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Chick-Fil-A Donated Nearly $2 Million To Anti-Gay Groups In 2009

November 01, 2011 8:19 am ET

Earlier this year, Chick-fil-A became embroiled in a controversy surrounding its donations to anti-gay groups. Though Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy denied having an “agenda against anyone,” an Equality Matters investigation discovered that Chick-fil-A donated more than $1 million to anti-gay causes between 2003 and 2008. Now, new IRS 990 forms reveal that the company donated nearly two million dollars to anti-gay groups in 2009 alone, the most recent year for which public records are available.

Chick-Fil-A's Charitable Arm Gave Nearly $2 Million To Anti-Gay Groups In 2009

WinShape Is Chick-Fil-A's Charitable Arm. The WinShape Foundation is Chick-fil-A's charitable arm, created by Chick-fil-A founder and chairman S. Truett Cathy in 1984. WinShape has received a substantial amount of funding from Chick-fil-A: in 2009 alone, WinShape received $7,814,788 from Chick-fil-A Inc. [Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11] 

WinShape Gave Over $1.7 Million To Anti-Gay Groups. In 2009 alone, WinShape donated $1,733,699 to multiple anti-gay groups:

  • Marriage & Family Legacy Fund: $994,199
  • Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
  • National Christian Foundation: $240,000
  • Focus On The Family: $12,500
  • Eagle Forum: $5,000
  • Exodus International: $1,000
  • Family Research Council: $1,000

[Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]

Marriage And Family Legacy Fund (MFLF)

Chick-Fil-A Vice President Launched Marriage And Family Legacy Fund. Donald "Bubba" Cathy, Chick-fil-A’s senior vice president, helped launched the Marriage and Family Legacy Fund (MFLF), which “pool[s] funds for a national marriage media campaign and provide start-up grants for local initiatives to promote stable, lasting marriages.” [Philanthropy Roundtable, October 2007]

MFLF Is A Project Of The Anti-Gay Marriage CoMission. The MFLF was created to be the “implementation and funding arm” for the Marriage CoMission, a coalition of groups formed in response to the “downward spiral of marriage and the traditional family in America.” [MFLF Executive Summary, accessed 10/28/11, Marriage CoMission, accessed 10/28/11]

  • Marriage CoMission Is Supported By Prominent Anti-Gay Activists. Since its inception, the CoMission has been supported by anti-gay activists such as Exodus International's Alan Chambers and Citizens for Community Values' Barry Sheets. [Marriage CoMission, accessed 10/28/11]

Click here to learn more about the Marriage CoMission and its ties to anti-gay groups

WinShape Donated $994,199 To Marriage And Family Legacy Fund.  WinShape donated $994,199 in 2009. [Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]

Fellowship Of Christian Athletes (FCA)

Fellowship Of Christian Athletes Conference Has "Freed" People From Homosexuality. Every year, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) holds a National College Conference that Danny Burns, the conference Program Director, described as one in which "God freed some people from homosexuality, sexual sins, addictions and even ushered newcomers into His Kingdom." Burns’ comment has since been edited on FCA’s website. [Equality Matters, 3/22/11, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, accessed 10/28/11]

Fellowship of Christian Athletes Website Highlights Coach Who Was “Delivered From Homosexuality. [Fellowship of Christian Athletes, accessed 10/28/11]

FCA Ministry Leader Application Condemns "Impure Lifestyle" of Gays. The application to become an FCA Ministry Leader requires applicants to agree with the FCA's Sexual Purity Statement, which condemns gays as engaging in an "impure lifestyle":

God desires His children to lead pure lives of holiness. The Bible is clear in teaching on sexual sin including sex outside of marriage and homosexual acts. Neither heterosexual sex outside of marriage nor any homosexual act constitute an alternate lifestyle acceptable to God.

