Rita L. Sorenen
For nearly 30 years, Rita Soronen has worked on behalf of abused, neglected and vulnerable children, providing leadership for local, state and national efforts working to improve the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, while striving to assure safe and permanent homes for North America’s children.
Leading the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption since 2001, a national nonprofit public charity, Ms. Soronen works to find adoptive families for each of the more than 134,000 waiting children in the United States and Canada’s foster care systems. Under Ms. Soronen’s leadership, the Foundation has significantly
increased its grant-making and awareness commitments, while developing strategic signature initiatives that act on the urgency of the issue. In 2011, the Foundation dedicated more than $12.6 million to grants and award-winning national awareness activities, including Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, Adoption-Friendly Workplace and the 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list, National Adoption Day, poster and PSA campaigns, and Finding Forever Families: A Step-by-Step Guide to Adoption.
Immediately prior to joining the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Ms. Soronen served as the Executive Director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Franklin County, a partner in the national network of more than 900 CASA programs. During that time, she also served as the President of the Board of Trustees of the Ohio CASA/GAL Association and led the passage of specialty license plate legislation benefiting CASA programs throughout Ohio, as well as the design and implementation of model program standards assuring consistent application of effective advocacy for children involved in court
proceedings at the local and state levels.
Ms. Soronen currently serves on the board of the Ohio CASA/GAL Association, the Public Education Committee of the National CASA Association, is a past vice president of the board of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and a current member of the advisory board, and is a fellow of the Jefferson Fellowship for Executive Leadership. Ms. Soronen is recently nominated as a 2013 Sunny 95 20 Outstanding Women, is a recipient of the Angels in Adoption Award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, the National CASA Association Kappa Alpha Theta Program Director of the Year Award and the
Ohio CASA/GAL Association Statewide Leadership Award. She is a requested national speaker on the topic of children and the child welfare system.
A graduate of the University of Louisville with graduate work completed at The Ohio State University, Ms. Soronen resides in Columbus, Ohio, and has two wonderful daughters.