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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.

Get to know this year's 23 winners and learn more about the story behind the awards
$1.2
million awarded in grants
18
organizations nominated by Chick-fil-A Operators
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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.

 

 

$8.8
million in scholarships awarded in 2017
3,439
Team Members received scholarships

Helping our team achieve their dreams

Scholarships at Chick-fil-A
with
$46
million in scholarships awarded
to
41,400
Team Members since 1973

Meet some of the 2017 scholars

Click below to hear the stories of some of our True Inspiration Scholarship winners and experience the moment they found out they were receiving the $25,000 scholarship.
  • Caitlin Evans

    Caitlin Evans

    Chick-fil-A Wallingford
    Todd Langston, Chick-fil-A Operator

     

  • Anahi Muniz

    Anahi Muniz

    Chick-fil-A East Longview
    Chuck King, Chick-fil-A Operator

     

  • Nathan Kelly

    Nathan Kelly

    Chick-fil-A Dahlonega
    Tony Kellar, Chick-fil-A Operator

     

  • Kossi Ekpe

    Kossi Ekpe

    Chick-fil-A Anderson Mall
    Jon Holmes, Chick-fil-A Operator

     

  • Samantha Fullmer

    Samantha Fullmer

    Chick-fil-A Twin Falls
    Billy Ystueta, Chick-fil-A Operator

     

  • Ilona Penner

    Ilona Penner

    Chick-fil-A Hanover
    Jack Stefano, Chick-fil-A Operator

     

Click to read more scholar stories

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.

Discover more about Chick-fil-A Leader Academy
21,000
students involved
705
schools participated across 35 states

Junior Achievement & JA Academy

Preparing students for business and the global economy

  • Junior Achievement

    Junior Achievement

    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.

  • JA Academy

    JA Academy

    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.

Click to dig a little deeper and learn more about Junior Achievement.
Chick-fil-A Fellows
Chick-fil-A Fellows

25

young leaders

Chick-fil-A Fellows

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. 

 

Rubin Barksdale

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.

Rubin Barksdale

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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
Westside in Action

100%

commitment

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.

 

 

60%+
students not proficient readers by 3rd grade
500
teachers trained this school year

Employee Volunteerism

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. 

See the full report to learn more about how some of our staff took service the extra mile
87
volunteer activities
6,340
volunteer hours served
Youth Camps
Youth Camps

375

campers

Youth Camps

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

Bookhouses

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. 

23,357
books donated by Chick-fil-A guests
117
participating Chick-fil-A Operators
11,000
meals donated to those rebuilding the I-85 bridge
5,300
meals donated to stranded travelers

Relief Efforts

We can't predict when disaster will hit our communities, but we can be there to help

This spring, a section of I-85, one of Atlanta's key thoroughfares, collapsed because of a fire. To help the men and women working hard to get Atlanta moving again, Chick-fil-A Community Affairs delivered meals to those working at the site of the collapse. In total, 11,000 meals were donated. Then, in December, a power outage left thousands of passengers in the dark—and with no food—for hours at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. When Mayor Kasim Reed called for Chick-fil-A's help that Sunday night, seven local Chick-fil-A Operators and their Team Members jumped into action and got cooking on their day off, and the Community Affairs team helped coordinate and deliver 5,300 Chicken Sandwiches to stranded travelers.
Relief Efforts
Relief Efforts
Relief Efforts 2
Relief Efforts 2

$308,000

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.