- Chick-fil-A’s head of charity says that the chicken chain would consider working with or donating to an LGBT youth organization if the partnership was "impactful and … authentic."
- "Would we do it just for reasons that weren’t authentic? No, we wouldn’t do that," Rodney Bullard, the executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, told Business Insider.
- Chick-fil-A has faced backlash for making donations to the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, two groups with a history of opposition to same-sex relationships.
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The chicken chain has insisted that it does not condone homophobic views. In an interview with Business Insider, Rodney Bullard, the executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, said that the faith of founder Truett Cathy and the rest of the Cathy family has played a major role in the organization’s work, but that it should not be linked to discrimination.
"There’s a calling to help people, and I think at times that has been confused with a calling, somehow, to exclude. And that’s not the case," Bullard said. "The focus, the phrase ‘every child’ — we’re very intentional about that. We do have programs and we look for programs that are inclusive as well to help every child."
Progressives have taken issue with Chick-fil-A’s donations to the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, two Christian organizations with a history of opposition to same-sex relationships. Bullard said that these criticisms ignore that Chick-fil-A’s donations have been used to fund specific programs that provide concrete results in the community, such as summer camps for inner-city children.
When asked whether Chick-fil-A would consider working with LGBT organization, specifically one focused on LGBT youth, Bullard said that the foundation would "consider any partnership that was impactful and that was authentic."
"Would it be authentic for us to partner with that organization? For them to partner with us? And for us to get work done? I think those are the things that we would definitely consider and be mindful of," Bullard said. "Would we do it just for reasons that weren’t authentic? No, we wouldn’t do that."
Roughly two in five homeless youth served by agencies identify as LGBT, according to The Williams Institute. The HRC Foundation additionally reports that LGBT teenagers report high levels of stress and anxiety, with only 26% reporting that they always feel safe in their classrooms.
Chick-fil-A set off a wave of backlash in 2012 when CEO Dan Cathy said the company supported "the biblical definition of the family unit," calling it "prideful" and "arrogant" for individuals to define marriage. Prior to 2012, Chick-fil-A had donated millions of dollars to groups that opposed same-sex marriage, including the Family Research Council, which was labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2010.
Since 2012, Chick-fil-A has distanced itself from politics. The company no longer donates to any political groups and has cut ties with numerous organizations that lobbied against same-sex marriage and used homophobic language. Individual franchisees in New Hampshire and Iowa have donated to Gay Pride events in recent years.
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