S. Truett Cathy

S. Truett Cathy Biography

Samuel Truett Cathy (born March 14, 1921) is the founder of Chick-fil-A, an American fast food restaurant chain based in the Atlanta, Georgia suburb of College Park.

Early life

Cathy was born in Eatonton, Georgia in 1921. He attended Boys High School, now Grady High School, in Atlanta, Georgia. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Cathy began the chain in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville, Georgia, in 1946 with a restaurant called the Dwarf Grill, named because of its small size. It was there that he, along with his brother and business partner, Ben, created the chicken sandwich that later became the signature menu item for Chick-fil-A. The original restaurant, since renamed Dwarf House, is still in operation, and the company operates other Dwarf House locations in the metro Atlanta area. He married Jeanette and had three children: Trudy, Bubba and Dan.


Cathy is a member of the First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia, and also has taught Sunday School there for more than 50 years. He has testified that the Bible is his guide-book for life. As an extension of his convictions, all of the company's locations, whether company-owned or franchised, are closed on Sundays "? a rare policy within the food-service industry "? to allow its employees to attend church and spend time with their families. This is a policy that began when Cathy was working six days a week, multiple shifts. He decided to close on Sundays to relax, and this policy remains.

He is also a philanthropist, having given to numerous charitable causes , many with evangelical ties. Cathy is closely involved with the sponsorship of the college football bowl game now known as the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but from 1997-2005 known as the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, and prior to that simply as the Peach Bowl. On October 28, 2006, Cathy received the last vehicle off the assembly line of Ford's Atlanta plant, in recognition of a 60-year relationship between him and the plant. The plant, located near Cathy's original Dwarf Grill (now Dwarf House), opened one year after the restaurant opened, and Truett regularly served during all three shifts at the plant. Cathy has extensively donated to Berry College in Rome, Georgia, building the WinShape program there and awarding numerous scholarships each year.

Cathy has written five books: the autobiography Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People, a motivational book entitled It's Easier to Succeed Than to Fail, the parenting book It's Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men, an explanation of his business success in How Did You Do It, Truett?, and a final book on the significance of money in today's society titled Wealth, Is It Worth It?. He also contributed to the anthology Conversations on Success and co-wrote with Ken Blanchard Generosity Factor: Discover the Joy of Giving Your Time, Talent, and Treasure. There is a portion of Jonesboro Road and McDonough Road in Henry County, Georgia, and Clayton County, Georgia, named in his honor. Cathy has said that the motivational book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill was one of the greatest foundations for inspiration growing up.

In April 2008, Cathy opened a new restaurant called "Upscale Pizza" in Fayetteville, Georgia. The menu features pizza, hot dogs, sandwiches and milkshakes.


Cathy has dedicated his time and resources towards welcoming homeless children into his home and has taught in Sunday school sessions. He has fostered children for over 30 years, and has since taken in nearly 200 foster children through WinShape Homes. WinShape Homes is a long-term foster care program that includes 11 foster homes throughout Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Cathy also has a Leadership Scholarship program for Chick-fil-A restaurant employees, which has awarded more than $23 million in $1,000 scholarships in the past 35 years.

Cathy has dedicated his time and resources to many philanthropic causes, focusing on those related to the welfare of needy children. In 1984, Cathy established the WinShape Foundation, named for its mission to shape winners. WinShape Foundation consists of WinShape Homes, WinShape RetreatSM, WinShape MarriageSM, WinShape Camps, WinShape, College Program, WinShape Wilderness and WinShape International. In 2010, the foundation provided roughly $18 million to fund the development of foster homes and summer camp. Past donations from the WinShape Foundation include the funding of several college scholarships and marriage counseling programs. The foundation has awarded nearly 820 students of Berry College with scholarships of up to $32,000. WinShape donations include $5 million to anti-gay groups since 2003. This includes $2 million given in 2009 and almost the same amount in 2010.

In 2008, Cathy's WinShape Foundation became the winner of the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic leadership which awarded it $250,000 towards future philanthropy, as a result of its contributions to society. The prize was created to further ideals such as personal responsibility, resourcefulness, volunteerism, scholarship, individual freedom, faith in God, and helping people who help themselves. It honors living philanthropists who have shown exemplary leadership through their charitable giving, highlights the power of philanthropy to achieve positive change, and seeks to inspire others to support charities that achieve genuine results.

In recognition of his philanthropic efforts through WinShape, Cathy received the Children's Champion Award for Family and Community from the charitable organization Children's Hunger Fund in 2011.

Honors and memberships

Cathy has received numerous honors, including membership in Omicron Delta Kappa (O"?K), the National Leadership Honor Society. He received O"?K's highest award, the Laurel Crowned Circle Award in 2009. He also received the Norman Vincent and Ruth Stafford Peale Humanitarian Award, the Horatio Alger Award, the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership, and the Boy Scouts of America Silver Buffalo Award. Cathy was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2003.

He is a member of Pi Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Pi Fraternities.

In 2007, Forbes magazine ranked Cathy as the 380th richest man in America and the 799th richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion.

President George W. Bush bestowed the President's Call to Service Award on Cathy in 2008.

Cathy was inducted into the Indiana Wesleyan University Society of World Changers on April 3, 2011. In addition to being inducted into the Society, the university also conferred upon Cathy an honorary doctorate of business.

In May 2012, Cathy received an honorary doctorate along with presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Liberty University's spring commencement ceremony. In his remarks, Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee at the time, said, "The Romney campaign comes to a sudden stop when we spot a Chick-fil-A. Your chicken sandwiches were our comfort food through the primary season, and heaven knows there were days that we needed a lot of comfort." Romney congratulated Cathy on his "well-deserved honor today".


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