2019 Highlights from Rita Soronen

Posted on November 1, 2019



For more than 25 years, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has been committed to dramatically increasing the number of adoptions of children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. In the 2019 annual report, we are pleased to highlight the signature programs, partnerships and awareness-building efforts that are helping to achieve our vision: every child will have a permanent home and loving family.

We are now 36 months into an ambitious 12-year business plan to expand the reach of our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program to serve children who are most often overlooked, including teenagers, children with special needs and siblings. You will read the story of Maya and Hannah Fontaine and other sibling groups who are together today thanks to Wendy’s Wonderful Kids and the support of our donors.

The Foundation is making significant progress toward the aggressive goals set forth in our business plan. Since expansion efforts began, we have added 264 Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters and finalized 1,418 adoptions in the 9 scaling states alone. The leadership in these states are invested, not just financially, but emotionally in the critical work that we are doing.

As of June 30, 2019, nearly 450 Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters have found adoptive homes for a cumulative total of nearly 9,000 children across the United States. We are proud of this impact, but there is more work to be done.

While we are successfully moving children into adoptive homes, the Foundation is also aggressively working to raise awareness of our mission.

A few highlights of awareness efforts this year:

  • Last November, the Foundation partnered with Paramount Pictures around the release of the major motion picture, “Instant Family.” Awareness efforts helped fuel a record 30,000 requests for our adoption guide this year. In April, television and movie actor, Chrissy Metz, who played an adoptive mom in the film, “Breakthrough,” produced a digital message of support for the cause.
  • We launched a new public service announcement, sharing the story of Maci Kean (Florida), who was adopted just weeks before her 18th birthday. Today, Maci is a sophomore in college, studying to become an art therapist. Our public service announcements garnered the equivalent of more than $8.3 million in donated media value and aired on major national networks across the country.
  • The Foundation’s impact was featured in national news outlets, including The New York Times, CNN and The Chronicle of Social Change.
  • The 20th anniversary of CBS’, “A Home for the Holidays,” was the #1 rated show in its time slot and resulted in the highest traffic to the Foundation’s website all year.
  • Finally, individuals began wearing their support for adoption with apparel and accessories from the Foundation’s new online store.

We are so grateful to The Wendy’s® Company and our many dedicated partners and donors whose continued support helps us accelerate our mission. Together, we will make a lifetime of impact for children still waiting in foster care who need our help the most.

All good wishes,

President & CEO

These highlights were featured in the 2019 annual report (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019).

View Annual Report


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