The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA) was founded in 1992 as a public charity organization. Its founder, Dave Thomas (who is also the founder of the Wendy's fast food chain), had been appointed as spokesperson for a national adoption awareness campaign by George H. W. Bush two years earlier, in 1990.

Unlike many other adoption grant programs, the DTFA specializes in grants that support adoption agencies directly, rather than working with individuals hoping to adopt. They specifically target their assistance toward agencies that deal in providing adoptive families for foster children who are close to ageing out of the foster program. Their grant programs center on two main parts: Wendy's Wonderful Kids and general adoption grants.

The DTFA also supports various campaigns nationwide that offer unique fundraising opportunities for children in foster care.

Wendy's Wonderful Kids

The Wendy's Wonderful Kids program was launched in 2004, two years after Thomas's death. The program initiates fundraisers in partnership with Wendy's fast food restaurants across the country. Within two years, the program had passed its initial pilot stage and was operating nationwide in the U.S. as well as in two provinces of Canada.

Wendy's Wonderful Kids is meant to provide grants to public and private adoption agencies, allowing them to hire greater numbers of staff and thereby serve larger numbers of potential adoptive parents. Their purpose is to give these agencies the resources to innovate their service in such a way that they will be able to provide adoptive families for foster children that are on the verge of leaving the foster system without a permanent home.

DTFA General Adoption Grants

The DTFA's general adoption grants are similar in purpose to the Wendy's Wonderful Kids initiative, with the key difference being that while Wendy's Wonderful Kids supports adoption agencies in their foster care-related adoptions, DTFA general grants are meant to promote innovative programs that either influence foster adoption nationwide or have some kind of nationwide plan for application.

As such, DTFA general grants are not meant for individuals seeking financial assistance in one adoption circumstance, but for non-profit organizations that work to modify or improve the foster adoption system nationally.

Other DTFA/Wendy's Initiatives

Other fundraising programs or projects brought about by the DTFA include:

  • A national adoption stamp
  • A national coin canister campaign
  • Support for the federal adoption tax credit brought into law in 1997
  • Support for National Adoption Day, which promotes approval for foster adoptions by judges nationally

Contact Information


Dave Thomas Foundation

716 Mt. Airyshire Blvd.

Suite 100

Columbus, OH 43235

Phone: 1.800.275.3832


Online form:


(Updated: Jan. 2017)