Chick-fil-A, through its charitable WinShape Foundation, continues to donate to groups with anti-LGBTQ sentiments, according to tax filings reviewed by Think Progress. This stands in contrast to the company's previous claims that it would no longer support such entities.
The fast-food chicken restaurant found itself in the midst of a political and social controversy in June of 2012, following statements by COO Dan Cathy regarding same-sex marriage, as The Christian Post reported at the time.
"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.'"Following Cathy's statements, research into the spending habits of the company's charitable foundation revealed millions of dollars in donations to various groups with anti-LGBTQ sentiments. Some money, for example, went to the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which had filed an amicus brief against legalizing same-sex marriage in California. Another donation went to Exodus International, an organization that supported so-called "gay conversion therapy."
Following the controversy, the company purportedly claimed that it would stop donating to anti-LGBTQ causes and entities, as The Huffington Post reported at the time.
However, tax filings from 2017 indicate otherwise. Specifically, the company, through its charitable foundation, donated $1.8 million across three organizations with anti-LGBTQ sentiments.For example, the foundation donated $1,653,416 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which has a "sexual purity" clause in its employee handbook that prohibits "homosexual acts" amongst its employees. A further $6,000 went to Georgia's Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Christian group home for troubled youth. According to Vox, the home teaches that same-sex marriage is a "rage against Jesus Christ and His values." Another $150,000 went to the Salvation Army, an organization which has been involved in anti-LGBTQ controversies for years, according to The Huffington Post.
It bears noting that neither the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Paul Anderson Youth Home, nor the Salvation Army are public advocacy groups like previous recipients of WinShape foundation money -- such as the Pennsylvania Family Institute, or Exodus International.
It's a distinction that a Chick-fil-A spokesperson referenced obliquely in a statement to Vox.
"[The] sole focus of our donations was to support causes focused on youth and education. We are proud of the positive impact we are making in communities across America."Similarly, in a statement to Think Progress, a Chil-fil-A spokesperson claimed that the company's donations are not about political advocacy, but about supporting communities.
"[S]ince the Chick-fil-A Foundation was created in 2012, our giving has always focused on youth and education. We have never donated with the purpose of supporting a social or political agenda."