Chick-fil-A, known for its strong Christian background, is making major changes to its charitable foundation, ending donations to two organizations that have been criticized for being anti-LGBTQ.
The fast food chain announced Monday that beginning next year it will only donate to a certain group of charities. That list no longer includes the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Both organizations have taken controversial stands on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
In 2018, the Chick-fil-A foundation donated $1.65 million to the FCA and $115,000 to The Salvation Army, the company revealed Monday.
The FCA writes in its employee application that “neither heterosexual sex outside of marriage nor any homosexual act constitute an alternative lifestyle acceptable to God.” It also states on its website that “marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.”
The Salvation Army has said in the past that the Bible forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex, that gay Christians should embrace celibacy and that scripture does not support same-sex marriages, according to Snopes. However, the Salvation Army says its services are available to all people, and the organization strongly refutes accusations that it is anti-LGBTQ.
“We’re saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education and homelessness organizations — areas in which the Salvation Army, as the largest social services provider in the world, is already fully committed,” the Salvation Army said in a statement.
The organization said it believes it is the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ+ population.
“When misinformation is perpetuated without fact, our ability to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor, is at risk,” the Salvation Army said. “We urge the public to seek the truth before rushing to ill-informed judgment and greatly appreciate those partners and donors who ensure that anyone who needs our help feels safe and comfortable to come through our doors.”
Going forward, Chick-fil-A said it will work exclusively with organizations that focus on education, homelessness and hunger. Those are Junior Achievement USA, Covenant House International and donating $25,000 local food banks.
Chick-fil-A stopped giving money to several conservative Christian groups in 2012 following backlash to CEO Dan Cathy’s comments opposing gay marriage, but the chain continued to donate to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and The Salvation Army. According to a statement to Business Insider, the donations were due to a multiyear commitment the brand had made to both organizations, which ended in 2018.
Chick-fil-A history of charity donations have hurt the chain’s international expansion in recent months. In October, the first U.K. location of Chick-fil-A was announced it would be closing after just six months of opening because of pressure from gay rights activists and protests at the restaurant.
In September, the first international location of the fast food-chain opened in Toronto to a large protest from LGBTQ+ activists. The group carried signs reading “cluck off” and chanted “shame” as the doors opened.
The Georgia-based company is increasingly expanding into more liberal areas. It recently opened restaurants in New York City. Since it’s privately held, sales figures aren’t public but recent research found that Chick-fil-A generated $9 billion in sales in 2017. One estimate points to $10.5 billion in sales in 2018, according to Nation’s Restaurants News.