Last July, Chick-fil-A was all anyone could talk about. The chicken sandwich chain came under fire when company president Dan Cathy spoke in an interview of his support for “the biblical definition of a family unit,” when asked about the same-sex marriage debate.
The comment was a focal point of gay rights groups, unhappy with the philanthropic efforts of the company. Through their charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation, Chick-fil-A had been donating money to groups considered to have an anti-gay agenda. The nation divided into camps, those who stood behind Chick-fil-A, and those who opposed their beliefs.
Supporters of the chain organized an appreciation day, while those who opposed them countered with a “Same-sex kiss day at Chick-fil-A.” Even Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel ended up in the middle of the controversy, publicly condemning the company. Eventually, as with most things, the animosity on both sides faded. Chick-fil-A continued to do big business as the number 2 chicken chain in the country, and everyone seemed to go back to whatever they were doing before.
Now, CNN reports Chick-fil-A’s charitable stance has changed. Tax documents obtained by Campus Pride, a national LGBT organization, show that WinShape stopped donating to the groups they were being called on the carpet for. While they still donated $6 million to fund grants, controversial groups like Family Research Council, and Exodus International were no longer listed among the recipients.
The company continues to donate money to groups that don’t condone same-sex marriage, such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. However, according to Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, Chick-fil-A’s funding “focuses on youth, education, marriage enrichment and local communities.”
Since the controversy, Windmeyer says he has spoken with Cathy on several occasions, even meeting he and his family. Through their conversations, they were able to get to know each other, as well as their beliefs, and are working to find common ground. “It is about opposing viewpoints,” Windmeyer says, “not opposing people.”