In an interview with Bisnow, Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos announced that the famous fried chicken chain plans to make significant changes in which charities it donates to, in part because “as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are.” Amid continued boycotts of the highly popular and successful chain over its donations to supposed “anti-LGBT” groups and causes, Tassopoulos revealed that the company’s foundation will no longer donate to some high-profile Christian organizations.
“As Chick-fil-A expands globally and into more liberal parts of the U.S., the chicken chain plans to change which charities it donates to after years of bad press and protests from the LGBT community,” Bisnow reported Monday. “Beginning next year, Chick-fil-A will move away from its current philanthropic structure, Bisnow has learned. After donating to more than 300 charitable organizations this year, the Atlanta-based fast-food chain will instead focus on three initiatives with one accompanying charity each: education, homelessness and hunger. ”
“There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Tassopoulos told Bisnow. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”
With its new, more narrowed approach to charitable donations, the company’s charitable actions “will no longer include donating to organizations like the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth Home,” Bisnow reports.
Those three organizations, Bisnow underscores, have inspired claims of an “anti-LGBT” agenda supposedly being promoted by Chick-fil-A. Under pressure from LGBT activists earlier this year, Chick-fil-A felt compelled to defend its donations specifically to those three organizations (see statement below).
Instead of those Christian organizations, Chick-fil-A told Bisnow, it will give $9M to “organizations like Junior Achievement USA to support education, Covenant House International to fight homelessness and community food banks for its hunger initiative in each city where the chain operates,” the outlet eports. It will also give $25K to a local food bank whenever it opens a new location.
“This provides more focus and more clarity,” said Tassopoulos.
Boycotts and protests from the Left of Chick-fil-A began back while the same-sex marriage debate was raging nationally and have continued in recent months, including bans of the chain at some airports and some progressive-run cities.
Earlier this year, Chick-fil-A responded to criticism it said was “mischaracteriz[ing] the mission of the [Chick-fil-A] Foundation.” In the statement, the company specifically addressed the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, The Salvation Army, and Paul Anderson Youth Home. Below is the full statement issued in March 2019 answering the question “Where does the Foundation donate money?”
The Chick-fil-A Foundation (the “Foundation”) was created in 2012 to have a positive influence in the communities by donating to programs that support youth, education, and leadership programs nationwide. In 2017, the Foundation donated $9.9 million in charitable contributions, gifts and grants. To view the 2017 Community Affairs & Foundation Stewardship Report, please click here.
Recently, media organizations reported on the Foundation’s 2017 charitable giving, which reported in a way that mischaracterizes the mission of the Foundation. The articles highlight the $1.8 million out of the overall $9.9 million that was donated to three organizations characterized as anti-LGBTQ groups. However, below explains how the Foundation giving acts to ensure that its donations align with programs that benefit youth and education.
1.Fellowship of Christian Athletes: In 2017, the Foundation provided $1.6 million to support summer sports camps for inner-city youth. Participating children were not required to be a member of FCA and did not have to sign any FCA pledges.
2. Salvation Army: In 2017, the Foundation provided approximately $150,000 to support children’s programs in Atlanta, including camps for kids and the Angel Tree. As a result, 11,000 children in need throughout the Atlanta area received gifts during the holiday season.
3. Paul Anderson Youth Home: In 2017, the Foundation provided approximately $6,000 to support a bike ride fundraiser, operational support, an annual Christmas dinner theatre for local children as well as a technology capital campaign. However, in 2017, a decision was made by the Foundation to no longer donate to the group.
The work of the Foundation is committed to youth and education. The Foundation’s giving helps with economic mobility of young people by focusing on homelessness and poverty, education, and community revitalization, and is done with no political or social agenda. The narrative that our giving was done to support a political or non-inclusive agenda is inaccurate and misleading.
Beyond the three organizations, the Foundation was honored to donate a combined $1.23 million in grants to 22 not-for-profits, located in 18 states throughout the country. The grants were awarded to local organizations focused on fostering leadership and entrepreneurial spirit in children in the local communities were Chick-fil-A restaurants are located. The Foundation donated more than $1.2 million in awards in 2017 as well. Now in its fifth year, the True Inspiration Awards were created to carry on Chick-fil-A Founder S. Truett Cathy’s legacy of generosity, community service and dedication to inspiring children to become future leaders.
In addition to giving to youth and education programs nationwide, the Foundation also gives back in its hometown of Atlanta each year – especially to non-profit organizations serving Atlanta’s Westside.