Chick-fil-A will stop all donations to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes next year, its CEO announced Monday.
The decision comes after years of criticism from LGBTQ and human rights groups regarding Chick-fil-A’s donations to the nonprofits in light of their positions on same-sex marriage.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes states on its website that “marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.” The Salvation Army came under fire in 2012 when the organization suggested that gay Christians pursue celibacy “as a way of life."
Chick-fil-A said Monday its foundation will now “deepen its giving to a smaller number of organizations" and will concentrate its giving in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger.
The Atlanta-based company says it will be committing more than $9 million to initiatives linked to those three areas next year. In 2018, the Chick-fil-A Foundation donated $1.65 million to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and $115,000 to the Salvation Army, records show.
“The Foundation will no longer make multiyear commitments and will reassess its philanthropic partnerships annually to allow maximum impact,” said Chick-fil-A in its release. “These partners could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities.”
The chain currently operates more than 2,400 restaurants throughout the United States. Its stance on LGBTQ rights has been the subject of boycotts and anti-boycott rallies since CEO Dan Cathy said in a 2012 interview that he supported “the biblical definition of the family unit” — a marriage between a man and woman.
Many reacted to Chick-fil-A’s announcement on Monday with anger, while prominent LGBTQ groups said more needed to be done by the company to win over their support.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tweeted that the chicken restaurant chain’s decision was a betrayal to loyal customers. He had been one of the more prominent figures to come to the chain’s defense when it fell under criticism from LGBTQ groups.
"Today, @ChickfilA betrayed loyal customers for $$,'' Huckabee tweeted. “I regret believing they would stay true to convictions of founder Truett Cathey. Sad.”
Meanwhile, the gay-rights organization GLAAD said in a statement that people should “greet today’s announcement with cautious optimism” as the company still has further steps to take in supporting LGBTQ rights.
“Chick-fil-A still lacks policies to ensure safe workplaces for LGBTQ employees and should unequivocally speak out against the anti-LGBTQ reputation that their brand represents,” said Drew Anderson, GLAAD’s director of campaigns and rapid response.