Confusion Over Home Depot Support for Homosexual Group

July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM

( - A corporate contribution to a pro-homosexuality group has resulted in some confusion over the company's policies and practices.

Home Depot, the nation's largest chain of home improvement stores, awarded a grant of $2,500 last month to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) to assist with counseling of people who openly declare their homosexuality.

But the corporate grant was made around the time PFLAG announced a Father's Day promotion in which the group is offering $25 Home Depot gift certificates to people who make charitable contributions to the pro-homosexuality organization.

Confusion arose over whether the company was supplying those gift certificates, which Home Depot Vice President of Community Relations Suzanne Apple said is not true.

"We made a small, $2,500 grant to PFLAG to assist with their work with families who are experiencing difficult times with their family members' acknowledgement of their sexual orientation," said Apple.

According to Apple, Home Depot makes approximately 30,000 grants annually to organizations and has a $25 million budget for charitable contributions

Apple said any group may purchase gift certificates to "give to their donors," as PFLAG is doing, but she stressed that the certificates being offered by PFLAG were not provided by Home Depot as part of the grant.

But the confusion is compounded by PFLAG, whose Internet web site search engine noted a May 30 press release announcing "Home Depot Sponsors PFLAG Father's Day Promotion." However, the PFLAG press release portion of the group's web site does not include a full release on the matter.

The entire notation returned by the PLAG on-site search engine June 5 read: "2. PFLAG Press Releases *** PFLAG Press Releases May 30, 2001 The Home Depot Sponsors PFLAG Father's Day Promotion May 9, 2001 "Ex-Gay" Study Based on False Facts and False Hopes ... The Home Depot Sponsors PFLAG Father's Day Promotion May 9, 2001 "Ex-Gay" Study Based on False Facts and False Hopes April 11, 2001 PFLAG Supports ... 62% Thu, 31 May 2001 20:15:57 GMT"

Officials at PFLAG did not return telephone calls seeking information on the Fathers Day promotion, and attempts to ascertain any possible communications mix up between the group and Home Depot were unsuccessful.

A report about the alleged collaboration between PFLAG and Home Depot appeared June 1 on the Internet web site for The Advocate, a pro-homosexuality publication. Other news organizations, including, also picked up on the report. "I've done a number of interviews," on the report, said Apple, who added she had not yet contacted The Advocate regarding its June 1 story.

With a charitable program of $25 million, Apple said Home Depot has a staff of seven at its world headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. to administer and review grant proposals.

According to Apple, organizations seeking grants may apply through the company's corporate headquarters or through individual Home Depot stores.

The company's charitable grants are awarded in four different program areas, including housing, the environment, disaster preparedness and relief, and youth at risk, which Apple said is "how we viewed," the PFLAG grant request.

Homosexuality per se is "not one of the ways that we categorize our grant making," said Apple.

Apple said the company, which operates about 1,200 stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and four other countries, has also awarded grants to the Boy Scouts of America, which came under fire after the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the BSA's decision to not allow homosexuals to serve as scoutmasters.

While Home Depot policy prohibits awarding grants to religious organizations for religious purposes, Apple said "we do work with faith based organizations," including the Association of Catholic Charities, the YMCA and the Atlanta Jewish Community Center, which operates a troubled teens program.

Among the biggest recipients of Home Depot's philanthropy is Habitat for Humanity, which helps build houses for low-income families. According to Apple, the company has given about $5 million to the group over the past decade.