Chick-Fil-A Defends Its Charitable Donations

Any article about Chick-fil-A must make note of the company's stance against gay marriage. What was once a footnote to the company's story has recently become a full-blown culture war, with groups moving to ban Chick-fil-A from airports and universities, and then groups moving to ban the bans. The chain's anti-LGBTQ reputation derives from remarks its CEO Dan Kathy made in 2012, explaining his company's support of "the biblical definition of the family unit." One might wonder if those years-old comments are being dragged out unfairly, if Chick-fil-A could have changed its tune. The answer is no.

Business Insider spoke with Chick-fil-A's vice president of corporate responsibility, Rodney Bullard, just last week. Bullard is the person in charge of the donations made via the company's foundation, as he is its executive director. Business Insider asked him about the foundation's continuing support for the Salvation Army and the Fellowship Of Christian Athletes. The Salvation Army has faced criticism for allegedly discriminating against LGBTQ people seeking its services; charges it denies. The Fellowship Of Christian Athletes' leadership application asks athletes to agree to a Sexual Purity Statement that reads, in part: "Neither heterosexual sex outside of marriage nor any homosexual act constitute an alternative lifestyle acceptable to God."

Bullard told Business Insider: "The calling for us is to ensure that we are relevant and impactful in the community, and that we're helping children and that we're helping them to be everything that they can be. For us, that's a much higher calling than any political or cultural war that's being waged."

Tax filings indicate Chick-fil-A donated $1.6 million of its total $9.9 million in charitable giving to the Fellowship Of Christian Athletes in 2017. Bullard says that group is just one of roughly 300 charities the company donates to. Unapologetically.