Chick-fil-A is distancing itself from a highly criticized donation that was made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-leaning organization that labels many Christian ministries “hate groups.”
Tax records show the Chick-fil-A Foundation donated $2,500 to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2017. The SPLC is known for its “hate map,” which includes 1,020 organizations it labels “hate groups” – but many of which would be called mainstream by evangelical and conservative Christians. The American Family Association, the Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom all are considered hate groups by SPLC.
“The SPLC donation was made by a volunteer member of the Chick-fil-A Foundation Advisory Board,” a Chick-fil-A spokesperson told the Daily Caller last week. “Each volunteer advisor, in 2017, was offered the opportunity to recommend a grant recipient. The grants were given to a range of organizations, including Meals on Wheels, Atlanta Mission, the Holocaust Survivor Support Fund, Georgia Historical Society and brain health research at Emory University.”
The spokesperson then cited Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy.
“He famously said: ‘Probably the greatest gift that God has given any one of us is the power that we have to change people's lives by what we do,’” the spokesperson said. “The best-run company is the company that is forever thinking about others.”
"It is in this spirit that all donations are made," the spokesperson said.
The Chick-fil-A Foundation last month announced a new donation strategy it said will “provide additional clarity and impact with the causes it supports.” Beginning in 2020, the Chick-fil-A Foundation will support Junior Achievement, Covenant House International and local food banks.
The Foundation will no longer support the Salvation Army or the Fellowship of Christian Athletes – two organizations that were at the heart of many LGBTQ protests of Chick-fil-A in recent years. The donation to the Southern Poverty Law Center wasn’t noticed until conservative groups began combing through the Foundation’s tax record. It was one of several hundred donations made in 2017.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Tom Pennington/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.