If you have eaten at a Wendy’s fast food chain recently, you may have seen their cups and bags adorned with stories of adopted foster children. These stories come straight from Wendy’s partnership with one of the most—if not the most—reputable, reliable, transparent non-profits oriented around childhood adoption: the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
Like WHYSgiving, Wendy’s has integrated a core, charity-driven mission into their for-profit business. And like the organizational efficiency of the fast food franchise, this non-profit is able to make significant strides towards its goals in a highly effective manner.
How to Help During National Adoption Awareness Month
November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month. There are approximately 1.5 million adopted children and 7 million adopted people in the United States. Because of this, nearly one third of Americans or about 100 million Americans have adoption in their immediate family. So a large percentage of us have some sort of awareness of what adoption is all about. However, the statistics surrounding adoption are rather shocking and important in understanding the scope and severity of the need for adoptive parents.
There are currently about 428,000 children in the foster care system in the United States. Almost one third of them or 135,000 children are adopted each year. Among the children within the foster system, there are more males than females. Additionally, African American children are disproportionately represented. Over half of these children are 6 years or older.
More than 60% of children within foster care will spend 2-5 years in it before becoming adopted. Some children will never be adopted at all. The average age of a child waiting for an adoptive family is 8 years old. The average child will wait approximately 3 years to become adopted.
During National Adoption Awareness Month, if you want to contribute towards this noteworthy cause, we recommend that you check out the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption along with us. We will look at the history behind this foundation and what they are doing to help make the idea that “some children are unadoptable” completely unacceptable.
The History of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Dave Thomas was not only the founder of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption but he was also the founder of the Wendy’s fast food chain. He was born in 1932 to a woman he never knew who gave him up for adoption from birth. At six weeks old, he was adopted by Rex and Auleva Thomas.
In 1990, after much success with the Wendy’s franchise and at the request of President George H. W. Bush, Dave Thomas began speaking out about the importance of adoption. He would go on to make critical progress towards improving awareness about adoption.
According to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption website, the founder “spearheaded a national public service campaign and encouraged other business leaders to offer adoption benefits as part of their employee benefit plans”. He also, “testified before Congress in support of adoption tax credits and adoption legislation, 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”.
In 1992, he founded the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption as a national non-profit public charity with the goal of finding a loving, permanent family for each and every foster child.
How the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is Making a Difference
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is not an adoption agency. Instead, this non-profit operates as a fundraiser of adoption organizations and adoption education services. This organization also aims to increase awareness across the nation about children waiting to be adopted and the process of adopting children. It also provides thorough, easily understandable, free resources and information for prospective adoptive parents.
The foundation has three core beliefs. The first is that “every child deserves a safe, loving and permanent family.” The second belief is that “No child should linger in foster care or leave the system at age 18 without a permanent family of his or her own.” Lastly, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption believes that “Every child is adoptable.”
Charity Navigator, a reputable organization the rates the performance of charities and non-profits, rates the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption at 5 stars with a 95.47 out of 100 score. The foundation only spends 3.3% of its capital on administration expenses and it spends 90.8% towards reaching its goal.
In 2004, the foundation started their largest ongoing service program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids. This program is the arm of the foundation that gives adoption professionals grants in order to assist America’s longest-waiting children from foster care into adoptive families. This program is with partnership with the Wendy’s fast-food franchise and is sponsored by the restaurants, the customers, and private donors, which makes it a stable and sustainable program.
This program chooses recruiters strategically. Today, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids funds more than 270 adoption recruiters across North America. These recruiters work with children who have often been forgotten or left behind in the system. They utilize a child first approach by focusing on the children and then finding a family that will specifically suit their needs.
The children that find themselves in the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program have often had a very tough childhood. 86% of these children are older than the age of 8, 35% of them have had six or more placements and 53% have been in foster care for more than four years. Some have actually never been on track to adoption and instead been tracked to age out of foster care at 18 or 21.
The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids has served 16,500 children since its inception. And children within the program are up to 3 times more likely to get adopted.
How You Can Help
There are several ways you can donate to this organization. Of course you can simply donate money. You can also donate through the many fundraising events and programs that happen at Wendy’s fast food restaurants such as ___. This organization has also created a way to raise and donate money by playing kickball!
Additionally, if you are interested in becoming an adoptive parent, the foundation provides a free, thorough Guide to Adoption that can be accessed from their website.
However you choose to help, spread the word about Adoption Awareness Month! And let people know about the many beautiful young children who need loving, supportive families.