Chick-fil-A backs off some anti-LGBTQ charities, expands in NJ
Chick-fil-A has announced a "more focused giving approach" for its millions of dollars in charitable donations -- one that no longer includes two controversial, religious groups with anti-gay marriage stances and other policies critics say are anti-LGBT.
A representative for the company specifically said that its years-long commitments to Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army were completed in 2018, as reported by Business Insider.
"Staying true to its mission of nourishing the potential in every child, the Chick-fil-A Foundation will deepen its giving to a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger," the company announced in a written statement, which outlined $9 million committed to Junior Achievement USA (JA), Covenant House International, and a widespread plan for battling hunger in 120 communities.
As the Business Insider report notes, Chick-fil-A ended its association with several charities criticized as anti-LGBT in 2012, but continued its donations to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Salvation Army until this year.
The Fellowship promotes a "sexual purity statement" for its student leaders that says its "neither heterosexual sex outside of marriage nor any homosexual act constitute an alternative lifestyle acceptable to God." The Salvation Army stresses on its website that it provides services to LGBT people -- including those facing hardship because of discrimination -- and says it does not discriminate in its hiring practices. However, it its public statements it has said those who practice homosexual acts would be excluded from full membership or "soldiership."
Chick-fil-A also will donate $25,000 to a "local food bank" at each new restaurant opening, according to the release.
"Additionally, the Foundation will no longer make multiyear commitments and will reassess its philanthropic partnerships annually to allow maximum impact. These partners could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities," the same release said.
Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide advocacy and education organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, had no comment Monday on the recalibration of Chick-fil-A's charitable donations.
In years past, the organization had urged supporters to reach out and start a dialogue with Chick-fil-A operators about the what it said was the company's broader anti-LGBTQ actions.
In November 2018, Rider University dealt with controversy by removing Chick-fil-A as an option on a student survey about bringing a new restaurant franchise to the Mercer County campus.
Chick-fil-A was removed as one of the options based on the company's record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community," according to a statement from the university.
That decision was met with the resignation of the dean of Rider University’s College of Business, Cynthia Newman, who said she was upset with the school taking a stand against the company's Christian values.
The 2020 change in charitable priorities comes as Chick-fil-A is opening a few more locations in New Jersey before year's end, making for roughly 40 restaurants statewide, according to a company spokeswoman.
New Jersey’s most northern Chick-fil-A in Ramsey currently is hiring, as its website said it joins “the Chick-fil-A family of Bergen County: Paramus Park Mall Chick-fil-A, Garden State Plaza Chick-fil-A, and Teterboro Chick-fil-A.”
Chick-fil-A recently received approval to build a stand-alone restaurant in Edison along Route One, as reported by Bridgewater Courier News. That’s in addition to a location within the food court at Menlo Park Mall.