The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption today announced the third annual Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces in the food, beverage, and restaurants industry. Wendy’s International Inc. in Dublin, Ohio topped the list, followed by Barilla America Inc. (Bannockburn, Illinois); The Hershey Company (Hershey, Pennsylvania); First Sun Management Corporation (Clemson, South Carolina); and WendPartners. (Cortland, New York).

“This is one of the highest honors our company can receive,” says David Karam, president of Wendy’s. “Dave Thomas was passionate for the cause of adoption, and he personally contacted hundreds of companies asking them to extend adoption benefits to employees. We’re extremely proud to follow his lead and help our employees realize the joys of adoption.”

Brenda Overturf has worked for Wendy’s for 25 years. She and her husband adopted two siblings from foster care, Jimmy and Gina, then 9- and 10-years-old. “Wendy’s adoption benefits are very important to us,” she says. “Adopting from foster care was actually very affordable, but the need for time off was crucial.

“Wendy’s adoption leave allowed me to have the time off to bond with my children, to help them adjust to their new environment, and to prepare for their new school. There are so many children out there who need a loving home, especially older children and sibling groups. Because people might be afraid of the expense and time involved in adoption, employers can change the life of a child by simply offering adoption benefits.”

In addition to ranking No. 1 in its industry, Wendy’s ranked No. 1 on the top 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list. The company provides its 38,500 employees with up to $24,300 per adoption and six weeks paid leave.

“We continue to see increases in the number of companies establishing and enhancing adoption benefit policies,” says Rita Soronen, executive director of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “Even with today’s tough economy, we found that companies are dedicated more than ever to providing competitive benefits packages to help their employees when they adopt. It is one benefit that employers can add without negatively impacting the bottom line.”

Today, more than 150,000 foster care children are available for adoption in North America, 129,000 of them in the United States. Most will spend nearly four years in the system before they are adopted. The release of the third annual 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list helps the Foundation increase foster care adoption awareness while celebrating those businesses that support adoptive families.

Rankings for the 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list are determined by an analysis of a company’s adoption benefits–financial reimbursement and paid leave–available to employees who adopt. The Foundation compiled the results from survey data collected from 753 U.S. employers. Employee Benefit News, a SourceMedia publication that is the leading source of information for benefits decision makers, helped extend the survey’s scope even further by inviting readers to participate. This year more than 90 organizations established or enhanced adoption benefits.

In addition to ranking the top 100, the Foundation also recognized the top 10 by size, the leaders of each industry, and companies who support the cause of adoption and adoptive families in other ways. To view the complete list, please visit

Members of the food, beverage, and restaurants industry who were ranked include:

1. Wendy’s International Inc., Dublin, Ohio; Employees: 38,500;
Financial Assistance for Adoption: $24,300;
Weeks Paid Leave for Adoption: 6

2. Barilla America Inc., Bannockburn, Illinois;
Employees: 394;
Financial Assistance for Adoption: $12,000;
Weeks Paid Leave for Adoption: 1

3. The Hershey Company, Hershey, Pennsylvania;
Employees: 14,000;
Financial Assistance for Adoption: $7,500;
Weeks Paid Leave for Adoption: 12;

4. First Sun Management Corporation, Clemson, South Carolina;
Employees: 1,500;
Financial Assistance for Adoption: $7,000;
Weeks Paid Leave for Adoption: 3

5. WendPartners, Cortland, New York;
Employees: 10,500;
Financial Assistance for Adoption: $6,000;
Weeks Paid Leave for Adoption: 6

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