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.
With deep gratitude and all good wishes,
Rita L. Soronen
President & CEO
This letter was featured in the
Foundation’s 2023 annual report
(July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023).