Chick-fil-A says it’s going to stop donating to anti-LGBTQ organizations as it tries to expand its business into more liberal parts of the country and abroad.
The fast food chain got headlines a decade ago when they were caught donating to anti-LGBTQ organizations. At the time, the company’s CEO defended the donations and made anti-LGBTQ comments himself. After media attention, Chick-fil-A said that they would stop.
But earlier this year, the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s tax forms showed that it was donating to anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home in Atlanta, which called homosexuality “evil” and caused by “sexual, physical, and mental abuse of children” as recently as 2017.
The company has faced repercussions for its donations, getting forced out of college campuses and airports and protested in schools and in Canada. Their first location in England was forced off its lease by the land owner after protests. At the same time, conservatives made Chick-fil-A a symbol for their fight against LGBTQ equality.
Now they claim they are turning a new leaf.
Talking to the financial website Bisnow, Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos said that they are aware of the bad press they’ve been getting.
“There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Tassopoulos said. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”
The new initiative for the Chick-fil-A Foundation was announced with a press release that says that they will focus their charity on education, hunger, and homelessness by giving to the Covenant House International, Junior Achievement USA, and local food banks.
Covenant House, which runs homeless shelters, has gotten praise in the past for the help it provides homeless LGBTQ youth.
“When there is a tension, we want to make sure we’re being clear. We think this is going to be helpful,” Tassopoulos said, adding that the foundation is moving away from yearly commitments to organizations and larger, yearly donations that will be reviewed regularly.
Which is how the company explains why we’ll see new reports about donations made in 2018 to the Salvation Army and the Federation of Christian Athletes: they were part of multi-year commitments. They said earlier this year that they have already stopped donating to the Paul Anderson Youth Home.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because Chick-fil-A promised in 2012 that it would take “a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.”