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Chick-Fil-A & Covenant House


Chick-fil-A’s decision to discontinue financial support for the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Homes baffled some of Chick-Fil-A’s supporters.

Chick-Fil-A’s argument that it wanted to “refocus” its giving on ministries on those that work with the homeless was especially confused those who know that the Salvation Army and Paul Anderson Youth Home both have homelessness as part of their core missions.  Chick-Fil-A critics say the restaurant chain is finally bowing to pressure from LGBTQ activists who have long targeted the company.

(See related MinistryWatch story.)

An examination of Covenant House, one of the ministries Chick-Fil-A recently started supporting, gives additional credibility to the idea that Chick-Fil-A is trying to appease LGBTQ critics.  Covenant House has publicly taken an “affirming” stand with related to LGBTQ youth.

The organization has also been a supporter of the New York City’s Pride Parade.

Covenant House said, “When young people who identify as LGBTQ become homeless, most seek shelter and services from mainstream or non-LGBTQ-specific agencies. It’s critical, then, that Covenant House, the largest provider of services to youth facing homelessness in the Americas, ensure that our houses are welcoming, affirming, and safe for LGBTQ youth and all youth experiencing homelessness.”

Kevin Ryan, president and CEO of Covenant House International, noted on the website, “This is not complicated: we are called to love unconditionally and with absolute respect all young people facing homelessness.”

Chick-fil-A announced in March it had awarded Covenant House a grant through the 2019 True Inspiration Awards. Covenant House won in both the Innovative Education and Youth Entrepreneurship categories. Covenant House, local foodbanks and Junior Achievement USA are slated to receive $9 million from Chick-fil-A in 2020.

More about Covenant House

Here are some other facts about the organization that can be found on the MinistryWatch profile, the Covenant House website and through other news and media reports:

  • According to the MinistryWatch database, Covenant House received one star out of five, which is the lowest ranking the organization gives related to financial efficiency. Fellowship of Christian Athletes received three stars, and the Salvation Army isn’t rated because it’s classified as Christian denomination in the Methodist tradition so they don’t release Form 990s to the public.
  • Covenant House is a non-profit based in New York and the largest privately-funded childcare agency in the United States, providing shelter and service to homeless and runaway youth.
  • Starting in a single location, the organization now provides its services in 31 cities across 6 countries. The organization reports offering housing and support services reaching 74,000 youth every year. And the ministry has reported impacting more than a million homeless, runaway and trafficked young people during the last four decades.
  • Covenant House was founded by Rev. Bruce Ritter, a Franciscan priest, in 1972. Ritter would step down from the organization in 1990 amid allegations of sexual and financial misconduct. Ritter denied the allegations and no charges were filed. Ritter died in 1999.
  • The organization’s mission statement:  “We who recognize God’s providence and fidelity to His people are dedicated to living out His covenant among ourselves and those children we serve, with absolute respect and unconditional love. That commitment calls us to serve suffering children of the street, and to protect and safeguard all children. Just as Christ in His humanity is the visible sign of God’s presence among His people, so our efforts together in the covenant community are a visible sign that effects the presence of God, working through the Holy Spirit among ourselves and our kids.”