Non-profit

Chick-fil-A Foundation

Website:

www.chick-fil-afoundation.org

Location:

ATLANTA, GA

Tax ID:

26-2343206

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $7,571,215
Expenses: $7,542,615
Assets: $637,634

Formation:

2012

Type:

Corporate Foundation

Executive Director:

Rodney Bullard

Chick-fil-A Foundation is the corporate giving arm of Chick-fil-A, one of the largest restaurant chains in the world. In recent years, it has been targeted for boycotts by LGBT activists and left-progressive elected officials because it gave money to organizations that opposed same-sex marriage or supported traditional Christian views on sexual activity. In November 2019, the foundation announced it would no longer support these organizations and would narrow its philanthropic focus.

History

Chick-fil-A was originally founded as the Dwarf House diner in 1946 by S. Truett Cathy in Hapeville, Georgia, but rebranded as Chick-fil-A in 1967 as it began to franchise. Cathy invented the company’s signature item, a breaded chicken sandwich. [1]

A devout Southern Baptist, Cathy instituted the policy of closing the restaurant on Sundays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, that remains in place today. [2] He was vocal about the influence his religious beliefs had on the company’s operations, and chose th mission statement “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” [3]

Cathy died in 2014, and the company, which is privately held, is now run by his son, Dan Cathy. Chick-fil-A is now the third-largest restaurant chain in the country, after McDonald’s and Starbucks, with annual sales of $10.5 billion from 2,300 locations. [4]

Truett Cathy and his wife founded the WinShape Foundation, which supports foster homes, college scholarships, a summer camp, and marriage-counseling programs, and Cathy long personally supported charitable causes in Georgia and elsewhere. [5]

The Chick-fil-A Foundation was founded in 2012 to serve as the philanthropic arm of the company. It has given extensively to youth education programs in Atlanta and throughout the South. [6] In recent years, its largest grantee has been the Westside Future Fund, which works to revitalize impoverished neighborhoods near downtown Atlanta. [7] In 2018, it also gave grants to the United States Fund for UNICEF, which supports the activities of the United Nations culture and education foundation, and the Andrew J. Young Foundation, founded by the civil rights activist and former mayor of Atlanta. [8]

Controversy Over Christian Grantees

In 2012, Chick-fil-A was the subject of complaints and a boycott by LGBT activists after Dan Cathy told a religious publication that he opposed same-sex marriage and supports “the biblical definition of the family unit.” At the time, activists pointed to donations that the company and franchisees made to the Pennsylvania Family Institute, Focus on the Family, and the National Organization for Marriage, social-conservative groups that advocated against gay marriage. [9] Activists organized a “kiss-in” protest at Chick-fil-A franchises, while former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) organized a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” in support of the company’s stance. [10]

Over the next several years, Chick-fil-A was the target of intermittent boycott efforts and elected officials in several states and overseas criticized the company and sought to stop franchises from opening, because of Cathy’s views on same-sex marriage and other issues. [11] Despite the activist campaigns, consumer surveys showed the company had strong brand loyalty from the public. [12]

In 2019, Chick-fil-A was again the target of criticism from the advocacy organization ThinkProgress for a $115,000 donation it made to the Salvation Army for its Angel Tree program, which gives gifts to the families of incarcerated persons; and a $1.65 million grant to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) for a summer program for at-risk youth at historically black colleges. [13] Both the Salvation Army and FCA are explicitly Christian organizations that promote traditional Christian views on sexual activity and ethics. [14]

In November 2019, the foundation announced that it would no longer donate to the Salvation Army or FCA, would narrow its focus to homelessness, hunger, and education, and “will reassess its philanthropic partnerships annually to allow maximum impact. These partners could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities.” [15] Conservative and Christian writers accused the company of betraying its roots, with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) tweeting, “@ChickfilA betrayed loyal customers for $$. I regret believing they would stay true to convictions of founder Truett Cathey [sic]. Sad.” [16]

In January 2020, in a letter to the social-conservative American Family Association, Dan Cathy said that “We understand how some thought we were abandoning our longstanding support of faith-based organization. We inadvertently discredited several outstanding organizations that have effectively served communities for years.” Despite the foundation’s decision to discontinue grants to FCA and the Salvation Army, executives with the LGBT organization GLAAD demanded that the foundation go further to repudiate its past grants and create “a safec environment” in its restaurants for gay employees. [17]

People

The executive director of the Chick-Fil-A Foundation is Rodney Bullard, who also serves as vice president for corporate social responsibility for the company. [18]

