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True Inspiration Awards
The annual True Inspiration Awards honor and celebrate organizations throughout the nation that are helping children become all they are created to be. The Chick-fil-A Foundation invests in organizations truly making a difference in their communities by providing them with grants and resources to help them make the biggest impact. We recognize organizations who have made significant contributions in the lives of our youth in the areas of Innovative Education, Youth Entrepreneurship, and Emerging Leader Development.
Path Project: A True Inspiration
Jim and Melinda Hollandsworth, founders of the non-profit Path Project, have spent the past 10 years serving youth in mobile home communities across Georgia and Tennessee. Watch us surprise them with the news that they are our S. Truett Cathy Honoree as part of this year's True Inspiration Awards.
Remarkable Futures Scholarships
In 1973, Truett Cathy set a mayonnaise jar on the counter of his first restaurant. The reason? To help Team Member Eddie White raise funds to pursue his dream of a college education. Thanks to contributions from guests and Truett himself, Eddie’s dream came true. From that jar, Chick-fil-A’s educational assistance was born. This year, we awarded 12 Team Members with a $25,000 True Inspiration Scholarship and 3,427 Team Members with a $2,500 Leadership Scholarship—a total investment of $8.8 million. In addition to scholarships, we support Team Members’ education through a Tuition Reduction Network, with more than 85 colleges and universities, and we’ve created ways for Chick-fil-A Operators to provide additional assistance at the local level. Simply, we believe in the potential of Chick-fil-A’s Team Members, and we want to inspire them to continue to lead and serve—both inside and outside the restaurant.
Meet some of the 2017 scholars
Todd Langston, Chick-fil-A Operator
Chick-fil-A East Longview
Chuck King, Chick-fil-A Operator
Tony Kellar, Chick-fil-A Operator
Chick-fil-A Anderson Mall
Jon Holmes, Chick-fil-A Operator
Chick-fil-A Twin Falls
Billy Ystueta, Chick-fil-A Operator
Jack Stefano, Chick-fil-A Operator
Chick-fil-A Leader Academy
Through Chick-fil-A Leader Academy—a national high school leadership program—students focus on making an impact through action. Participating schools are fully funded by a local Chick-fil-A Operator, with national support from Chick-fil-A, Inc., and Coca-Cola. Thanks to Operator support, what started with just three schools in 2012 has now grown to over 700 schools in 2017. Starting each September, Chick-fil-A Leader Academy students—30 per school—take part in weekly Leader Labs, where they’re guided through an interactive curriculum. Students have the opportunity to put what they’ve learned into action with Do Good December projects, and the seven-month program culminates with student-led Impact Projects in the spring. By using an approach that engages, exposes, and equips students to new possibilities, Chick-fil-A Leader Academy is reimagining high school leadership—and we can’t wait to see how these students will change the world.
Junior Achievement & JA Academy
Preparing students for business and the global economy
Junior Achievement's mission is to inspire and prepare students, between fifth and eighth grade, to succeed in a global economy. The Chick-fil-A Foundation works with Chick-fil-A Operators throughout the country, Junior Achievement staff, local business executives, and politicians to put together a comprehensive six-week curriculum that teaches kids the importance of financial literacy and real-world business skills.
In 2015, Junior Achievement in Atlanta introduced JA Academy, an immersive school-within-a-school designed to help high school students learn how to practically solve real-life challenges-with some help from the local business community. As of this year, JA Academy is running in four metro Atlanta high schools and counting. The Chick-fil-A Foundation is proud to be a corporate partner of JA Academy at Banneker High School and to serve as the lead partner of JA Academy at Frederick Douglass High School.
Nurturing the next generation of young people who lead through service
This year, we introduced the Chick-fil-A Fellows program as a way to have an even deeper impact on high school and college students. Designed to nurture the leaders of tomorrow, Chick-fil-A Fellows challenges students to think about leadership in a new way—leading through service. The 25 Fellows—10 high school students and 15 college students—study a monthly curriculum about different aspects of servant leadership during the year-long fellowship. They work together in regional cohorts, and have a local Chick-fil-A Operator act as their coach, and each Fellow is paired with a Chick-fil-A Corporate staff member, who serves as their mentor.
This has been one of the most impactful programs of my life, and I hope to leave a legacy for my family and for the world.
Chick-fil-A & Atlanta's Westside
We remain committed to revitalizing the Westside of Atlanta. Working hand-in-hand with civic and non-profit organizations, corporations, and residents of the Vine City, English Avenue, and Ashview Heights neighborhoods, we’re active in our efforts to restore this historic community as a thriving part of Atlanta’s success story.
