SRP Recognized as a 2022 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplace
By Alison M Walsh -
Wednesday Oct 26, 2022
Itâ€™s an uncommon employee perk that altered Nick Bratcher and his wife Ashleeâ€™s world and the futures of their three children. Salt River Project (SRP), the nationâ€™s third largest not-for-profit public power utility provides its employees with the Adoption Assistance Program. Nick knows what itâ€™s like to be a child waiting for a family. The 35-year-old control energy management system technician was in the foster system for several of his formative years. He was finally adopted at age 17.
â€œAs a child, I experienced the difficulty of believing that I was alone in life. Thatâ€™s a lot to face.â€ said Bratcher. â€œMy wife and I both wanted to make sure a child would never go through that. Our goal was and is to ensure that they know they are deserving of all the love in the world.â€
Today, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption recognized Nickâ€™s employer, SRP, for its dedication to help its employees adopt and change lives. SRP ranked fourth in the nation among utility and energy companies and is named as an â€œadoption advocateâ€ by the organization.
â€œIt is truly an honor to help change lives and support SRP employees who want to adopt,â€ said SRP Chief Human Resources Executive Geri Mingura. â€œOffering competitive, flexible and robust family-friendly benefits is a meaningful way to help our community and attract and retain excellence in the workplace.â€
Adoption costs in Arizona can range from $20,000 to $50,000, which often becomes the greatest barrier for adoptive parents. Nick had been employed at SRP full time for one year when he first took advantage of the adoption assistance program.
â€œA family created through adoption has the same familial needs â€” 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,â€ said Rita Soronen, president & chief executive officer of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. â€œThank you to all the organizations recognized this year for leading the way in making adoption a supported option for every working parent.â€
Nickâ€™s eldest son, Gunnar, is nine now. Since their first adoption in 2013, the Bratcherâ€™s utilized the benefit a second time in 2019 to adopt Booker, who is three. A year ago, their biological daughter, Magnolia came along.
â€œSRP played a huge role in our adoption journey,â€ Nick added. â€œMy employer provided a regular income, medical benefits, support and money for attorney and agent fees. Without SRP, I donâ€™t believe we would have been able to adopt when we did.â€
Nick said he and his wife â€œtook on debtâ€ and received help from family members to cover adoption costs and the additional help from SRP came at a â€œcriticalâ€ time.
â€œAdopting children is life changing and the single best thing I've ever been a part of,â€ Nick added. â€œI encourage everyone to consider how much they have to give and teach a child. There is no part of my life that is not better because of my kids. I would have never known how much I could love or with what level of commitment I could pursue my goal without them.â€
The Dave Thomas 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. SRPâ€™s Adoption Benefit Program provides a per-child payment of $4,000 for a regular adoption and $6,000 for a special-needs adoption.
To learn more about career opportunities at SRP, visit
For more adoption resources and a full list of winners, visit http://www.davethomasfoundation.org/AFW
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated to finding permanent homes for the more than 140,000 children waiting in North Americaâ€™s foster care systems. Created by Wendyâ€™sÂ® 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 http://www.davethomasfoundation.org