Chick-fil-A Foundation changes charitable giving and controversy follows
Where you stand on LGBTQ rights may or may not color your view of Chick-fil-A. What is clear is that the growing fast-food chain, which has closely aligned its business operations with its Christian values since its founding in 1967, has become a symbol of controversy in recent years for statements made by its current CEO opposing same-sex marriage. Now, the chicken chain is inviting more controversy after announcing a new corporate giving plan that will exclude two organizations known for their opposition to same-sex relationships.
The two groups — The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes — were recipients of multi-year giving programs from the Chick-fil-A Foundation, the chain’s not-for-profit philanthropic wing.
Going forward, the foundation plans “a more focused giving approach” to support a smaller number of organizations working to improve education and end homelessness and hunger. Chick-fil-A will give $9 million in 2020. One beneficiary will be Junior Achievement USA, for its work with more than five million kids a year in grades K-12. The company is expanding its partnership with Convenant House International to reach out and save the homeless, runaways and victims of human trafficking. Chick-fil-A will also donate $25,000 to 120 local food banks when it opens new locations around the country.
Based on reactions on social media, many supporters of same-sex marriage say (perhaps with tongue-in-cheek in some instances) that the popularity of Popeyes’ new chicken sandwich has caused Chick-fil-A to court consumers it previously offended when CEO Dan Cathy went on a Christian radio program in 2012 and said, “We are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’”
Calls for a boycott of the chain began after Mr. Cathy’s comments, but have not appreciably slowed Chick-fil-A’s expansion in new markets around the country.
Chick-fil-A’s decision to adjust its giving has drawn criticism from some of the same people who championed the chain in 2012.
Former Arkansas governor and Fox News personality Mike Hukabee wrote on Twitter, “In Aug 2012, I coordinated a national @ChickfilA Appreciation Day after they were being bullied by militant hate groups. Millions showed up. Today, @ChickfilA betrayed loyal customers for $$. I regret believing they would stay true to convictions of founder Truett Cathey. Sad.”
- Chick-fil-A Foundation Announces 2020 Priorities to Address Education, Homelessness, Hunger – Chick-filA Foundation /PRNewswire
- Chick-fil-A President Says ‘God’s Judgment’ Coming Because of Same-Sex Marriage – The Christian Post
- Gov. Mike Hukabee – Twitter
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think Chick-fil-A has made the right decision with its publicly announced focus on charitable giving? Is there anything else the chain should or should not do, since it has become a lightning rod on the issue of LGBTQ rights and conservative Christian beliefs?