S. Truett Cathy, founder and chairman emeritus of Chick-fil-A, died Monday, Sept. 8, 2014.
Born March 14, 1921, in Eatonton, Georgia, Cathy and his brother Ben opened their first restaurant, called the Dwarf Grill, in 1946. That early venture grew into Chick-fil-A, one of the nation’s most successful restaurant chains, reaching $5 billion in sales in 2013.
But, Cathy’s legacy reaches far beyond his business. He said, “I’d like to be remembered as one who kept my priorities in the right order. We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed. I have always encouraged my restaurant operators and team members to give back to the local community. We should be about more than just selling chicken; we should be a part of our customers’ lives and the communities in which we serve.”
In 1984, Cathy founded the WinShape Foundation to help young people succeed in life through scholarships and other youth-support programs. Since then, the foundation has grown to include a college program that awards up to $32,000 in scholarships toward eight semesters for eligible students; 11 foster homes, which serve more than 150 foster children throughout Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee; camps; and a wilderness program, retreat program, marriage program, and an international program.
Cathy received numerous awards for his philanthropic works. In 2007, the BSA awarded Cathy the prestigious Silver Buffalo Award for distinguished, noteworthy, and extraordinary service to youth. This award is Scouting’s highest commendation of the invaluable contributions outstanding Americans make to youth. The service must be national in scope and can be independent of or directly through the Boy Scouts of America. In its 88-year history, only 741 recipients have received the award.
Cathy authored several books, including It’s Easier to Succeed Than to Fail; It’s Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men; Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People; How Did You Do It, Truett?; and Wealth. Is It Worth It? He also co-authored The Generosity Factor with Ken Blanchard.
The Boy Scouts of America remembers Cathy for his philanthropic works that span the globe and the positive impact he made in countless lives.