CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Caterpillar Inc. is no longer giving money to the Boy Scouts because the organization discriminates against homosexuals, a spokeswoman for the Illinois-based heavy equipment manufacturer confirmed Thursday.
The company's move wasn't directly tied to the recent Boy Scouts decision to continue to bar homosexual adults from roles within the organization while allowing openly gay children to be scouts. Instead, spokeswoman Rachel Potts said, the company decided to cut off funding while reviewing a request for $25,000 that came in last year from a local group in Illinois.
That decision was never announced publicly or communicated to the Boy Scouts of America, only to the local group, she said. But she added that the Boy Scouts' policy that continues to bar homosexual adults from working in the organization is "discriminatory."
Caterpillar has made donations in the past to the Boy Scouts of America, and the company's charitable arm, the Caterpillar Foundation, has donated money to local scouting groups in areas where it has factories and other facilities, Potts said. She declined to provide a dollar figure.
"We have inclusive policies here at Caterpillar Inc., and the foundation abides by those," she said. "We just don't feel that our two organizations align."
"However," she added, "if there's a change in the Boy Scouts' policies, we would certainly consider a change in the future grants — if there was a change that aligned with what our non-discrimination policies are."
A Boy Scouts spokesman called the decision a disappointment.
"Although, we are disappointed in this decision we believe Caterpillar is a great company and appreciate all it has done for the youth in local communities," public relations director Deron Smith said in an emailed statement. "Our focus continues to be on working together to deliver the foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training."
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