September 20, 2012
Post-Crisis Evaluation: After Igniting a Gay-Rights Firestorm with CEO's Comments Last Month, Chick-fil-A Fine-Tunes Its PR — Fast Food Chain Is Re-Evaluating Its Funding for Anti-Gay Marriage Groups
A month after company CEO Dan Cathy's pro-traditional marriage comments created a firestorm in the fast-food world between LGBT supporters and gay-marriage opponents, Chick-fil-A is re-evaluating the multimillion-dollar donations the company gives to anti-gay marriage activists and other groups with "political agendas," ABC News reports.
After weeks of negotiations with Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, the fast-food restaurant agreed to take "a much closer look" at which groups receive donations from the WinShape Foundation, a non-profit created by the Cathy family and funded almost entirely by Chick-fil-A, the company told Moreno, ABC News reports.
"The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas," Chick-fil-A's senior director of real estate said in a letter to Moreno, reports ABC's Amy Bingham.
Between 2008 and 2010, the WinShape Foundation gave $3.2 million to groups that advocate against same-sex marriage, according to the group's tax reports. That included $2,000 to the Family Research Council, which was designated as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2010, and $2,500 to the Alliance Defense Fund, which supported California's Proposition 8 to outlaw gay marriage, the article reports.
News of these donations, which was sparked by Cathy's saying he supports "the biblical definition of the family unit," sparked national outcry from gay-marriage activists and an overwhelmingly supportive response from traditional-marriage conservatives, who turned out in droves to dine at Chick-fil-A restaurants Aug. 1.
Moreno, who represents the Northwest Side of Chicago, vowed to block construction of a new Chick-fil-A restaurant in his ward after Cathy's remarks. But in a statement today, Moreno commended the company for making "real progress" toward addressing "the very legitimate concerns of the LGBT community regarding Chick-fil-A." Along with re-evaluating funding to anti-gay marriage activist groups, Moreno said Chick-fil-A has agreed to amend its corporate policy to include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination policy, according to the article.
"The company today has put into writing, for the first time, that its employees are to 'treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender... our intent is not to engage in political or social debates,'" Moreno said in a statement. Because of such changes to company policy, Moreno said he will recommend to the Chicago City Council that Chick-fil-A construction plans be approved for its new location in Chicago, ABC reports.