Megan Ferland told Seattle Metropolitan that the Girl Scouts of Western Washington were “thrilled” to pull in a $100,000 donation earlier this year.
Thrilled! And who wouldn’t be? One hundred thousand dollars is quite the haul. So, yeah, the reaction was pretty big, too.
“We have these little clapper thingies, and the clappers go mad when we get that kind of gift,” Ferland, the council’s chief executive, told the magazine.
But then Ferland learned that the gift came with a stipulation, Seattle Met reported: The donor wanted a promise that the money wouldn’t be used to support transgender girls.
So that donation — all $100,000 of it — went back to the donor.
“Girl Scouts is for every girl,” Ferland told the magazine. “And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”
This week, the Girl Scouts of Western Washington set about trying to recoup the funds they thought they once had. They didn’t try to hit up the original donor again but instead started an online fundraising campaign.
“$100,000 is a lot of money,” their Indiegogo page states. “In fact, it’s almost a third of our entire financial assistance program for this year — and girls need this support now. That’s why losing this gift is such a big deal.”
By midday Tuesday, the day-old campaign had already reached its goal.
By Wednesday, the Girl Scouts had raised more than $250,000.
“We’ve been blown away by the outpouring of support,” the group posted on Facebook.
It wasn’t what they were expecting, said Stefanie Ellis, the council’s PR director. The effort was their first attempt at crowd-funding, she said, calling it “very new territory for us.”
“Oh my gosh,” Ellis said Tuesday, when asked about reaction to the donations. “It’s amazingly crazy in here. And those clappers — they are going off constantly.”
The Seattle Met reports that it’s the second time “in less than five years” that a Ferland-led Girl Scout council “has taken a public stand to support transgender girls.”
In 2012, when she headed the organization’s Colorado council, a 7-year-old transgender girl in Denver was denied entry to a troop. Although the council had never specifically said that it accepted transgender girls, the national organization had always made inclusivity the foundation of its mission. So after checking with the council’s attorney, Ferland issued a public statement welcoming transgender girls and explaining that the council was working to find a troop for the girl who’d been rejected. “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,'” Ferland says. “And I don’t question whether or not they’re a girl.”
You can watch the campaign’s video here:
This story has been updated.