If Chick-fil-A wants to be in the business of corporate social responsibility, rather than charity, it will over time become increasingly hostile to the very customers who made it successful. Corporate social responsibility will take it down the same dark road of virtue signaling and political correctness. Then, before you know it, there will be a Chick-fil-A ad campaign about toxic masculinity. And then the legacy of its founder will be as thoroughly lost as the legacies of the founders of so many other great American companies whose modern incarnations slavishly serve anti-American causes.
Chick-fil-A’s announcement that it was dumping the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which have come under attack by gay activist groups, caught Christian fans of the fast food chain by surprise. It shouldn’t have if they had been paying attention to CFA’s corporate structure.
The donations were coming out of the Chick-fil-A Foundation. The Executive Director of the CFA Foundation is Rodney D. Bullard, a former White House fellow and Assistant US Attorney. Some may have mistaken him for a conservative because he was a fellow in the Bush Administration, but he was an Obama donor, and, more recently, had donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign while at Chick-fil-A.
Like many corporations, Chick-fil-A branded its charitable giving as a form of social responsibility. Bullard became its Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility. Unlike charity, corporate social responsibility is a leftist endeavor to transform corporations into the political arms of radical causes. Like other formerly conservative corporations, Chick-fil-A had made the fundamental error of adopting the language and the infrastructure of its leftist peers. And that made what happened entirely inevitable.
In an interview with Business Insider earlier this year, Bullard emphasized that the Chick-fil-A Foundation had a “higher calling than any political or cultural war.” The foundation boss was preparing the way for the shakeup that was coming in the fall. Even while he claimed that the CFA Foundation had a higher calling than a political or cultural war, he was preparing to accommodate the Left’s cultural war.
Bullard would have been seen as a safe bet. The CFA Foundation and the Christian groups it supported were so entangled that Bullard serves on the Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board and was on the National Board of Trustees of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. But Bullard’s vision was not that of charity, but of corporate social responsibility. And the two things are fundamentally different.
Charity helps people. Corporate social responsibility is virtue signaling by capitalists to anti-capitalists. Unlike charity, corporate social responsibility isn’t about helping people, but ticking off ideological and identity politics boxes like diversity and the environment. If people accidentally get helped in the process of helping a corporation signal its membership in the politically correct creed, that can’t be helped.
The Chick-fil-A Foundation will go on funding leftist groups like Atlanta’s Westside Future Fund. The Westside Future Fund is a project of the Atlanta Committee for Progress together with former Mayor Kasim Reed. It will just opt out of funding Christian groups whose views offend anyone on the Left.
The $1.7 million that the Westside Future Fund shoveled in last year from the CFA Foundation vastly outpaces the mere $115,000 that the Salvation Army got for its Angel Tree program to provide gifts for poor children during the holidays. But even that low end six figure donation was too much and the gifts had to be snatched away from the kids by leftist pressure groups and identity politics protesters.
Sorry kids, our politics are more important than your presents.
A less publicized donation of $100,000 went to Sustainable Atlanta. That could have bought a lot of gifts. There was also a $10,000 donation to Saris to Suits whose mission is to “advance women’s empowerment, education, gender equality, and social justice.”
There’s money for social justice, but not for the Salvation Army.