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The CFC and Boy Scouts of America

CFC Memorandum 2000-09


On June 28, 2000, a U.S. Supreme Court decision addressed the issue of whether the Boy Scouts, a private membership organization, can exclude homosexuals from serving as troop leaders. The Court ruled that the First Amendment freedom of expression and association allowed the Boy Scouts to exclude homosexuals from serving as troop leaders.

Our office has received an increasing number of donor inquiries regarding the participation of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in the CFC. Because you may also be receiving similar questions from donors, following is a summary of our responses for your reference. This is intended to clarify the facts related to the questions we have received. We encourage you to work with members of the Local Federal Coordinating Committee and others in your community as you respond to inquiries from donors in your area.

The questions generally fall into three categories:

  1. Donors that believe BSA should not participate in the CFC;
  2. Donors that assume that BSA have been removed from the CFC. In fact, the national office of BSA has chosen not to participate as a national organization and therefore is not listed among the national charities that appear in each CFC brochure. However, many local councils do participate.
  3. Donors who are displeased with the United Way for having made funding decisions responding to the recent Supreme Court decision.

Following is a summary of our response on each of these points:

  1. "The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) which oversees the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) has consistently worked to assure that the Federal workforce reflect the rich diversity of this Nation. The Office of CFC Operations has also extended this principle to the organizations that participate in the CFC. Nonprofit organizations, nationally or locally, must meet strict criteria for participation in the CFC as defined in 5 CFR Part 950. Provided an organization meets the requirements of the regulations, qualified organizations may participate in the CFC regardless of their political views or expressive message. It is not our role to pass judgement over whether the Boy Scouts' position concerning homosexuality is right or wrong.

    Because the CFC is not a government grants or contracting program, giving to charities through the CFC is a matter of individual choice. Federal donors can be assured that all of the monies they contribute go directly to the specific charities they designate. They can avoid any of their donations going to an organization whose views they oppose by such specific designations.

    The courts have concluded that the CFC is a limited public forum and that OPM can restrict participation without affront to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, the basis of OPM'sability to restrain participation is limited to minimizing disruption to the federal workplace, ensuring the success of the fund raising effort, or avoiding the appearance of political favoritism without regard to the viewpoint of excluded groups. An organization'sviewpoint or position on controversial issues does not, in and of itself, support exclusion from the CFC. See Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, 473 U.S. 788 (1985).

    As stewards of the leading workplace giving program in the world, OPM'sresponsibility is to ensure that all Federal donors have the opportunity to contribute to the organizations of their choice and provide the assurance that the charities are in compliance with the CFC regulations."

  2. While the Boy Scouts of America national headquarters has chosen not to participate in the CFC, hundreds of Boy Scouts Councils throughout the country do participate and benefit from CFC contributions. For this reason, the Boy Scouts of America does not appear on the list of National participating CFC organizations or on the CFC website National list. For listings of local Boy Scout Councils donors should check their local CFC brochure.
  3. Participation of local Boy Scout Councils in the CFC could have been affected by local United Way funding decisions during this campaign cycle if the Boy Scouts were removed from participation in the local United Way federation prior to the processing of CFC applications. However, Boy Scout Councils in the areas outlined below have the right to apply as an unaffiliated organization or as a member of another federation. The vast majority of United Way organizations have yet to announce any policy decisions that may or may not affect their funding of local Boy Scouts chapters in light of the Supreme Court'sruling. Since the court'sruling, the only United Ways not providing funding to the Boy Scouts are San Francisco, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz, New Haven, Santa Fe, and Portland.

As stewards of the CFC in your community it is important that you are informed about donor inquiries regarding the policies and processes of the CFC locally and nationally. Please let us know if you have other questions regarding this matter.

Thank you and best wishes for a successful campaign.

CC: All PCFO's

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