Rodney Bullard joined Chick-fil-A in 2011 to start the foundation, which now handles the company’s charitable giving. The Chick-fil-A Foundation came under fire last week when customers accused the restaurant of caving to LGBT interests by not renewing its partnerships with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and The Salvation Army.
Bullard donated $1,000 to support Clinton in 2016 and appears to have donated $1,000 to support Obama in 2008. FEC records from 2016 identify Bullard as a Chick-fil-A employee, while the 2008 records list “military” as employer — something that matches with Bullard’s stint at the Pentagon from 2006 to 2009, according to his LinkedIn.
Chick-fil-A hasn’t ruled out donating to organizations that promote traditional marriage as LGBTQ rights groups continue to express doubts about the chain.
“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,” Tim Tassopoulos, president and COO of Chick-fil-A, said in a statement last week.
Many saw the decision as a betrayal for customers who stood by the restaurant in 2012 when CEO Dan Cathy said in several interviews that he didn’t support gay marriage.
The loss of funding from the chain, famous for refusing to open on Sundays because of its founder’s religious beliefs, is significant to the two faith-based organizations. In 2017 and 2018, the Chick-fil-A Foundation gave $2.4 million to the Missouri-based Fellowship of Christian Athletes for sports camps for underserved youth and $165,000 to the Salvation Army to buy Christmas gifts for needy children.
Both groups stood for traditional marriage. Chick-fil-A’s giving announcement on Monday was greeted with “cautious optimism” by LGBTQ rights group GLAAD, which said Chick-fil-A has made similar pledges before.
Chick-fil-A, which operates about 2,400 restaurants, was taking heat from gay rights supporters, which has impeded some of its growth efforts.
Earlier this year, airports in Buffalo, New York and San Antonio blocked the restaurant from opening at their sites because of the company’s record on gay rights. Some college campuses have banned the chain, while students at an Oregon high school walked out of classes last week, in part to protest the presence of a Chick-fil-A food truck at home football games, citing the company’s donations to the anti-gay marriage charities.
A location in the United Kingdom is also closing because of protests.
The Salvation Army said in a statement that it was “saddened” by Chick-fil-A’s decision.