THE DAVE THOMAS FOUNDATION FOR ADOPTION
Who We Are: The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated to dramatically increase the number of adoptions from foster care. Created by Wendy’s® founder Dave Thomas, who was adopted, the Foundation implements evidence-based, results-driven national service programs, foster care adoption awareness campaigns and innovative grantmaking.
What We Do: Through its Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, the Foundation provides grants to adoption agencies to hire and train adoption recruiters in its Child-Focused Recruitment Model, which is up to three times more effective at finding permanent, loving homes for children who are most at risk of not being adopted, including older youth, sibling groups and children with special needs.
Additionally, the Foundation develops free resources, such as Finding Forever Families: A Step-by-Step Guide to Adoption and the Adoption-Friendly Workplace Toolkit, and raises awareness about the importance of adoption from foster care through social media, public service announcements and events.
Why We're Important: In the United States alone, more than 20,000 children age out of the foster care system without a family every year. The average age of children adopted through the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program is 12, and 82% have special needs. One-quarter of the children in the program had a prior failed or disrupted adoption, and for 86% of those children, minimal or no recruitment efforts had been made on their behalf.
“These statistics energize us every day,” said Rita Soronen, President & CEO. “Research drives us forward. We are accountable to these children and the families we serve.”
How We Impact the Community: Since the Foundation launched Wendy’s Wonderful Kids in Ohio, 54 adoption recruiters have found families for 853 children. But there is more to do to support the 3,201 children still waiting in the state's foster care system.
The Foundation’s successful pilot in Ohio led to the launch of a 12-year business plan in 2017 to expand the program in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Phase one of expansion is occurring in Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, North Carolina, Utah and Washington, with a goal to secure nearly 60,000 adoptions from foster care by 2028.
How You Can Help: Children enter foster care through no fault of their own because they have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Finding forever families for children in foster care in Ohio and across the nation changes not only their lives for the better, but also builds stronger families and communities for generations to come.
The Foundation is humbled by the growing number of organizations and individuals who share Dave Thomas’ belief that “These children are not someone else’s responsibility. They are our responsibility.”
To share this great responsibility with the Foundation and instantly give the gift of family, visit www.davethomasfoundation.org/donate.
Connect with The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Executive Director: Rita Soronen, President & CEO