BUILDING BRIGHTER FUTURES.
2023 Annual Report
A message from our President & CEO
More than 30 years ago, our founder, Dave Thomas, created the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption with a singular mission: to dramatically increase the number of adoptions of children waiting in North America’s foster care systems.
To advance this mission, the Foundation is aggressively working with states, agencies, courts and policymakers to advocate for policies that promote equitable opportunities for every waiting child.
As part of this commitment, we conducted research in partnership with The Harris Poll to better understand child welfare professionals’ beliefs about achieving legal permanency and that every child is adoptable. We wanted to hear about strategies that are working well, where they may need more support and any perceived barriers they may be facing. This research will inform our communications to share best practices and recognize the impact of their work.
We are making strong progress in phase two of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program expansion. Last year, we began scaling statewide in Alabama and Georgia, which means 16 states and the province of Ontario have now scaled or are currently scaling the program. And we are in active conversations with several other states. We also celebrated reaching 1,500 adoptions in Ohio and 1,000 in Florida through the program in collaboration with our agency partners.
Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, more than 13,000 children across the United States and Canada now have a loving, forever family with help from Wendy’s Wonderful Kids — including more than 1,000 finalizations over the last year.
We have also elevated the national conversation about the urgent need for foster care adoption through ads on TV, radio, podcasts, social media and in publications, such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and articles in national outlets, such as U.S. News & World Report, the Associated Press and more.
We released our 16th annual Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces™ list, recognizing corporations, such as Bank of America, Cardinal Health, Hilton Grand Vacations and Johnson & Johnson that have been willing to share stories of impact to encourage other organizations to implement foster care and adoption benefits.
Our supporters are engaging in new ways to get involved with our mission, such as packing Care Kits of necessary hygiene items for children in foster care and writing thank you messages to Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters for making a life-changing difference.
Dave Thomas always said, “These children are not someone else’s responsibility. They are our responsibility.”
Thank you for sharing this incredible responsibility with us and for helping to give more children lingering in foster care the best possible opportunity for a bright future.
July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023
Wendy's Wonderful Kids Impact
During our 2023 fiscal year, we continued deepening and sustaining the impact of our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program in current scaling states and began expansion in Alabama and Georgia.
Building a Brighter Future for Kenya
At age 6, Kenya was placed in foster care due to abuse and neglect. For nine long years, she worried that she would never have a permanent place to call home.
As she grew older, Kenya was told she would likely age out of foster care. Fortunately, Kenya’s journey changed when she was referred to the Foundation’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program and met her recruiter, Chelsey.
As Chelsey got to know Kenya, it was clear she was longing for adoption. Finally feeling sure she had someone in her corner, Kenya gave Chelsey a piece of paper that included the contact information of several family members. Unsure of who to trust it with, Kenya kept it hidden for more than a year.
Chelsey used that information to contact Kenya’s aunt, Lekeitha. “I had no idea she was in foster care,” said Lekeitha. “It was very shocking, and it was heartbreaking to know that that’s where she was, and no one knew.”
With Chelsey’s help, Lekeitha adopted Keyna in 2022.
With her forever family by her side, Kenya is full of confidence, joy and excitement for the future. Thank you for making stories like Kenya’s possible. Download the annual report to read more about our life-changing impact together.
Strategic Priorities & Signature Programs
The Foundation’s strategic priorities and signature programs are grounded in research and created with a racial-equity lens. Read the annual report to learn more about how we are advancing these priorities in partnership with our caring community of supporters, including foster and adoptive parents, adoption professionals, partners and donors.
WENDY'S® SEASON OF GIVING
To date, The Wendy’s Company, Quality Supply Chain Co-Op, Inc., franchise owners and operators, suppliers, employees and customers have raised more than $300 million in support of the Foundation’s mission. During the 2022 Season of Giving, the Wendy’s system went all in to help find forever families for children lingering in foster care, raising a record-breaking more than $18 million for the Foundation through the sale of Boo! Books™ and Frosty® Key Tags in restaurants and on the Wendy’s app. That is an incredible $5 million year-over-year increase from 2021.
In 2022, Wendy’s issued its annual challenge for each operator to sell, on average, 1,000 Boo! Books and 1,000 Frosty Key Tags per restaurant. The Dave’s Legacy of Love Society is a special recognition of the franchise groups that met the challenge and is the Foundation’s highest level of recognition in the Wendy’s system. We are elated to share that a record 45 franchise organizations were included in the class of 2022 — a 181% increase from 2021. Thank you to the entire Wendy’s family for your unwavering commitment to the Foundation’s mission.
AKSAN United Fortune Enterprises
Erik Moosa, David See & Mark Gallegos
All-Star Management, Inc.*
Mike & Tony Allegro
Barbarosa Foods, Ltd.*
John Barney & Julie Bieszczat
BASEC Management, Inc.
Chris & Emily Lane
Chung Development, LLC*
Joon Chung & Marie Mussche
Classic Foods, Inc.**
Todd Ricks & Robert Pincock
CS Restaurants, Inc.*
Dave Thomas Family Companies**
Delight Restaurant Group
Andrew & Rich Krumholz, Mary Mount & Penny Sanchez
Dixon Management Inc.*
Randy & Patricia Dixon
Hart Restaurant Management, Inc.*
Jason & Yvonne Pastore
Legacy Restaurant Group*
Kirk Williams & Felix Tollinche
Manna / Bridgeman Foods*
Ryan & Eden Bridgeman, Scott Thompson
Primary Aim, LLC*
Ben, Tim & Steve Thompson
RDR Foods, Inc.
Ron & Diane Ross
Sean Niklas & Steve Johnson
SGR Restaurants, LLC*
Gary & Brett Rozanczyk
Cyndi Sinkula, Larz Aston & Jessie Aston
T & C Foods, Inc.
Joe & Andy Curran
TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants*
Mark Schostak & Family
The Deters Company*
The Paradigm Group
Harvey & Patricia Bennett
The Wenzak Companies
Theobald Management, Inc.*
Chuck & Sandy Theobald
Toot’n Totum Food Concepts
Greg & Andrew Mitchell
Ver Helst Enterprises
Dave, Anne & Matt Ver Helst
Wendbeck / Wendelk*
WenDover, Inc. / WenVenture, Inc.*
Lewis Topper & Oriole Familia
Wendpark / Wendrip / Wendburn
Ray & Kim Blackburn
Wendy’s – Flynn Group
Rasheeda Clark & Ron Bellamy
Wendy’s of Bloomington*
Bill Parks & Morgan Corley
Wendy’s of Bowling Green**
Mike, Ryan & Shawn O’Malley, John & Joey Hughes
Wendy’s of Owosso*
Kevin Woodside & Phillip Anastos
WTC Ventures, Inc
[ *newly recognized ] [ **recognized every year since 2019 ]
A special thank you to the Foundation’s supporters, who are helping to ensure the brightest possible futures for the youth we serve.
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 part of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, a GuideStar Platinum participant and a CharityWatch Top-Rated Charity. View the statement of financial position on pages 14–15 of the Annual Report.