Chick-fil-A announced on Monday that it will no longer make charitable contributions to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship for Christian Athletes, a seeming break from associations which had previously caused problems for the company's optics, The New York Times reports.
The chain, which itself has long been criticized over their anti-gay marriage stance, was recently forced to cancel the opening of a restaurant in Buffalo and curtailed its British expansion over protests.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting stronger Christian faith in athletics that requires student leaders and coaches to sign a statement banning “any homosexual act”, as well as a sexual purity statement.
The Salvation Army has been accused of discriminating against LGBTQ people, though it maintains that it serves people of all genders and sexual orientations.
Both organizations previously received millions of dollars from Chick-fil-A.
Mixed reporting on reasons for donation changes:
Much of the mainstream reporting suggested that Chick-fil-A was no longer donating to the Salvation Army and FCA in response to critics, pointing to a statement made by President Tim Tassopoulos:
“As we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” he told Bisnow. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”
However, in another statement, he left open the possibility that the donations may resume in the future.
“No organization will be excluded from future consideration — faith based or non-faith based,” he said.
Chick-fil-A's Fact Sheet about 2020 donations makes no mention of LGBTQ issues, nor does it cite public backlash as a reason for changes in funding, instead framing the changes as a desire to focus specifically on "giving to a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger."
Indeed as Snopes pointed out, the two faith-based organizations are far from the only ones that will not receive donations from Chick-fil-A in 2020, joining a list of more than 80 other charitable initiatives from 2019 that would not see a renewal. This makes it unclear whether the Salvation Army and FCA were specifically passed over because of the controversy they had generated for the company.
Chick-fil-A has long anti-LGBTQ history:
“Chick-fil-A has faced widespread criticism from gay rights advocates since 2012, when Dan T. Cathy, the company’s chairman and chief executive, was quoted saying Chick-fil-A believed in the “biblical definition of the family unit.” Mr. Cathy commented after news reports revealed that the company’s foundation had donated millions of dollars to efforts to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States,” The Times reported.
Chick-fil-A ended nearly all of their contributions to anti-LGBTQ groups in 2012 amid criticism but continued to fund the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes until this year.