References

  1. Blumberg, Perri Ormont Blumberg. “This Was Chick-fil-A’s Original Name.” Southern Living. June 7, 2018. Accessed February 10, 2020. https://www.southernliving.com/news/chick-fil-a-name-history-dwarf-house ^
  2. Dan Piepenbring. “Chick-fil-A’s Creepy Infiltration of New York City.” New Yorker. April 13, 2018. Acessedd February 10, 2020. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/annals-of-gastronomy/chick-fil-as-creepy-infiltration-of-new-york-city ^
  3. Kevin Kruse. “How Chick-fil-A Created a Culture That Lasts.” Forbes. December 8, 2015. Accessed February 10, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2015/12/08/how-chick-fil-a-created-a-culture-that-lasts/#4226b3263602 ^
  4. Kate Taylor. “Chick-fil-A is now the 3rd-largest restaurant chain in America, and McDonald’s and Starbucks should be terrified.” Business Insider. June 18, 2019. Accessed February 10, 2020. https://www.businessinsider.com/chick-fil-a-third-largest-restaurant-chain-in-america-2019-6 ^
  5. John J. Miller. “Service With A Smile.” Philanthropy. November 1, 2008. Accessed February 10, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20101219085629/http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/article.asp?article=1553&paper=0&cat=147 ^
  6. “Chick-fil-A responds to questions about our 2018 charitable giving.” Chick-Fil-A Foundation. March 21, 2019. Accessed February 10, 2020. https://thechickenwire.chick-fil-a.com/News/Chick-fil-A-responds-to-questions-about-our-charitable-giving ^
  7. “About Us.” Westside Future Fund. Accessed February 10, 2020. https://www.westsidefuturefund.org/ ^
  8. Chick-fil-A Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990PF), 2018, Part XV ^
  9. Leon Stafford. “Fast-food company deals with firestorm.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution. July 26, 2012. Accessed January 10, 2020. ^
  10. “Huckabee: Chick-fil-A appreciation day a ‘huge success.’” Fox News. August 3, 2012. https://www.foxnews.com/transcript/huckabee-chick-fil-a-appreciation-day-a-huge-success ^
  11. David Roach. “Chick-fil-A Stops Giving to Salvation Army, FCA Amid LGBT Protests.” Christianity Today. November 18, 2019. https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/november/chick-fil-stops-christian-donations-fca-salvation-army.html ^
  12. Stine, Lauren. “Chick-Fil-A Tops QSRs in Brand Intimacy, Report Says.” Restaurant Dive, August 15, 2019. https://www.restaurantdive.com/news/diners-feel-more-brand-intimacy-toward-chick-fil-a-than-any-other-qsr-rep/560956/. ^
  13. Josh Israel. “Chick-fil-A donated to anti-LGBTQ group that bars employees from ‘homosexual acts.’” ThinkProgress. March 20, 2019. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://thinkprogress.org/chick-fil-a-anti-lgbtq-donations-tax-filings-62ca15281f17/ ^
  14. Matt Kempner. “Chick-fil-A, criticized for its charitable giving, narrows donations.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution. November 18, 2019. Accessed February 10, 2020. https://www.ajc.com/news/local/chick-fil-cricitized-for-its-charitable-giving-narrows-donations/B3JdR5yTuXoAL73WoSiotM/ ^
  15. Matt Kempner. “Chick-fil-A, criticized for its charitable giving, narrows donations.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution. November 18, 2019. Accessed February 10, 2020. https://www.ajc.com/news/local/chick-fil-cricitized-for-its-charitable-giving-narrows-donations/B3JdR5yTuXoAL73WoSiotM/ ^
  16. Michael Huckabee. Twitter. November 18, 2019. Accessed February 10, 2020. https://twitter.com/GovMikeHuckabee/status/1196493828519321602?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1196493828519321602 ^
  17. Evie Fordham. “Chick-fil-A ‘inadvertently discredited’ Christian nonprofits, CEO Dan Cathy admits.” Fox News. January 12, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/chick-fil-a-donation-salvation-army-dan-cathy ^
  18. “Leadership.” Chick-fil-A Foundation. Accessed January 10, 2020. https://www.chick-fil-afoundation.org/leadership ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Rodney Bullard
    Executive Director
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2012

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2015 Dec Form PF $7,571,215 $7,542,615 $637,634 $111,114 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $5,668,620 $5,698,306 $950,667 $452,747 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $3,422,054 $3,128,961 $770,641 $243,035 N $3,422,054 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $540,445 $552,882 $303,957 $69,444 N $540,445 $0 $0 $205,310 PDF
    2011 May Form 990 $500,000 $90 $500,484 $0 N $500,000 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990EZ $0 $257,204 $575 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2009 Dec Form 990EZ $253,116 $30 $257,779 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2008 Dec Form 990EZ $5,000 $307 $4,693 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Chick-fil-A Foundation

    5200 Buffington Road
    ATLANTA, GA