Chick-fil-A said Monday that it has stopped donations to several Christian organizations after receiving backlash from LGBT rights activists over the last several weeks.
The U.S. fast food chain said that as it expands, it will no longer donate to the Salvation Army, the Paul Anderson Youth Home, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which opposes same-sex marriage. The company’s charity, the Chick-fil-A Foundation, has donated millions of dollars to the two organizations.
“We made multi-year commitments to both organizations and we fulfilled those obligations in 2018,” a representative for Chick-fil-A said, saying the chain will now focus its charitable donations on “education, homelessness and hunger.”
The franchise, famous for closing on Sunday, plans to donate a total of close to $9 million to charity, including a $25,000 to a local food bank for each new restaurant the company opens.
“There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”
Chick-fil-A has a long history of being on the receiving end of criticism from LGBT rights groups. In March, the San Antonio City Council took steps to effectively ban Chick-fil-A from San Antonio’s airport after the company donated $2 million to the Christian charities it no longer supports.
“When there is a tension, we want to make sure we’re being clear. We think this is going to be helpful,” Tassopoulos said of the company’s decision to pull its support from the charities. “It’s just the right thing to do: to be clear, caring, and supportive and do it in the community.”
Correction: A previous version of this article stated incorrectly that Chick-fil-A includes Bible verses on its paper cups.