Simple Employee Benefit Changes Lives: SRP Recognized as One of the 2022 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces
It’s an uncommon employee perk that altered Nick Bratcher and his wife Ashlee’s world and the futures of their three children. Salt River Project, the nation’s third largest, not-for-profit public power utility provides its employees with the Adoption Assistance Program. Nick knows what it’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.
“As a child, I experienced the difficulty of believing that I was alone in life. That’s a lot to face” said Bratcher. “My 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.”
Today, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption recognized, Nick’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 “adoption advocate” by the organization.
“It is truly an honor to help change lives and support SRP employees who want to adopt,” said SRP Chief Human Resources Executive Geri Mingura. “Offering competitive, flexible and robust family-friendly benefits is a meaningful way to help our community and attract and retain excellence in the workplace.”
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.
“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,” said Rita Soronen, president & chief executive officer of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “Thank you to all the organizations recognized this year for leading the way in making adoption a supported option for every working parent.”
Nick’s eldest son, Gunnar, is nine now. Since their first adoption in 2013, the Bratcher’s utilized the benefit a second time in 2019 to adopt Booker, who is three. A year ago, their biological daughter, Magnolia came along.
“SRP played a huge role in our adoption journey,” Nick added. “My employer provided a regular income, medical benefits, support and money for attorney and agent fees. Without SRP, I don’t believe we would have been able to adopt when we did.”
Nick said he and his wife “took on debt” and received help from family members to cover adoption costs and the additional help from SRP came at a “critical” time.
“Adopting children is life changing and the single best thing I've ever been a part of,” Nick added. “I 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.”
- 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.
- SRP’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 srpnet.com/careers.
- For more adoption resources and a full list of winners, visit 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 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 davethomasfoundation.org.
The Bratcher family resides in Phoenix. They or other SRP families in your coverage territory are available for interviews upon request.
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest electricity provider in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving approximately 1.1 million customers. SRP provides water to about half of the Valley’s residents, delivering more than 244 billion gallons of water (750,000 acre-feet) each year, and manages a 13,000-square-mile watershed that includes an extensive system of reservoirs, wells, canals and irrigation laterals.