Since Truett Cathy established the company’s first scholarship program in 1973 to encourage Chick-fil-A restaurant employees to further their education, the company has earmarked a portion of its proceeds to give back to its team members in the form of college scholarships. Last year was no different, with $1.39 million in total scholarships given to worthy recipients.
Chick-fil-A awarded its $1,000 Leadership Scholarship to nearly 1,400 team members who work for the company’s independent franchise owner operators in 39 states and Washington, D.C.
The Leadership Scholarship Program is widely accepted as the first team member scholarship program created in the quick-service industry. Over the past 40 years, Chick-fil-A has provided more than $30 million in Leadership Scholarships to more than 30,000 restaurant team members who have attended more than 3,100 colleges, universities, and other educational institutions.
Chick-fil-A’s commitment to giving back was established by Cathy, whose values continue to guide the company today. As he has expressed many times over the years, “Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.”
One of the company’s main areas of focus is creating educational opportunities for team members and youth.
“The Leadership Scholarship Program helps our team members pursue their educational goals while gaining real-life skills working in our restaurants,” says Tim Tassopoulos, executive vice president of operations. “Recipients have shown their community service and leadership abilities, and it’s our pleasure to honor them with this scholarship.”
In 2013, Chick-fil-A hopes to give $1.7 million in scholarships to team members. To be eligible for the scholarship, Chick-fil-A requires that applicants complete their high school education, enroll in college, are active in their schools and communities, demonstrate a solid work ethic, and possess strong leadership abilities, good teamwork, and a desire to succeed.
An additional 25 students were awarded the S. Truett Cathy Scholar Award, which provides an additional $1,000 scholarship to the top 25 Leadership Scholarship recipients. Since its inception in 1996, the S. Truett Cathy Scholar Award has given $400,000 to team members.
The company’s sponsored bowl games, The Chick-fil-A Bowl and The Chick-fil-A College Kickoff, hold the record among all college bowl games in charitable and scholarship contributions with more than $1.48 million in 2012, and a 10-year total of more than $15 million. These donations support scholarships, foster care through WinShape Homes, Lighthouse for the Blind, and academic coaches through Play It Smart.
Over the past three years, in cities and towns across America, Chick-fil-A has contributed more than $68 million to more than 700 educational and charitable organizations and has provided millions of dollars in food donations.