Chick-Fil-A responded today to renewed attacks by liberal media outlets and “Chicago style” politicians with a clear goal to undermine the corporation with untruths regarding their corporate positions and biblical principles. Their statement, which follows, clarifies who they are.
CHICK-FIL-A: WHO WE ARE
“Chick-fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company dedicated to serving the communities in which we operate. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business. For example, we believe that we are stronger because of such principles as closing on Sundays, going the extra mile in service, treating others as we want to be treated, and devoting a percentage of profits back to our communities. Those same principles have been applied throughout the history of Chick-fil-A and still apply today.
The Chick-fil-A culture and 66-year service tradition in our locally owned and operated restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We are a restaurant company focused on food, service and hospitality; our intent is not to engage in political or social debates.
There are many diverse viewpoints and opinions among those associated with Chick-fil-A, including our independent Owner/Operators and their team members, Chick-fil-A corporate staff, suppliers and business partners. Chick-fil-A and the Cathy family, who own the company, value and respect all of these differences. If someone in Chick-fil-A offers a personal viewpoint, they do not presume to speak for everyone.
Chick-fil-A is built and sustained by long-term, enduring relationships, with our Operators, our staff, our business partners, our suppliers, community organizations we support, and – most importantly – our customers.
In Chick-fil-A, we have a foundational commitment to service – service to our customers, service to our Owner/Operators and their team members, and service to our communities. This begins in the restaurant—one customer at a time. We firmly believe in treating every person who comes through our doors with honor, dignity, and respect. We teach it to everyone who comes to work at Chick-fil-A, and it’s something that they take with them throughout their careers – whether they choose to stay with Chick-fil-A or go on to other promising careers. We also make a commitment to taking care of the people who take care of our communities. For example, by giving sandwiches to first responders in times of crisis, we honor the commitment they make to serve all of us. And our philanthropic giving reinforces that commitment to service by helping children and families in need. This is what makes us who we are.
The Chick-fil-A Corporate Purpose is: “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 into contact with Chick-fil-A.”
CHICK-FIL-A: SERVING OUR COMMUNITIES
Chick-fil-A is dedicated to serving others, and each locally owned and operated Chick-fil-A restaurant is focused on the community it serves. Over the past three years alone, in cities and towns across America, Chick-fil-A has given more than $68 million in contributions to over 700 different educational and charitable organizations and has provided millions of dollars in food donations.
Chick-fil-A’s commitment to giving back was established by our founder, Truett Cathy, whose example continues to guide our company today. As he expressed many times over the years: “Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.” This value is at the core of everything we do.
Chick-fil-A focuses its giving in three key areas:
Creating educational opportunities for our Team Members and youth across America
- Restaurant Team Member College Scholarships – We donate $1.6 million each year to help Chick-fil-A team members attend the college of their choice. Over the life of the program, we have donated more than $30 million towards this purpose, helping more than 30,000 team members attend more than 500 different colleges and universities.
- A Commitment to Higher Education – In 2009-2011, we donated more than $7 million toward scholarships and educational development to various colleges and universities across the nation. These include Berry College, the University of Texas, Virginia Tech, Louisiana State University, Morehouse College, Boise State University, Emory University, Auburn University, Oglethorpe University, Clark Atlanta University, Florida State University, the universities of Mobile, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Alabama, and many others.
- Supporting Higher Education Through the Chick-fil-A Bowl – Our sponsored bowl games hold the record among all college bowl games in charitable and scholarship contributions with more than $1.25 million in 2011, and a 10-year total of more than $13 million. These donations support scholarships, foster care through WinShape Homes, Lighthouse for the Blind, and academic coaches through Play It Smart.
- Supporting Youth Education Programs – Chick-fil-A underwrites financial literacy programs, such as Junior Achievement, that benefit middle school students in the Southeast. In 2011, Chick-fil-A formed the S. Truett Cathy Foundation to promote character education and literacy in the inner city of Atlanta. That foundation gave $600,000 in 2012 to Junior Achievement.
Food donations for those serving or in need
- Donating Food for Those in Need – Each year, Chick-fil-A and its Owner/Operators give thousands of sandwiches to organizations treating sick/special needs children, such as the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, Camp Hope, Nathaniel’s Hope in Florida and the East Tennessee Children’s hospital.
- Providing Disaster Relief – Recent examples include giving a combined 12,200 sandwiches to victims and relief workers impacted by the 2012 Colorado wildfires and the massive tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest and South in 2011 and 2012.
- Military Appreciation — In Southern California, 42 local Chick-fil-A restaurants support Military Appreciation Night, feeding 13,500 military personnel and their families in 2012. Chick-fil-A also has an ongoing partnership with USO in Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in which 36,000 free sandwich coupons have been given to military personnel since 2006. In addition, Chick-fil-A is a corporate sponsor for the PGA TOUR Charities, Inc., Birdies for the Brave/Patriots’ Outpost initiative, which provides hospitality and recognition for military personnel and their families at PGA TOUR tournaments. Since 2010, more than 80 Chick-fil-A restaurants have served 35,000 Chick-fil-A Sandwiches at 23 PGA TOUR events.
Developing youth and family/marriage enrichment programs and supporting our communities
- Meeting Local Needs – In addition to food donations, local Chick-fil-A Owner/Operators stage “Spirit Nights”, donating a portion of sales to local community needs such as new band uniforms or support for families of fallen police officers. These efforts add up to an estimated $10 million or more annually.
- Investing in Our Youth – In the past three years, we have given $1.44 million ($480,000 per year) to support sports programs for disadvantaged youth in Atlanta, administered by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
- Supporting Organizations That Serve Others – In the last three years, Chick-fil-A has donated a total of $1 million to the Grady Hospital Burn Center in Atlanta.
- Supporting A Variety of Community Organizations – A total of more than $500,000 also was donated in 2009-2011 to such organizations as the United Way, Salvation Army, Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless, Jerusalem House, East Lake Community Foundation, Atlanta Legal Aid Foundation, the Carter Center, Shepherd Center Foundation, Care for AIDS in Kenya, and Southwest Christian Care hospice.
- WinShape Camps – In 2009-2011, WinShape invested $13.5 million in day camps and overnight camps for thousands of boys and girls. In 2012 alone, for example, these camps hosted 16,500 girls and boys.
- WinShape Marriage – Chick-fil-A supports programs and marriage retreats to help strengthen and enrich marriages. More than 4,000 couples annually benefit from these programs, including military personnel and sports coaches who received scholarships.
- WinShape Homes – Chick-fil-A donates $3 million per year to operate 12 foster homes. This program was established in 1987.
- WinShape International – More than 700 Chick-fil-A staff and Operators have journeyed to 59 countries for 190 projects, such as teaching leadership principles and drilling clean water wells.
By making financial investments in these educational and charitable organizations, we aspire to have a positive impact in our society.”
We commend Chick-Fil-A and the Cathy family for their long tradition and ongoing commitment of demonstrating a Christian worldview through business. The communities where they do business are blessed because of it.