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Chick-fil-A will no longer support anti-LGBT charities in 2020

Major fast-food chain Chick-fil-A will no longer give money to anti-LGBT charities. In an exclusive interview with commercial real estate publication Bisnow, the popular chicken eatery says it will focus on three initiatives after 2019: education, homelessness and hunger.

Money will no longer be donated to religious organizations such as the Salvation Army, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

“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 said in an interview with Bisnow. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”

The bad press that has followed the chain concerning its underlying support for anti-LGBT groups has led to many of their stores being rejected in high-traffic areas such as airports and colleges. Although the company emphasizes that its donations were never endorsements for anti-LGBT thinking.  

However, this new effort is in response to those criticisms and coincides with the opening of an upcoming Boston location. Mayor Tom Menino said he would ban the chain after its CEO Dan Cathy went on record against gay marriage. 

With $9 million to hand out next year in donations, Chick-fil-A will gift portions of that money to Junior Achievement USA, Covenant House International, and food banks in each city they have a franchise. 

“This provides more focus and more clarity,” Tassopoulos said. “We think [education, hunger, and homelessness] are critical issues in communities where we do business in the U.S.”

In all, Chick-fil-A plans to give $32M in cash gifts in 2020. 

Although their brand name has become synonymous with bigotry, it hasn't suffered in revenue. Sales are strong, in fact, they fall just below McDonald's and Starbucks.

Tassopoulos hopes this new direction will send a message that the company is changing. 

"When there is a tension, we want to make sure we’re being clear. We think this is going to be helpful,” Tassopoulos said. “It’s just the right thing to do: to be clear, caring and supportive, and do it in the community.”

In 2012, Chick-fil-A also promised to stop giving to anti-LGBT organizations, something CEO Dan Cathy denies.  

“There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago," Cathy said in 2012. "That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been.”