ChildFund International

Rating: 3.65 stars   195 reviews

Issues:

Location: PO Box 26484 2821 Emerywood Parkway Richmond VA 23294 USA

Mission: ChildFund International exists to help deprived, excluded and vulnerable children have the capacity to improve their lives and the opportunity to become young adults, parents and leaders who bring lasting and positive change in their communities. We promote societies whose individuals and institutions participate in valuing, protecting, and advancing the worth and rights of children. One of the world''s oldest and most respected international child development organizations, ChildFund International works in 31 countries and assists approximately 17.8 million children and family members worldwide, regardless of their race, creed or gender.
Results: ChildFund has established youth clubs so children and youth can tell us how they experience poverty. From this knowledge, we build programs that address targeted issues so that programs are impactful and can be sustained by the communities served. We have improved maternal/child health, educated families on achieving a balanced diet and even helped start community gardens. ChildFund not only addresses education, but we work to improve the quality of education so it becomes meaningful. In addition, we conduct studies to determine what education or skills training are viable to the communities where the children live. We are a child development organization with programs that have a deep understanding of localities needs and a long-term goal of enabling children to become contributing adults.
Target demographics: We assist children in 30 countries, including the United States.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Direct beneficiaries include children who are sponsored by individuals or groups in the 31 countries where ChildFund works.
Geographic areas served: 30 countries, including the United States,
Programs: ChildFund works toward the well-being of children by forming partnerships with local governments and non-governmental resources to strengthen our programs. Our initiatives are locally led activities where families and communities work together to overcome poverty and protect the rights of their children. ChildFund programs are comprehensive, addressing needs throughout three life stages -- healthy and secure infants and children, educated and confident children and skilled and involved youth. This distinctive approach focuses on working with children throughout their journey from birth to young adulthood. We offer youth an opportunity to participate in youth groups and join in the decision-making processes of our work. We also address children's transitional needs from one life stage to another, to enable them to get a healthy start in life, have the tools needed to enter primary school, and eventually develop a skill or gain an education to earn a living and contribute to their communities. ChildFund works in 31 countries -- often in environments where poverty, conflict and disaster threatens children's well-being. Our programs confront critical needs of safe motherhood, the quality of education and trained teachers, HIV and AIDS prevention and care, nutritional and health needs. Nutrition includes a multi-pronged approach that leads to the establishment of home gardens and lessons in the importance of varying diets. We combat malaria through education, health care and the provision of mosquito nets. In emergencies, ChildFund provides emergency feeding and supplies as well as conducting long-term recovery programs in areas where we operate programs. In addition, youth learn skills that are vital to their communities -- skills that were identified after conducting studies to determine what needs are viable to each community.
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EIN 54-0536100
804-756-2700
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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

As a former senior executive with ChildFund (several years as CEO in Australia and then five as Regional Director in Asia) I know first-hand the difference the organisation makes in the lives of children in the poorest parts of the world. I regularly visited programmes from Indonesia and Afghanistan to Kenya and Ethiopia and was always inspired by the incredible determination of children, young people and their families to shape their own destiny through the long-term support provided by ChildFund.

I vividly remember meeting a Ugandan woman named Immaculate who was chairing a cattle restocking project - she spoke with such pride and passion about what it meant to her community to have livestock again (their cattle had been stolen by rebels)...they could feed themselves, provide milk for children, pass on calves to other villagers. Even more importantly, this project had given them hope again.

I have 15 years' worth of stories just like Immaculate's...real people with names and children and sisters and brothers who, with a hand up from ChildFund, have grabbed a new future with both hands.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

numerous countries around the world. Interestingly, I joined the organisation from the rather skeptical standpoint of a journalist and certainly asked my share of tough questions at the job interview! At that time, and in the following 15 years, I was impressed by what I saw and heard from staff, families, communities and partners who, together, were always committed to ensuring the wellbeing of children.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

In a consulting capacity I've worked recently with a global team in ChildFund who are helping the wider organisation further strengthen and expand its programmes to reach even more children. Certainly in the four years since I left the organisation, there's evidence of tremendous evolution and a clear strategic direction that a very passionate, articulate and committed group of people around the world are now striving to deliver.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

What is unique about this organization?

It's unwavering commitment over more than seven decades to promoting child development and well-being. In particular, ChildFund strives more than most to put real ownership, control and resources in the hands of those at the heart of the work - children, youth and communities - which creates a fundamental foundation for sustainable change.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have sponsored students through Child Fund for over 25 years, In 2006, I joined one of their Study Tours to Brazil and was able to spend a day with my sponsored boy, who was 13 at the time, and his mother. Previous to our visit, I would get obligatory notes, thanking me for birthday or Christmas presents. Then we got to meet, and I have since received long letters from him. Within each one, he mentions his trip to the ocean to meet me and how much his mother enjoyed it, too. We are now "real people" to each other and it has made such a difference.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have sponsored about 6 or 7 students through Childfund over the past 25+ years and have greatly enjoyed the experience and learned much about the families and the projects through which they work and play.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I truthfully can think of nothing I would change.