Westside in Action
In 2017, we broke ground on our first restaurant in the Westside Atlanta neighborhood, Chick-fil-A at Vine City.
Sitting at the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard—once an active location for the civil rights movement—the restaurant serves as an outward expression of Chick-fil-A’s commitment and investment in the future of the Vine City neighborhood. Operator Quincy Springs IV believes the restaurant’s location can serve as a hub for the community once again, by providing jobs to residents, creating a space for people to gather and commune, and honoring the neighborhood’s civil rights heroes. By connecting him with local leaders and residents before and after the Grand Opening, the Chick-fil-A Foundation is working alongside Quincy to help realize that vision.
Chick-fil-A at Vine City opened in January 2018.
Partner Highlight: Atlanta Public Schools
Investing in schools on Atlanta's Westside and beyond
The Chick-fil-A Foundation is committed to helping kids become all they were created to be, and our ongoing partnership with Atlanta Public Schools is one way we invest in youth and education in our hometown. In 2017, we continued working with APS leaders to invest in their schools, programs and students, most notably M.R. Hollis Innovation Academy on the Westside.
One investment was funding an innovative literacy initiative for APS elementary school teachers and students. This summer, APS teachers began receiving training in the Orton-Gillingham approach to literacy, a scientifically proven method that helps students connect language with letters and words. To help APS pay for the much-needed literacy training, the Chick-fil-A Foundation and three other partners—the Atlanta Football Host Committee, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and College Football Playoff Foundation—stepped in to fund the three-year initiative.
Chick-fil-A staff serving their community
Truett Cathy was always seeking to give back to his community and his spirit of giving back still guides us today. In 2017, we continued helping our Support Center staff pursue meaningful and impactful service. Through more than 80 volunteer events, we connected staff with opportunities to help hurricane victims, mentor youth, serve Atlanta’s Westside community, and so much more.
One special service event took place at NEXT, Chick-fil-A’s annual conference. In partnership with Feeding Children Everywhere, more than 5,000 Chick-fil-A Operators, Support Center staff, and their families joined forces to pack 1,000,000 meals for hungry children and families across the U.S. The meals were then donated to 12 food banks—from Philadelphia to Phoenix—to help those facing limited access to adequate, healthy food. When people come together to serve others, incredible things can happen—and we’re dedicated to connecting and empowering our staff so they can use their gifts, talents and skills to make a difference in their communities.
Each summer, the Chick-fil-A Foundation hosts hundreds of inner-city children ages 8 through 12 for Chick-fil-A Youth Camp. This year, camp was held at Morehouse College. Hosting the kids on campus gives them an opportunity to not just visit, but immerse themselves in a college environment. For an entire week, they participate in activities that build physical and leadership skills and are exposed to sports and activities they may not experience in their daily lives. Chick-fil-A staff and local college students serve as the camp counselors—giving them the opportunity to make a lasting impact on the campers and help them dream for their future.
This experience helped me to understand the impact an afternoon of conversations, laughs, games, and a little encouragement can have on a child.
Tonya Raines, Chick-fil-A staff volunteer
We are always looking for ways to help our Chick-fil-A Operators support the communities they serve, and our Grand Opening bookhouses are one way of doing this. Every year, the Chick-fil-A Foundation partners with A Better Way Ministries to bring bookhouses to all newly opened Chick-fil-A restaurants throughout the country. The bookhouses serve as both a way to celebrate the new restaurants with fellow community members and encourage reading and education among the area’s youth. At Grand Opening events, Operators invite community members to stop by, enjoy a Chicken Sandwich and bring children’s books to add to the bookhouse collection. After the event, the Operators donate the collected books to a local organization that focuses on youth.
We can't predict when disaster will hit our communities, but we can be there to help
donated to American Red Cross
Hurricane Harvey & Irma support
To assist the American Red Cross in rebuilding the lives and communities affected by Hurricane Harvey and Irma, the Chick-fil-A Foundation launched a campaign to match each dollar that was donated to the Red Cross through the Chick-fil-A One app. Together, we donated $308,000 to the relief effort.
The Chick-fil-A Foundation, along with United Way, SunTrust Park, and the Atlanta Braves, also sponsored a full day of packing supplies. More than 270 volunteers came together to pack 1,000 kits, filled with food items, baby products, and toiletries. The Foundation also sent a truck full of water—more than 24,000 bottles—to the areas in need.