Baylor University Recognized Among Top 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces by Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

October 6, 2022
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Baylor also recognized No. 2 nationally in education industry and for its overall adoption benefits, including paid parental leave, adoption assistance and foster care benefits

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (Oct. 6, 2022) – Baylor University was recognized today on the Dave Thomas Foundation’s 2022 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces™ list, which recognizes the top 100 national organizations with the most robust adoption benefit programs.

Among the breakout categories, Baylor was ranked No. 2 nationally among U.S. education institutions, behind only Yale and ahead of New York University, Emory University and Northwestern College, that offer the best overall adoption benefits, including paid parental leave and financial assistance for adoption-related expenses. Baylor also is featured on the foster care benefits list for offering paid parental leave to foster parents.

In 2017, Baylor implemented expansive new policies that provide paid parental leave for staff and an adoption assistance program that helps defray expenses associated with the adoption process and affirms the choice by staff and faculty to grow their families through adoption.

“Baylor made the right decision in 2017 to invest in a robust parental leave policy and adoption assistance program, and in 2022, actively enriched this benefit to better the lives of our employees by showing we love and care for them and their families,” said Cheryl Gochis, vice president of human resources and chief human resource officer at Baylor. “We hope these programs give Baylor faculty and staff the opportunity to grow their family.”

Baylor’s parental leave policy provides up to six weeks of paid leave for full-time staff who become parents through birth, adoption or foster care. The policy, which is available to staff immediately upon employment, gives parents time and flexibility to bond with their new child/children.

The adoption assistance program reimburses full-time Baylor faculty and staff up to $10,000 of qualifying adoption-related expenses per adoption, up to two children per calendar year. Faculty and staff are eligible to participate in the program following one year of full-time employment with the University.

“We are honored that the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has recognized Baylor University among the 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces and one of the nation’s top universities for our robust adoption benefits,” said President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “Baylor’s parental leave and adoption assistance benefits, including for foster care, align with the University’s Christian mission and reflect our deep commitment to supporting and strengthening families. We have made it a priority to provide a supportive work environment that enriches the lives of our staff and faculty and fosters the work-life balance vital to families’ capacity to flourish.”

More than 25 years ago, Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s® and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, led an initiative advocating for better adoption benefits in the workplace. The Foundation has carried that legacy forward through its signature Adoption-Friendly Workplace program and 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list, which is in its 16th year.

The Foundation partnered with RTI International, an independent, nonprofit research institute, to survey employers across the United States and score participants based on three criteria: financial reimbursement, paid leave and the percentage of employees eligible for those benefits.

The 2022 list includes a diverse group of organizations representing 22 industries. On average, employers that completed the survey offer $12,000 in financial reimbursement, which is up 9.5% from 2021. The average amount of paid leave is 8.3 weeks, which is up 8% since 2021.

“A commitment to providing competitive, flexible and robust family-friendly benefits is a meaningful way to both attract and retain excellence in the workplace,” said Rita Soronen, President and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “A family created through adoption has the same familial needs — time for bonding, new financial considerations and a frequent change in routine to provide a loving, safe and nurturing environment in which that child can grow and thrive to their full potential.

The Wendy’s Company is designated with Forever Family emeritus status after holding the top spot on the 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list for many years. The company continues its commitment to adoption by providing strong adoption benefits to employees.

“Wendy’s believes every child in foster care deserves a forever family and that’s why we remain steadfast in our support of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption,” said Todd Penegor, President and CEO of The Wendy’s Company and member of the Foundation’s board of trustees. “We know it is critical to both acknowledge the importance of adoption itself and to recognize the impact of those who are making adoption easier for all. Like any life event, it requires time and resources to complete an adoption, so when employers offer employee adoption benefits, it sends a strong, supportive message while easing a piece of the overall process.”

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption does not participate in the survey but offers its employees substantial adoption and foster care benefits.

View the complete 2022 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list and other adoption resources for employers at


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated exclusively to finding permanent homes for the more than 150,000 children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. Created by Wendy’s® founder Dave Thomas who was adopted, the Foundation implements evidence-based, results-driven national service programs, foster care adoption awareness campaigns and innovative grantmaking. To learn more, visit