Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno's office had released the letter in which Chick-fil-A representatives discuss company charitable giving.
The move comes after a week of debate over whether the company vowed to discontinue its anti-gay donations and adopt anti-discrimination practices in order to be allowed to open a second restaurant in Chicago.
Moreno had initially vowed to block the chain in his ward after company Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy made highly publicized anti-gay comments. Moreno announced an agreement with Chick-fil-A last week, but Cathy later said that no such deal existed.
Matt Bailey, Moreno's spokesperson, had declined to released documentation of the deal, at the request of Chick-fil-A, he said. But given Cathy's recent denial, Bailey agreed to release the letter to Windy City Times.
The document, dating back to January, does not specifically discuss anti-groups or anti-gay donations. However, in a letter signed by John Featherston, Jr., Chick-fil-A's senior director of real estate, the company vows to take "a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping."
The letter appears to be written before Cathy's controversial comments and before Moreno took a stand against the restaurant, leaving questions about more recent agreements between Moreno and the company.
Bailey said the agreement between Chick-fil-A and Moreno's office remains dependent upon the restaurant's stance on LGBT issues and giving.
The full text of the letter is available below and as a pdf at the link:
FULL TEXT OF LETTER:
5200 Buffington Road
Atlanta, Georgia 30349-2998
January 31, 2012
Via Federal Express
Honorable Proco Joe Moreno
Alderman, 1st Ward
City of Chicago
2058 North Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647
Re: Chick-fil-A, Inc.
Dear Alderman moreno:
We were pleased to have the opportunity to speak with you recently concerning certain questions you had about our Company. We trust that certain misconceptions concerning Company policies were resolved and also hope that we were able to convey a better understanding of the Company and its philosophy. As we discussed, I write you to memorialize several points covered in our discussion.
As our Company's President, Dan Cathy, has stated publicly, Chick-fil-A, Inc., is not "anti anybody." In its 65-year history, both the Company and its individual restaurants, which are independently operated franchised businesses, have always endeavored to serve and value all people equally. On both a corporate and an individual level, we believe that everyone is entitled to be treated with honor, dignity and respect, a philosophy which is practiced and expected on a daily basis throughout the Company and chain. This philosophy is also one of the guiding principles of The WinShape Foundation, a charitable organization established nearly 30 ago by Chick-fil-A's founder, Truett Cathy, and his wife Jeannette.
Another principle that has always guided both the Company and The WinShape Foundation is the avoidance of promoting political agendas or causes. As you know, we have been taken to task in the recent past for charitable donations made by The WinShape Foundation to several organizations that have taken a public stand on certain political issues. As we advised you last week, any donations were made to the organizations in question for purposes apart from any political position they or other affiliates may advocate.
In the current world of social media, establishing facts can be challenging. For example, some of the activities characterized as charitable gifts by Chick-fil-A were purchases of goods. Some of the expenditures noted by critics imply current actions, but actually occurred as long as nine years ago. Additionally, one organization claimed sponsorship by our company that did not exist. These factors have served to cloud the long time commitment of Chick-fil-A and the Cathy family's WinShape Foundation to foster care for disadvantaged young people and to education.
In order to avoid such occurrences in the future, The WinShape Foundation is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agenda. To provide you with a better understanding of The WinShape Foundation, I have enclosed a listing of some of the Foundation's programs, as well as a statement issued by Dan Cathy on January 30, 2012 which summarizes our core beliefs and corporate philosophy. I sincerely hope that you find this information helpful, and also want to assure you that the proposed Chick-fil-A restaurant on Elston Avenue in Chicago will be operated at all times in a manner consistent with the principles described above ... and with one of the highest-ranking service standards in all of foodservice.
If you have any questions regarding these matters, please do not hesitate to contact me, as I would be happy to discuss them with you further. Finally, please also accept our thanks for your kind consideration of this correspondence.
Signed John E. Featherston, Jr.
Senior Director, Real Estate