One of the largest American fast food chains, the Chick-Fil-A foundation, which has been known for supporting anti-LGBTQ groups, will no longer be donating to two such organizations: the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
In its Nov. 18 press release, the Chick-Fil-A Foundation announced changes to its philanthropic approach. Next year, the foundation will be allocating its funds to support education as well as combat homelessness and hunger. The Chick-Fil-A Foundation will donate $9 million to Junior Achievement USA (JA) in providing kindergarten through 12th graders learning programs, Covenant House International to support homeless youth, and local food banks near Chick-Fil-A locations. “[It is] a more focused giving approach to provide additional clarity and impact with the causes it supports,” according to Chick-Fil-A’s website.
Although it wasn’t explicitly stated by the Chick-Fil-A Foundation, it became clear from a list the franchise released, which includes the organizations that it donated to this year, that the foundation has stopped donating to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “The list did not include either organization, even though the groups had received millions of dollars from the foundation over the years,” according to The New York Times.
Influenced by CEO Daniel Truett Cathy’s familial values and Biblical beliefs, the Chick-Fil-A foundation has a history of donating to anti-LGBTQ organizations, which has caused uproar among the LGBTQ community and its supporters. A Pennsylvania Chick-Fil-A’s donation to Pennsylvania Family Institute, which is known for its anti-LGBTQ stance in 2011, caused a national boycott of the franchise. In a 2012 interview with Baptist Press, Cathy sparked outrage when he expressed his opinion on family values. “We are very much supportive of the family—the Biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy told Baptist Press.
What followed that year was an Aug. 3 organized same-sex-kiss-in at the chain’s locations around the country as a way of protest.
The Chick-Fil-A foundation’s homophobic beliefs, however, failed to make a dent on the chain’s business. “Chick-fil-A has moved up the ranks from the seventh-largest restaurant chain in the United States to become the third,” according to The Washington Post.
Junior Tina Nejand believes that Chick-Fil-A is taking a good step in no longer donating to anti-LGBTQ groups, but she can’t help but think that they are only doing this to regain a lot of customers that they lost when people found out that the franchise supports anti-LGBTQ organizations. “While I’m happy that these anti-LGBTQ groups no longer have the support of a big company like Chick-Fil-A, I find it hard to believe that the company has genuinely had a change of heart,” Nejand said.
Although there are students who are criticizing the fact that Chick-Fil-A made its decision to drop anti-LGBTQ groups as a result of being pressurized, junior Valerie Zhao believes the foundation took a step in the right direction. “Progress is progress and I think that even if they only stopped donating to one, it would still be one less organization perpetuating the idea that homosexulity is wrong,” Zhao said.