Bruce McKenna is a member of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®-Canada’s board of trustees. He reflects on his service and the Foundation’s impact on children in foster care.
I have been an advocate for foster care adoption for more than 20 years. In the 1990s, I had the pleasure of serving on a committee using funds raised by Wendy’s® restaurants in Canada to support foster care adoption awareness and assist organizations working to find forever families for children waiting in Canada’s foster care system.
Over time, there was a desire to do more in Canada. In 2004, we established the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®-Canada, and I was chosen to serve on the original board of trustees. The Foundation soon launched the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program, after a successful pilot in seven grant-funded sites in the United States. The first Wendy’s Wonderful Kids grant in Canada was issued in Ontario in 2006.
In 2011, a rigorous five-year evaluation of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids in the United States was released, showing that children served by the program are up to three times more likely to be adopted. There is also research showing a significant savings for governments when children are moved out of the child welfare system and into permanent homes. Inspired, I joined others on the board of trustees in engaging the Ontario government to support an expansion of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids.
In 2015, the Foundation and the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services officially launched a commitment to scale Wendy’s Wonderful Kids in Ontario in coordination with the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada. That partnership has resulted in finding forever families for many more children waiting in foster care across the province.
When my daughter was a teacher for children with special needs at Bloorview MacMillan School in Toronto, she experienced firsthand the impact of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids. A child in her class was adopted by another teacher at the school with help from the Foundation and the child’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter. It was rewarding to be able to hear about the program’s effectiveness.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada has had such a positive impact on so many children in Canada. That is why I’m so proud to serve on the board of trustees and why I have made the Foundation the focus of my charitable giving. Join me in helping to find adoptive homes for the more than 30,000 children still waiting to be adopted from foster care in Canada. Donate today