Chick-fil-A Touting Work of ‘LGBTQ-Inclusive and Affirming’ Covenant House on its Website—a Partnership that Will Expand in 2020

ATLANTA — The popular fast food chain Chick-fil-A has been touting the work of a pro-homosexual organization since May of this year — long before the recent outcry over its plan to halt donations to the Salvation Army, which also boasts of its service to homosexuals, and in 2017, actually cancelled a contract with another Christian charity due to its anti-inclusive views. The chicken giant continues its established path to affirm pro-homosexual nonprofits despite telling Christians that it has not caved to the pressure of the “LGBT” agenda.

In its press release on Monday, the Chick-fil-A Foundation outlined that it would be “expanding [its] partnership” with Covenant House International in its desire to continue to address youth homelessness. The organization had been one of the recipients of Chick-fil-A’s 2019 True Inspiration Awards, which honors the legacy of founder S. Truett Cathy and recognizes the work of nonprofits that the restaurant chain applauds.

In May, the Chick-fil-A Foundation posted an update on how two organizations it supports financially — Atlanta Mission and Covenant House International — were “making an impact in the area of youth homelessness.” It noted that many young people who age out of the foster care system or the juvenile justice system become homeless.

“Still others find themselves without a home after coming out to their parents or caregivers,” Chick-fil-A wrote. “A 2017 Chapin Hall report found that LGBTQ youth disproportionately experience homelessness. In fact, LGBTQ young adults had a 120% higher risk of reporting homelessness, even though they make up just five to 10 percent of the overall youth population.”

In providing various details on the work of Covenant House International, the Chick-fil-A Foundation specifically noted that Covenant House California works with the True Colors Fund, which addresses homelessness among homosexual youth and works to make partner organizations more “LGBT-inclusive and affirming.”

True Colors Fund was co-founded by secular rocker Cyndi Lauper and her agent Jonny Podell, and states on its website, “We believe in a world where every LGBTQ young person, wherever they live, is celebrated for being their authentic selves.”

“In California, Covenant House California — also a 2019 True Inspiration Award winner — is partnering with the True Colors Fund and enhancing its services to LGBTQ youth,” Chick-fil-A noted in its writeup. “The True Colors Inclusion Assessment was designed to help agencies implement best practices to welcome and serve LGBTQ youth. Based on the assessment outcome, the True Colors United team guides the agency through the necessary steps to create a more LGBTQ-inclusive and affirming program and environment.”

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Rodney Bullard, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility at Chick-fil-A, Inc., and executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, then remarked in a statement, “We’re proud to work alongside Atlanta Mission, Covenant House International, Covenant House California and many other organizations that are working to understand and address the root cause of youth homelessness.”

See Chick-fil-A’s post in full here. 

Covenant House International has a page on its website dedicated to “LGBT Youth and Homelessness,” which outlines its works both nationally and internationally to “ensure that our houses are welcoming, affirming, and safe for LGBTQ youth.”

Covenant House International NYC Pride
Covenant House at NYC Pride parade. Click to enlarge.

A press release also “proudly” announces “that the True Inclusion Assessment to increase lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) inclusivity has been completed throughout 16 US and Canadian Covenant House programs.” Another page provides photographs from Covenant House International’s participation in the NYC pride parade, as its float was trimmed with rainbow colors.

In 2016, Covenant House President Kevin Ryan, a Roman Catholic, told the Windy City Times that he believes the organization has made strides in regard to being welcoming to homosexuals.

“They (Covenant House) have support from LGBTQ individuals and organizations. They have openly gay people on their international board of directors,” the outlet explained. And Ryan’s own brother, Owen Ryan, the executive director of the International AIDS Society in Geneva, Switzerland, identifies as homosexual.

“This movement is about celebrating young people for exactly who they are — gay, lesbian, transgender, straight,” the Covenant House president stated. “We don’t use the narrative of tolerance. It is about connecting kids to their authentic selves.”

According to the Chick-fil-A Foundation, in 2018, “Covenant House received $225,000 in support of national and local programs (in California and Georgia) that support youth facing homelessness” and “The Chick-fil-A Foundation has since committed to a significant partnership with Covenant House in 2020.”

As previously reported, in March, Think Progress reported that Chick-fil-A had advised the outlet that “[i]n 2017, a decision was made by the Chick-fil-A Foundation to no longer donate to the [Paul Anderson Youth Home] after a blog post from 2010 surfaced that does not meet Chick-fil-A’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment to all.”

