Monday morning’s can be full of surprises. One of the first Facebook posts I saw this morning, was from The FAMiLY Leader, a social conservative group.
My first thought was, what is Bisnow. Is this some sort of satire or ‘Fake News’ website? But then I saw it on other news organizations websites. And I saw more and more folks posting about it on social media.
And it became increasingly obvious it was real.
For the last handful of years, eating at Chick-fil-A has been akin to tithing. OK, maybe not quite like that, but Christians have certainly felt more than comfortable spending their money at the store.
When I saw these headlines, I decided I could just make a simple call to Chick-fil-A corporate and ask what is going on.
They responded shortly thereafter.
This is an additional statement from Chick-fil-A, Inc.:
“Beginning in 2020 the Chick-fil-A Foundation will introduce a more focused giving approach, donating to a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of hunger, homelessness and education. We have also proactively disclosed our 2018 tax filing and a preview of 2019 gifts to date on chick-fil-afoundation.org. The intent of charitable giving from the Chick-fil-A Foundation is to nourish the potential in every child.”
In the interest of not cherry-picking information, I’m including their full release:
“Starting in 2020, the Chick-fil-A Foundation is introducing a more focused giving approach to provide additional clarity and impact with the causes it supports. 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.
Today we are excited to announce the Foundation has committed $9 million to the following initiatives for 2020:
- Education: To support education, we are expanding our partnership with Junior Achievement USA (JA). JA offers kindergarten to 12th grade programs that foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential. The organization reaches nearly 5 million students annually.
- Homelessness: To address youth homelessness, we are expanding our partnership with Covenant House International. For more than four decades, Covenant House has helped transform and save the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway and trafficked young people – reaching 70,000 youth each year.
- Hunger: To fight hunger, we will support more than 120 communities by dedicating $25,000 to a local food bank at each new Chick-fil-A opening.
“We are incredibly excited to be the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s education partner and to make a positive difference in the lives of countless young people as a result of this initiative,” said Jack E. Kosakowski, president and CEO of JA. “Chick-fil-A has been a dedicated supporter of JA programs for many years, and we look forward to working together to reach even more kids through this latest commitment.”
“Millions of children and youth face homelessness each year, including kids who have endured traumatic and adverse childhood experiences,” said Kevin Ryan, president and CEO of Covenant House International. “The young people we serve are usually disconnected from their families and other social support, and we are committed to helping them all overcome hunger and homelessness. We welcome Chick-fil-A’s support of our work across America to house, feed and uplift the dignity of children and youth. We also welcome the efforts of local Chick-fil-A operators to hire and train young people as they overcome homelessness and cross that bridge from despair to hope.”
“Chick-fil-A has been a tremendous partner in our efforts to end hunger in Atlanta, and I’m thrilled the Chick-fil-A Foundation will increase its focus on addressing this critical issue in 2020,” said Kyle Waide, president and CEO of Atlanta Community Food Bank. “By donating $25,000 to a nearby food bank in communities where they open, the Foundation will be able provide up to 100,000 meals to local kids, families and seniors in need – helping to create stronger communities where none of our neighbors go hungry and we all have the opportunity for a healthy future.”
Since the beginning of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, more than $52 million has been donated to support education, entrepreneurship and leadership development. The Foundation has made these changes to create more clarity and to better address three critical needs facing children across the communities we serve.
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.
Going forward, Chick-fil-A Inc. will continue to fund scholarships to Team Members each year and support local organizations through our True Inspiration Awards. We will also continue to invest in our hometown through community revitalization efforts in the historic Westside of Atlanta. Through these initiatives, Chick-fil-A Inc. and the Foundation will provide approximately $32 million in total cash gifts in 2020.
For more information about the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s previous partnerships, a copy of our 2018 form 990 (which discloses every donation to every organization we gave money to in 2018) is available on chick-fil-afoundation.org. We have also provided a preview of our 2019 donations to date on the site.
This giving strategy further honors principles set by our founder Truett Cathy, who believed that all people are worthy of care. In 1946, he turned that belief into a company whose business was to take care of others by serving freshly prepared meals with genuine hospitality. Truett knew serving a meal was a way to the heart, a way to bring family and friends together and could open doors to caring for people in endless ways. He treated his restaurants as extensions of his home, and the people there –both team members and customers – as cherished guests. Truett believed a “great company is a caring company” and his vision of caring for others continues to inspire us today.
Visit chick-fil-afoundation.org to learn more about our refined giving approach and how we will work with our 2020 partners to help all children reach their potential.”
Tim Tassopoulos, the president and COO of Chick-fil-A, Inc., said the following:
“Our goal is to donate to the most effective organizations in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger. No organization will be excluded from future consideration — faith-based or non-faith-based.”