The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada has one mission:
Dramatically increase the number of adoptions of children waiting in North America’s foster care systems.
Every child will have a permanent home and loving family.
Our story began in 1990 when Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, accepted President George H.W. Bush’s invitation to be the spokesperson for a national adoption awareness campaign. However, Dave knew he could do more. In 1992, he established the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption as a national nonprofit public charity with one primary goal: to help every child in foster care find a loving, permanent family.
Over the years, Dave’s modest charisma and simple sincerity helped spread the word about adoption. In 1997, he testified before Congress to support an adoption tax credit that aimed to make adoption more affordable. He also appeared in television public service announcements, expanded his reach to Canada and led the initiative to create an adoption stamp, which was issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 2000.
On January 8, 2002, Dave passed away and the world lost one of its greatest advocates for children. Dave Thomas was respected for being a talented businessman and a caring philanthropist; his unceasing desire to improve the lives of North America’s most vulnerable children was arguably his greatest contribution to society. Learn more about Dave’s legacy and his lasting impact.
Today, the Foundation continues to carry out his mission. We commission landmark surveys to research the public’s attitudes and perceptions about adoption. We co-founded National Adoption Day, an annual event when judges across the country make it a priority to finalize pending foster care adoptions. We encourage employers to offer adoption and foster care benefits.
In 2003, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada was formally incorporated. In 2004, we launched our largest ongoing service program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, a partnership with Wendy’s restaurants, their customers and other donors. This program gives funds to public and private adoption agencies to hire adoption professionals who implement the Foundation’s proactive, Child-Focused Recruitment Model targeted exclusively on moving America’s longest-waiting children from foster care into adoptive families. Wendy’s Wonderful Kids was piloted in seven cities. By 2006, this signature program had expanded to every state in the U.S., the District of Columbia and two Canadian provinces. Today, we fund 30 child-focused adoption recruiters in eight Canadian provinces.
Our work continues as we strive to make the world a better place through foster care adoption. For more than 25 years, Dave’s inspiring call to action keeps us moving forward every day for children in foster care. They deserve nothing less than our best effort.
Our core beliefs
Every child deserves a safe, loving and permanent family.
No child should linger in foster care or leave the system without a permanent family of his or her own.
Every child is adoptable.
Our signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids®, gives funds and provides training to adoption agencies. These agencies hire adoption professionals who implement the Foundation’s proactive Child-Focused Recruitment Model targeted exclusively on moving Canada’s longest-waiting children from foster care into adoptive families.