Chet wordmark with orange bowtie Chet wordmark with orange bowtie

Chet | A Personal Blog.

Chick-fil-a’s Philanthropy

The Chick-fil-a Foundation announced a change in giving strategy for next year, which has sparked considerable discussion around the beloved restaurant.

According to their Form 990, the CFA Foundation gave about $15.7M in gifts in 2018. That total is separate from any local giving that CFA Operators (owners of stores) did in their local communities, a requirement for all Operators. The Foundation announced that their 2020 giving will be focused on education, homelessness, and hunger. Not coincidently, those three focus areas align with the community-driven involvement that CFA Operators have been contributing to for years.

A few thoughts about this giving strategy.

  • CFA gave $15.7M to charity last year, how much did you give? CFA is a generous company: with their employees and with their communities. Maybe we should just be glad that they give at all. They’re a company with a compassionate heart that sees a moral imperative to share their profits to improve the lives of others.

  • It’s none of your business. People are very concerned about what other people do with their money. Chick-fil-a did the work, it’s their money. If they want to give it away, why would we stand in the way?

  • Increasing impact. Political giving is a gamble: it either gets you the results you want or it’s 100% wasted. I don’t see this new giving strategy as CFA turning its back on previous gifts, but rather a strategy to guarantee an impact. Dollars that go to programs that strengthen education, get people into permanent housing, or reducing food insecurity has an immediate, personal, and human impact. Every one of those dollars will yield the desired results.

Chick-fil-a makes delicious food that people wait for in drive-thru lines that wrap the building at all hours of the day. In the final analysis, I don’t think they particularly care what people think about their giving strategy. I’m glad that corporations, of all sizes, are so eager to make a positive impact in the lives of their customers and the communities which they serve.