2020 Annual Report

A Message from Our President & CEO

Dear Friends,

In this 2020 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 a loving family.

The COVID-19 crisis has created even more uncertainty and instability for the children we serve, but our resolve to advance our mission is stronger than ever.

Because of our caring community of supporters like you, siblings Lexi and Nick, of Ohio, and thousands of other youth in foster care now have the one thing they always wanted — a forever family.

Read a few highlights of our impact and ways we helped keep adoptions moving during the pandemic.

July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020

Read the Full Report

Wendy's Wonderful Kids®

We are nearing the end of the first phase of our multi-year business plan to expand the Foundation’s signature adoption program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, to serve more youth in foster care who are often overlooked.

To date, 11 states have scaled Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, including solidifying partnerships with Michigan, Nevada and Oklahoma over the last year. The leadership in these states are invested, not just financially, but emotionally in the critical work that we are doing through the program.

Our Impact (As of June 30, 2020)

Lexi and Nick’s Story

Lexi and Nick were placed in foster care due to neglect, as their biological parents battled drug addiction and other issues.

For five years, they longed for a permanent home.

Thankfully, Lexi and Nick’s journey changed when they met their Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter, Caitlin. She worked to keep the siblings together.

Read More


Wendy's® Gives Back

Year after year, The Wendy’s Company, its franchise owners and operators, suppliers, employees and customers support the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption through events, personal gifts and in-restaurant campaigns. Following are highlights of the many ways that the Wendy’s family worked together to raise more than $16 million this year.

Thank you, Dave’s Legacy of Love Society

The Wendy’s system challenged each operator to sell at least 1,000 Boo! Books™ and 1,000 Frosty® Key Tags per restaurant, both efforts benefiting the Foundation. The Foundation is pleased to celebrate 10 Wendy’s franchise organizations that met this fundraising challenge and were inducted into the inaugural class of the Dave’s Legacy of Love Society.

Thank you, New York DMA

In 2019, the New York DMA raised nearly $1,000,000 from the sale of Boo! Books and Frosty Key Tags to support the Foundation’s mission. “Our emphasis is simply on driving customer engagement with this wonderful call to action.” — Kevin Woodside, President of Wenesco

Pictured from left: Melvyn Jones, The Briad Group; Yiraldy Torres, The Briad Group; Sam Tawil, Wenesco; Maria Arredondo, Wenesco; Grissel Garcia, Wenesco; Jendy Cespedes, The Briad Group; Maria Cristoforis, Wenesco; and Leo Henriquez, Wenesco

Changing the Journey Because of You

The Foundation is grateful for the growing number of donors who are passionately helping to advance our mission. We are pleased to share some of the many reasons why they support this critical work.

Remembering Mrs. I. Lorraine Thomas

Mrs. Thomas (1935 2019) shared her husband Dave’s vision to create the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in 1992, with one goal — to ensure that every child in foster care has a permanent home and a loving family. In late 2019, Mrs. Thomas passed away. We lost a friend and the world lost a longstanding children’s advocate and philanthropist. Read more

Thank you, Aly Farber and Anthony Kelly

Pictured center: Anthony Kelly and Aly Farber with Foundation staff

Aly Farber and Anthony Kelly helped raise more than $11,000 for the Foundation by hosting Cornhole for a Cause in fall 2019.

“As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize and understand the impact my grandparents had not only on our own family but families across the country, and how important it is for the next generation to support the Foundation and their mission.”
— Aly Farber, granddaughter of the late Dave and Lorraine Thomas

Thank you, T. Marzetti Company

T. Marzetti Company generously matched donations to the Foundation in December 2019, up to $100,000. With the company’s support, this campaign raised more than $300,000.

“We are honored to support the Foundation’s mission so that more children in foster care experience moments around the table together in a loving, adoptive home.”

— Dave Ciesinski, President & CEO, T. Marzetti Company

Thank you, Noah Fredenberg

Noah Fredenberg raised more than $10,000 for the Foundation by running from Los Angeles to New York in 121 days.

“Kids who grow up with consistency and love can take on their lives with passion and confidence.” — Noah Fredenberg

Read more about Noah’s journey to help youth most likely to age out of care, one mile at a time.

“Teenagers waiting to be adopted from foster care are at serious risk of not experiencing the love and support of something most of us take for granted: a family. The Foundation benefits the individual, the family, the community around them and, ultimately, the world.”
— Supporters Jessica and Rafael Astruc

Thank you, Krista and Vincent Jacobs

Both adopted as infants, Krista and Vince Jacobs knew they wanted to grow their family through adoption.

“No child should have to navigate transitioning to adulthood alone. Without a forever family, children face tremendous obstacles that are difficult to overcome.” — Krista Jacobs

Read more about the Jacobs family’s commitment to improving outcomes for children in foster care.

Thank you, Bill Perkins

“The gap in opportunities for children who grow up in a permanent, loving home and those who do not is staggering. The Foundation is working every day to close that gap to give more children waiting in foster care the foundation for a brighter future.” — Bill Perkins

Read more about why Mr. Perkins supports the Foundation’s mission.

“I have known since I was old enough to understand, that I was adopted. At some point, I heard about Dave Thomas, his adoption and the Foundation he created to help others, and his story struck a chord with me. I support the Foundation because I feel adoption has the possibility of changing lives.”
— Supporter Michael B. Hicks

Financial Overview

As a donor, you can feel good knowing that your efforts are supporting significant progress. The Foundation earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, recognizing our commitment to good governance, financial transparency and other best practices and is proud to be a GuideStar Platinum participant. View the statement of financial position on pages 10–11 of the Annual Report.

The Foundation is honored to recognize all donors contributing $1,000 or more between July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020.

Together, we will make a lifetime of impact for children still waiting in foster care who need our help the most.

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