not be met, it was requested that the donation be returned.


Recognizing that refusing to comply with these terms would mean losing a huge sum of money for the organization, leaders nevertheless opted to return the donation.


According to CEO of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington Megan Ferland, the decision came down to a matter of principles. With that in mind, it was not hard to make the right choice, as unfortunate as that choice may have been.



“Girl Scouts is for every girl, and that is every girl regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion. Every girl is every girl,” she stated in an interview. “It was a sad decision, but it was not a difficult decision. There was no way I would be put in a situation of refusing a girl participating because of a gift. It was really that quick.”


Since returning the donation, however, the Girl Scouts of Western Washington has managed to raise over three times what it lost, thanks to a campaign on Indiegogo launched after the incident.


The #ForEVERYGirl campaign asked the public to help the organization raise back the $100,000 that it returned to the initial donor, and to help fund efforts to help girls get involved in camp programs, troop activities, and other programs, regardless of their circumstances.


In refusing to accept the $100,000 donation due to the conditions with which it came, the Girl Scouts of Western Washington exemplified a clear demonstration of sticking by its values, even when faced with a tough ultimatum.


More importantly, the remarkable response and support that the organization has received after launching the #ForEVERYGirl campaign demonstrates how positively the public responds to brands that stand by their principles. It shows that an organization or brand that puts consideration for ethics and justice ahead of consideration for business is one that falls into the good graces of audiences. And that, in turn, has the potential to prove most rewarding in the long run, both in regards to image and success.


For more information and to support the #ForEVERYGirl campaign, visit Indiegogo.com.


How do you think the Girl Scouts of Western Washington’s decision to stand by its values and turn down the $100,000 donation plays into the larger conversation on gender and rights in society? Share your thoughts below or tweet me @tamarahoumi