Click to enlarge.

On Monday, controversy began stirring over whether or not Chick-fil-A had caved to complaints and resistance from homosexual advocacy groups after reports revealed that the company had discontinued donations to The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Comments from Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos, as quoted by Bisnow, implied that the matter at least had some degree of influence in the decision.

“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 was also quoted as stating. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”

Tassapoulous serves on the advisory board of the Atlanta Area Council for the Boy Scouts of America.

As a result of the report, the Salvation Army released its own statement asserting that the charity was being mischaracterized in terms of its relationship to those who identify as homosexual. The organization, founded by evangelist William Booth in 1865, contended that it provides more assistance to homosexuals in poverty than any other charity.

“We’re saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education and homelessness organizations — areas in which The Salvation Army, as the largest social services provider in the world, is already fully committed,” the organization wrote. “We serve more than 23 million individuals a year, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, we believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ+ population.”

“When misinformation is perpetuated without fact, our ability to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor, is at risk,” it continued. “We urge the public to seek the truth before rushing to ill-informed judgment and greatly appreciate those partners and donors who ensure that anyone who needs our help feels safe and comfortable to come through our doors.”

The organization also linked to a page on its website that is dedicated to information about its efforts surrounding those who identify as homosexual or transgender.

“Almost one-third of transgender people have been rejected from an emergency shelter. The Salvation Army created a dorm in Las Vegas to offer safety and shelter to this group, which is statistically more vulnerable to assault,” it reads.

“LGBTQ Americans are more likely to be poor. Many face disproportionate job and housing insecurity due to discrimination. Your donation could mean rental and utilities assistance,” the page also outlines.

However, the Christian Post released an article the same day with the headline “Chick-fil-A denies capitulating to LGBT activists; Christian groups won’t be excluded from donations.”

“Beginning in 2020, the Chick-fil-A Foundation will introduce a more focused giving approach, donating to a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of hunger, homelessness and education,” the company told the site. “We have also proactively disclosed our 2018 tax filing and a preview of 2019 gifts to date on chick-fil-afoundation.org. The intent of charitable giving from the Chick-fil-A Foundation is to nourish the potential in every child.”

“Our goal is to donate to the most effective organizations in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger. No organization will be excluded from future consideration — faith-based or non-faith based,” it added.

On Tuesday, Franklin Graham took to social media to outline that he personally called Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, who contended that the company had not changed because of pressure from homosexual advocates.

“I picked up the phone and called Dan Cathy. Dan was very clear that they have not bowed down to anyone’s demands, including the LGBTQ community,” he wrote.

“They will continue to support whoever they want to support. They haven’t changed who they are or what they believe. Chick-fil-A remains committed to Christian values. Dan Cathy assured me that this isn’t going to change. I hope all those who jumped to the wrong conclusion about them read this.”

However, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel soon released an op-ed opining that Graham hasn’t done his research.

“Franklin, you have done a huge disservice by not doing more investigation into Chick-fil-A’s betrayal and capitulation to the LGBT agenda. While Dan Cathy may say the company has the same values, the company’s statements and actions tell a different story,” he wrote.

Staver noted that, as stated, Chick-fil-A dropped the Paul Anderson Youth Home several years ago, and that Covenant House International is active in its homosexual advocacy.

“Covenant House also proudly supports the New York City Gay Pride parade with its own float, banners, t-shirts, and hashtag #CovUnity. Covenant House is recognized as a national funder of LGBTQ causes,” he outlined.

“To save its own corporate skin, Chick-fil-A has thrown good, biblical, organizations under the bus and legitimized the false narrative of the LGBT activists.”

As previously reported, Chick-fil-A has repeatedly stated since the original controversy in 2012 that the company intends to “leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

In March, the fast food chain created a post to address media reports that over $1 million was donated in 2017 to “three organizations characterized as anti-LGBTQ groups.”

“The work of the [Chick-fil-A] Foundation is committed to youth and education. The Foundation’s giving helps with economic mobility of young people by focusing on homelessness and poverty, education, and community revitalization, and is done with no political or social agenda,” it wrote. “The narrative that our giving was done to support a political or non-inclusive agenda is inaccurate and misleading.”

Chick-fil-A’s website outlines that its corporate purpose is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”


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