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Chick-fil-A releases internal document, says donations ‘mischaracterized’ as doubts grow

By Tony Merevick| Chicago Phoenix
Thursday, September 20, 2012
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Following intense skepticism after news broke late Tuesday that Chick-fil-A will no longer donate to anti-gay organizations and a new report in the The Advocate renewing concerns about its giving policies, the company has issued a document that it says “thoroughly” outlines the company’s policy.

However, the statement seems to have done little to convince LGBT activists that its policies have changed.

“For many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized,” read the statement attached to the internal document, released to Chicago Phoenix Thursday afternoon:

“And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving. For that reason, we want to provide some context and clarity around who we are, what we believe and our priorities in relation to corporate giving.”

Up until now, the popular chicken chain was mum on details of a widely reported agreement made with Chicago Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno in which it pledged to cease making donations to anti-gay groups and issue an internal document providing guidelines for treating LGBT customers and employees with respect. However, neither Moreno nor Chick-fil-A would release the document, only adding to doubts that they would fulfill the agreement. LGBT activists suspected political grandstanding, conservative supporters of Chick-fil-A condemned the about-face and others were indifferent.

The internal document titled “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are” outlines the company’s mission and details on how the company gives back to the community through educational opportunities, food donations and charitable programs, such as WinShape.

Many of the donations specified in the document are to religious organizations such as The Salvation Army, Jerusalem House and Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless. It makes no mention of donations made by WinShape to anti-gay organizations such as Focus on the Family and the Alliance Defense Fund.

“As we have stated, the Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender,” continued the statement, repeating much of what the company has already issued on the matter. “We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators.”

Some LGBTs and activists for equality, however, are left unconvinced — the statement also read, “A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas.”

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