The United Way of Greater Cleveland Board of Directors unanimously voted to add sexual orientation to its Equal Opportunity and Diversity Policy at its September meeting.
The policy reads as follows: United Way is an equal opportunity employer and believes culturally diverse governance structures and workforces are assets to our organization and our partner agencies. We therefore value and champion equal opportunity to all persons without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability or sexual orientation. This includes recruiting, training, promotion, compensation, benefits and all other factors involved in the treatment of applicants and employees.
"United Way is devoted to the well-being of our entire community. The Board of Directors expressed concern about our diversity and inclusion policy not specifically spelling out inclusion for sexual orientation," said Paul Clark, United Way of Greater Cleveland Board chairman.
One possible consequence of this action is funding to the Boy Scouts of America, Greater Cleveland Council, could be suspended in the next funding cycle for noncompliance to the new policy. Currently, the only United Way funded agency not in compliance with the new policy is the Boy Scouts.
"United Way funds the Boy Scouts to support hundreds of youth who benefit from its programs. But the United Way Board of Directors expressed great concern over the Boy Scouts' exclusion of youth based on sexual orientation and their recent affirmation to continue this policy," said Clark.
"We are not telling the Boy Scouts what to do. We will not ask the Boy Scouts to change. As a private organization they have the right to determine who they serve and who will serve them. We, however, have the right to fund only those organizations that comply with our new policy," said Bill Kitson, United Way of Greater Cleveland president and CEO.
The Boy Scouts of America, Greater Cleveland Council received $97,251 in United Way funding this year in addition to donor directed contributions.
United Way of Greater Cleveland joins a growing number of United Ways around the country in its decision to add sexual orientation to its diversity policy.