Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

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Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Motto Every child will have a permanent home and a loving family.
Founded 1992
Founder Dave Thomas
Focus Foster care adoption
Area served
United States, Canada
Key people
Rita Soronen (President and CEO)
Mission The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption will dramatically increase the number of adoptions of waiting children from North America’s foster care systems.
Website davethomasfoundation.org

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding adoptive homes for children waiting in North America’s foster care system. Created in 1992 by Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, who was adopted as a child, the Foundation works to provide grants to national and regional adoption organizations for programs that raise awareness and make adoption easier and more affordable. Thomas' daughter Wendy serves on the foundation's board of trustees.[1][2]


Located in Columbus, Ohio, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated to dramatically increasing the adoptions of the more than 134,000 children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. Created by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, who was adopted, the Foundation implements results-driven national signature programs, foster care adoption awareness initiatives and research-based advocacy efforts.

The Foundation’s efforts are led by president and CEO Rita Soronen.[3] Soronen serves on the board of directors of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and the Ohio CASA/GAL Assn. and is a fellow for the Jefferson Fellowship for Executive Leadership. She is a recipient of the National CASA Association Kappa Alpha Theta Program Director of the Year and the national Angels in Adoption award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption.[4]

The Foundation raises money to provide free educational resources, promote awareness, assist policymakers and employers, and support adoption professionals and agencies throughout the United States and Canada—to ensure that every child finds a forever home. Signature programs of the Foundation include Wendy's Wonderful Kids[5]—a network of adoption recruiters throughout North American focused exclusively on North America's longest-waiting children; and Adoption-Friendly Workplace[6]—Tools and expert guidance for companies and parents to help support adoption benefits like financial reimbursement and paid leave. DTFA Kickball for a Home[7] was launched in 2011 to encourage engagement, fun and fundraising efforts.

The Wendy’s Company supports the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption with in-store donation canisters, Father’s Day Frosty campaign and Halloween Coupon books.

Wendy's Wonderful Kids[edit]

Wendy's Wonderful Kids is one of the signature programs of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The Foundation awards grants to public and private adoption agencies to hire adoption professionals who implement proactive, child-focused recruitment programs targeted exclusively on moving America’s longest-waiting children from foster care into adoptive families.

Recently released research[8] from a five-year evaluation of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids shows that children referred to the program are up to three times more likely to get adopted.

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters, work on caseloads of children the system has forgotten, ensuring they have the time and resources to give each child as much attention as he or she deserves. These recruiters employ aggressive practices and proven tactics focused on finding the best home for a child through the starting points of familiar circles of family, friends and neighbors, and then reaching out to the communities in which they live.

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids has 169 recruiters working for children throughout the U.S. and Canada. The program has helped more than 3,600 children get adopted by their forever families.

Adoption-Friendly Workplace[edit]

Adoption-Friendly Workplace is a signature program of the Foundation. The program works to make adoption an affordable option for every working parent. The goal is to provide companies with the support needed to provide adoption benefits to employees and recognize the forward-thinking employers that already have adoption benefits in place. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has a kit to establish adoption benefits in the workplace including how to implement financial reimbursement and paid leave for employees who adopt.

Every year, the Foundation compiles a list of the top 100 adoption-friendly workplaces[9] – the best small, medium, and large employers. Rankings in the list are based on the maximum amount of financial reimbursement and paid leave for employees who adopt. Honorees include the top 100, the top 10 by size and the top five in each industry.


The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption received the Shining Star Award presented by Congressional Quarterly and the Creative Coalition at the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions for its significant work to find forever families for children in foster care.[10]

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption's "Wendy's Wonderful Kids" program earned a 2007 Adoption Excellence Award from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.


External links[edit]