During its annual fundraiser this year, the Girl Scouts of Western Washington received a large donation to the tune of $100,000 dollars. The gift represented a quarter of the chapter's fundraising goal for the year, and would be able to send 500 girls to camp -- but it came with a stipulation. Perhaps in response to the attention transgender issues have been getting in the media lately, with Bruce Jenner's transition into Caitlyn Jenner announced last month, the donor, who has remained anonymous, asked Megan Ferland, CEO of the Western Washington council, to ensure that "our gift will not be used to support transgender girls." If such a guarantee could not be met, the donor asked that the money be returned.
Ferland decided to return the money. "Girl Scouts is for every girl," she said. "And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to." The next thing the council did is a lesson in bust turning to boom. Ferland and her team launched an IndieGoGo campaign to "raise back the $100,000 a donor asked us to return because we support transgender girls." So far the troop has raised nearly $300,000, with still a month left, and has created a hashtag #ForEVERYGirl to spread the word. They've also partnered with The Gender Justice League of Seattle.
This is the second time Ferland has stood up for transgender rights. In 2012, when she was head of the Colorado council, a 7-year-old transgender girl in Denver was denied entry to a local troop. With "inclusivity" a stated value in Girl Scouts doctrine, Ferland stepped forward and made a public statement welcoming all transgender girls to Girl Scouts. "Every girl that is a Girl Scout is a Girl Scout because her parent or guardian brings her to us and says, 'I want my child to participate,'" she said. "And I don't question whether or not they're a girl."
Watch the #ForEVERYGirl campaign video here: