Happy New Year! It has been almost two years since we celebrated the 90th birthday of S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, Inc. Acting in the spirit of Truett, Chick-fil-A® established the Chick-fil-A Foundation (Foundation) in 2012. The Foundation’s mission is to serve Atlanta by developing and educating our youth so they can build a positive legacy and become all they are created to be. As we prepare for an exciting year ahead, we are motivated by and honored to share an update on the meaningful work the Foundation, Chick-fil-A employees, and our corporate and non-profit partners completed during the last 12 months.
With the formation of the Foundation, we began the pursuit of service opportunities in Atlanta’s Vine City, English Avenue and West End communities. The Foundation is proud to be the leading contributor to an impactful youth program through a community-based partnership with Junior Achievement. As our first major capital commitment, we are also delighted to have other noteworthy Atlanta companies, like SunTrust Banks Inc. and the SunTrust Foundation, sign on as partners in this initiative. Together, our teams broke ground on Junior Achievement’s Chick-fil-A Foundation Discovery Center (Discovery Center), a state-of-the-art financial literacy and career readiness facility in Atlanta on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Located on the mezzanine level of the Georgia World Congress Center’s Building C, the experiential learning program will provide a 360-degree educational experience that begins in the classroom and culminates with a day at the Discovery Center. While on site, students will immerse themselves in JA BizTown® and JA Finance Park®, two interactive, simulated marketplaces designed to represent the local business community and invite participants to experience reality-based, decision-making processes. The Discovery Center will annually serve more than 30,000 sixth-through-eighth-grade students from Atlanta Public Schools, Fulton County Schools and Dekalb County Schools beginning in the fall of 2013.
During the summer, the Foundation and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) hosted Power Camp, a weeklong, inner-city sports camp. More than 100 metro Atlanta children (ages 8-12), from organizations including the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta and the Phoenix Boys Association, received scholarships from the Foundation to participate in a variety of sports, including lacrosse, baseball, soccer and tennis, as well as spiritual and character development programs. In 2013, the Foundation plans to triple its efforts, hosting three Power Camp sessions in Vine City.
We also identified new ways to reach local youth by adopting Atlanta’s historic Washington High School to develop a mentorship program. Washington High, which boasts alumni such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Lena Horne, educates students that are bright, engaged and eager for new opportunities and mentors. Our Chick-fil-A employees have met the challenge to serve as role-models for the students. Recently, the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Atlanta Public School System recognized our endeavors, spotlighting the excitement and spirit of this program during a recent ceremony and on their respective websites.
Beyond the efforts mentioned above, the Foundation has been busy launching other programs and partnering with organizations dedicated to uplifting our community and positively empowering youth, including the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Blessings in a Backpack, the Salvation Army, Raising Expectations, Inc., the Atlanta Music Project, and the Covenant House of Atlanta.
We are pleased with our progress, and thrilled about our plans for 2013 and our expanding role in supporting our metro Atlanta community. We will keep you informed of our work and ask for your continued support and prayers as we grow.
Rodney D. Bullard