While upholding God’s standard of holiness, FCA strongly affirms God’s love and redemptive power in the individual who chooses to follow Him. FCA’s desire is to encourage individuals to trust in Jesus and turn away from any impure lifestyle. [FCA Application, accessed 10/28/11]

WinShape Donated $480,000 To Fellowship of Christian Athletes. WinShape donated $480,000 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in 2009. [Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]

National Christian Foundation (NCF)

National Christian Foundation Donates To Anti-Gay Groups. The National Christian Foundation (NCF) is a grant-making foundation that has made "hundreds of grants" to anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family, Family Life, and the Family Research Council, according to the Philanthropy Roundtable's publication "Reviving Marriage In America: Strategies for Donors." NCF allows donors to direct their donations and has experienced a surge in interest among donors in funding marriage-related giving. [Philanthropy Roundtable, accessed 2/8/11]

WinShape Donated $240,000 To National Christian Foundation.  WinShape donated $240,000 to the National Christian Foundation in 2009. [Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]

Focus On The Family (FOF)

Focus On The Family Is An Anti-Gay Group. Focus on the Family (FOF) has been listed as an anti-gay group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). In 2005, SPLC wrote:

Among the scores of anti-gay commentaries, stories and products on FOF's Web site is a [FOF Founder James] Dobson essay that strikes a typical note: "Moms and Dads, are you listening? This movement is the greatest threat to your children. It is of particular danger to your wide-eyed boys, who have no idea what demoralization is planned for them." Another article claims that "the homosexual agenda is a beast. It wants our kids." [SPLC, Spring 2005]

WinShape Donated $12,500 To Focus On The Family. WinShape donated $12,500 to Focus on the Family in 2009. [Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]

Eagle Forum

Eagle Forum Is An Extreme Right-Wing Anti-Gay Group. Phyllis Schafly’s Eagle Forum consistently promotes disparaging claims about LGBT people. The group opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to decriminalize homosexuality in 2003 and has railed against courts for promoting a “gay agenda” in schools. [Eagle Forum, 7/18/03, August 2006]

WinShape Donated $5,000 To Eagle Forum. WinShape donated $5,000 to Eagle Forum in 2009. [Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]

Exodus International

Exodus International Promotes “Ex-Gay” Therapy. Exodus International is one of the world’s largest promoters of “ex-gay” therapythe practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation from gay to straight. The organization refers to being LGBT as “perverse” and a form of “sexual brokenness.” [Truth Wins Out, accessed 10/28/11]

WinShape Donated $1,000 To Exodus International. WinShape donated $1,000 to Exodus International in 2009. [Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]

Family Research Council

Family Research Council Is Designated As An Anti-Gay Hate Group By the SPLCThe Family Research Council has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for its propagation of known falsehoods about the LGBT community. For example, president Tony Perkins has a long history of false and inflammatory attacks, such as claiming that pedophilia is a "homosexual problem." [The Washington Times11/24/10; SPLC, accessed 3/14/11]

WinShape Donated $1,000 To Family Research Council. WinShape donated $1,000 to the Family Research Council in 2009. [Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]

Click here for more on Chick-fil-A's ties to anti-gay causes and organizations

Despite Ties To Anti-Gay Groups, Chick-Fil-A President Denies Company Has An Anti-Gay Agenda

Pennsylvania Chick-Fil-A Sponsored Anti-Gay Group's Marriage Event. In January, a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Pennsylvania donated food to the group Family Life to put on an event called the "Art Of Marriage" Both Chick-fil-A and co-sponsor Pennsylvania Family Institute (PFI) were originally listed as sponsors of the "Art Of Marriage" event, although Chick-fil-A scrubbed its name from the event's advertisements after the controversy began. [New York Times1/29/11; Joe. My. God., 1/4/11]

Co-Sponsor Of Event Has Long History Of Anti-Gay Activity. PFI has a history of anti-gay activism. For instance, in 2010, the group worked to kill a state bill that would have prohibited discrimination against LGBT people in housing, employment, and public accommodations, and a lawyer for PFI, argued that discrimination against gay and lesbians was a "moral choice." [Delaware County Times12/23/10]

Chick-Fil-A's President Released A Statement Denying The Company's Ties To Anti-Gay Groups. In response to the controversy, Chick-fil-A president and COO Dan Cathy released a statement denying that Chick-fil-A's donation was an endorsement of traditional marriage, arguing that Chick-fil-A has "no agenda against anyone," and that the company would not "champion any political agendas" relating to marriages or families. [PR Newswire, 1/29/11]