Chick-fil-A finally stops donating to anti-LGBTQ groups

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The company has made no promises about the future, however.

The Chick-fil-A Foundation continued to bankroll organizations with a record of discrimination against the LGBTQ community in 2018, as it has in years prior, according to a blog post the company published this week.

However, the company's charitable arm appears to have ended those donations for 2019. On Monday, it announced plans to refocus its giving starting in 2020 "toward key organizations that address education, homelessness and hunger."

Among those groups are Junior Achievement USA and Covenant House International.

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"There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow in an interview published Monday. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

He told the publication that the company will no longer fund the anti-LGBTQ discriminatory groups it has backed in the past.

The fast food chain's corporate policies and charitable giving caused major national controversy earlier this year that resulted in multiple communities opting to drop plans to add Chick-fil-A restaurant locations.

Chick-fil-A is one of a dwindling number of U.S. companies that has not included explicit protections against anti-LGBTQ employment discrimination.

Chick-fil-A chairman and CEO Dan Cathy said in 2012 that America is "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."

When asked about his company's anti-gay positions, he answered "guilty as charged," though the company has since attempted to present itself as welcoming to all.

As of Monday, the company's corporate policy still omits protections for LGBTQ employees.

In May, ThinkProgress obtained the Chick-fil-A Foundation's annual tax filings for 2017 and found that contrary to earlier promises, it had not scaled back its donations to groups with a record of anti-LGBTQ discrimination, but had actually increased them slightly. The bulk of that giving went to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and a significant sum went to the Salvation Army.

On Monday, the foundation posted its 2018 filing. That document showed that, once again, the foundation had distributed $1.65 million to FCA, a religious organization that preaches anti-LGBTQ messages to college athletes and requires strict "sexual purity" from its employees, prohibiting "homosexual acts."

The Chick-fil-A Foundation noted in its press release on Monday that those participating in the FCA camps they sponsor "are not required to be members of FCA or sign any FCA pledge," but the policy does appear to still apply to FCA staff.

A Chick-fil-A Foundation spokesperson said in an email Monday that the organization had given $0 to FCA in 2019.

The foundation also gave $115,000 last year — a small decrease from $150,000 in 2017 — to an arm of the Salvation Army. The religious charity has a long history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination, though it now claims it is inclusive.

The foundation kept its promise not to fund a youth home that teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong. It previously gave $6,000 to the group in 2017.

The foundation released a "2019 Giving Preview" on Monday that includes a list of this year's recipients. None of the three anti-LGBTQ organizations to which the foundation donated previously — FCA, the Salvation Army, and the youth home — were listed as having received contributions so far.

The Chick-fil-A Foundation did not give any indication in its press release as to whether the national backlash over the LGBTQ issue had caused the change in charitable giving.

A spokesperson for the Chick-fil-A Foundation demurred on Monday when asked whether the group would partner with FCA or the Salvation Army in the future.

"Our goal is to donate to the most effective organizations in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger. No organization will be excluded from consideration – faith based or non-faith based," they wrote in an email.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.