Chick-fil-A defends funding anti-LGBTQ organizations

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A – under fire again over its funding of anti-LGBTQ organizations, including a youth home in Georgia – issued a rare statement explaining its charitable giving.

“Our intention both at the corporate and restaurant level is to have a positive influence on our communities by donating to programs that benefit youth and education and are welcoming to all,” Rodney Bullard, a Chick-fil-A vice president and executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, said in a statement on the company's website. “We are proud of the impact we’ve been able to make so far and we have a lot yet to do.”

The latest incident occurred when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted about eating at the chain in Los Angeles on June 9. The tweet came during Pride month and critics pounced, causing Dorsey to apologize. 

Chick-fil-A — one of the largest fast-food chains by sales in the U.S. — came under fire in 2011 when IRS filings showed their charitable foundation pumped millions into anti-LGBTQ groups. Company CEO Dan Cathy’s vocal opposition to gay marriage followed. The company later scaled back most of its funding to such groups, but a report last year showed that in 2015 the group donated more than $1.4 million to three anti-LGBTQ groups. 

In the latest flap, some LGBTQ activists warned against eating at Chick-fil-A, "if you really love LGBTQ people." That Huffington Post editorial drew the ire recently of Joan Rhoden, an Athens GOP leader who went on a anti-LGBTQ rant on the anniversary of the Pulse shooting.

On June 14, the Peacock Panache combed through the chain’s latest available IRS Form 990 covering 2016 and found that they continue to fund the same three anti-LGBTQ groups they did in 2015. 

Chick-Fil-A gave $130,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home in Vidalia. The facility calls homosexuality an evil that is caused by the abuse of children. The company gave $150,000 to the Salvation Army, which has a history of anti-LGBTQ housing discrimination among other incidents. And the chain gave $1 million to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), which uses athletes and coaches to spread an anti-LGBTQ message, bars members from having gay sex and warns their youth away from same-sex marriage. 

Think Progress piggybacked on the Peacock Panache’s report, and that got the attention of Chick-Fil-A, which issued a rebuttal.

The company said the money donated to FCA in 2016 was used to fund sports camps for inner-city youth, and that the children who participated in the sports camps were not required to be members of FCA or sign an FCA pledge.

Of the Salvation Army donation, Chick-Fil-A said it went to “several programs,” including camps for kids as well as the Angel Tree program in Atlanta, which gives holiday gifts to needy children. 

As to the Paul Anderson Youth Homes funding, Chick-Fil-A said that $130,000 went to “support a bike ride fundraiser, operational support, an annual Christmas dinner theater for local children as well as technology capital campaign.” The chain added that as of June 2017, they no longer support the group.

The Georgia Log Cabin Republicans called for an end to the “liberal bullying” of Chick-Fil-A last month, saying it was proud to be the first LGBTQ organization to support a buycott of the restaurant chain.

(h/t Atlanta Business Chronicle)