"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."
"Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People" by S. Truett Cathy, published 2002
S. Truett Cathy is founder and chief executive officer of Chick-fil-A, Inc., which is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Cathy started the business in 1946 when he and his brother, Ben, opened an Atlanta diner known as The Dwarf Grill (later renamed The Dwarf House).
In 1967, Cathy founded and opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta’s Greenbriar Shopping Center. Today, Chick-fil-A is the second-largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States based on annual sales. At the beginning of 2011, there were more than 1,500 Chick-fil-A restaurants in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
Cathy’s approach is largely driven by personal satisfaction and a sense of obligation to the community and its young people. His WinShape Foundation, founded in 1984, grew from his desire to “shape winners” by helping young people succeed in life through scholarships and other youth-support programs.
The foundation annually awards 20 to 30 students wishing to attend Berry College, in Mount Berry, Georgia, with scholarships up to $32,000 that are jointly funded by WinShape and Berry College. In addition, the Chick-fil-A chain has given more than $25 million in $1,000 scholarships to Chick-fil-A restaurant employees since 1973.
As part of its WinShape Homes program, eight foster care homes have been started in Georgia, two in Tennessee and one in Alabama that are operated by Cathy and the WinShape Foundation.
WinShape Camps were founded in 1985 as residential, two-week summer camps to impact young people and families through experiences that enhance their Christian faith, character and relationships. More than 2,000 campers from throughout the country and abroad attend these camps each year.
In 2003, Truett helped his son and daughter-in-law celebrate the opening of WinShape Retreat, a retreat and conference facility also located on the Mountain Campus of Berry College.
Cathy, who was born March 14, 1921, in Georgia, built his life and business based on hard work, humility and biblical principles. He is a member of the First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia, where he has taught the same Sunday school class for more than 50 years. Based on these principles, all of Chick-fil-A’s restaurants operate with a “Closed-on-Sunday” policy, without exception. Company sales figures have consistently proven that Chick-fil-A restaurants often generate more business per square foot in six days than many other quick-service restaurants produce in seven.
Cathy is a dedicated husband, father and grandfather. His son Dan became president of Chick-fil-A in 2001, and son Don (Bubba) is senior vice president of Chick-fil-A, president of the Chick-fil-A Dwarf House and vice president of the WinShape Foundation. Cathy’s daughter, Trudy Cathy White, serves as the Girls' Director with WinShape Camps. In 2006, Cathy welcomed the third generation of Cathy family members to the business.