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Rating: 5 stars  

My family has been sponsoring children through ChildFund for over 11 years now. My mother, sister, and I support 17 children from all around the world...each one of them capturing a piece of our hearts. Our family sees our money not as our own, but as "God's money", and thus, choosing a charity, and supporting it with enthusiastic hearts means really doing our homework to ensure that the money we invest is being put to good use. It is with confidence that I can report that ChildFund is incredibly careful, respectful, and responsible with the money donated to it's organization. We even had a situation many years ago where one "project" was not accounting appropriately for it's funding, and ChildFund informed us that they regrettably had to terminate help in that area. ChildFund knows the burden and responsibility of being accountable to it's sponsors, and I believe that they are doing the best that they can to meet the needs of the sponsors and the sponsored...not an easy balance. The 20 percent increase that many people are referring to in their write- ups is a big change, but it's one that should have been happening gradually over the past 10 years. It requires time and money to deliver special gifts to our sponsored children. When we sent a recent gift of a $500.00 cow, for example, to Uganda, it requires time and one on one effort from multiple employees to make arrangements for the purchase, delivery, protection, etc. I can't possibly pretend to believe that the old fee of $2.50 would have been sufficient to cover the expenses of this task. I am more than happy to pay for the privilege of having someone help me deliver gifts to our beautiful families all over the world! We love ChildFund! We can't say enough about what wonderful things they do!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Receiving letters from the children and the families we support. We receive pictures of the children and even pictures of the gifts we purchase for them through the money we send above and beyond our monthly sponsorship. ChildFund also communicates with us in a very extensive way.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a way for communication between sponsor and sponsored children to happen faster. Letters take 4 to 8 weeks to arrive.

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Rating: 1 stars  

I was extremely happy with this charity when it was Christian Children's Fund. Since it became Childfund, they have a new policy of taking 20% of each monetary gift I send to my sponsored child and their family. I would drop this charity in a minute if I wasn't so concerned about my sponsored child.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My sponsored child and their families have been very faithful to write me and tell me exactly how my donations have been used and helped them have a better quality of life.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would certainly immediately stop this new policy of taking 20% of all monetary gifts to these poor children and their families. Raise the sponsorship fees or something that doesn't take money from the poor. I have been sending $75 a month for several years to help this large family, and now they only get $60. Taking from the poor is just not right.

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

My husband and I have been sponsors of children in Christian Childrens' Fund (now ChildFund International) for over forty years. During that time we sponsored a boy named Anastacio Papa in the Philippines for at least fifteen years and became quite well acquainted with him. When he was 21 and had a job we moved on to other children. Last month he looked us up through Facebook and with the help of my granddaughter found me after 20 years. It has been a real thrill for me to learn that he went on to college, has a degree in Accountancy, and is a business manager for a company that manufactures sandals. We have renewed our acquaintaince and exchanged photos and he is continually thanking us for our support of him. He calls us his "foster parents". It is so wonderful to know that our small contribution to his welfare has created a fine, successful man. We always had confidence in CCF and this is more proof of the excellent work they do. Ruth Bogia

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

receiving word from my sponsored child that he has become a successful business man.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I think they are doing well as they are now.

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Rating: 2 stars  

My elderly father has been sponsoring children through this organization (first as Christian Children's Fund and now as ChildFund) for several decades. However, now that I am handing my father's finances I have been taking a closer look at the organization's solicitation material and am really bothered by some of it.
For example, we just received a preprinted birthday card that we could sign and return to ChildFund, who would then turn around and deliver it to the child for $9.00. Nine Dollars?!?!? I could send a card for 44 cents because this child is in the US. I understand that some of the money must go to subsidize delivery of cards to children in foreign countries, but $9???? That just is exhorbitant!
We also received a pack of animal stickers that we were assured any child would LOVE. Well, our "child" is 15-year-old boy. I sincerely doubt that he would be thrilled to receive animal stickers. Again, we were asked to send $9 so that ChildFund could deliver these stickers to him. Give me a break! Why doesn't ChildFund look at the demographics of who their gifts are intended for?
The 20% off the top of any gift for administrative expenses also bothers me considerably. All in all, I am not inclined to deal with this organization again after our "child" ages out of the program.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Received several letters from the child thanking us for our donations.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get rid of the ridiculous fees!

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

ChildFund is a leader in programs focused on improving the quality of life for children living in poverty that is focused on the community to ensure sustainability. Anne Goddard and her team have a passion for what they do and could all be earning a lot more if they worked in the private sector. ChildFund has a global presence and reach that makes them incredibly relevant . They are not a perfect organization but I have yet to find one that is. They are making a difference and impacting the lives of the most vulnerable.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Richmond and Africa

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase their funding

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

I have had the opportunity to meet a number of ChildFund leaders from the headquarters staff and various countries and have been impressed with their skills, professionalism, integrity, commitment to the mission, and focus on having a sustainable impact through their work. I have had the privilege to work with leaders of many respected corporations and non-profit organizations and would compare the caliber of their counterparts at ChildFund very favorably.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My global private sector work with developing countries where ChildFund operates.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue to strengthen the ongoing interface between the various regions to enhance organizational learning.

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Rating: 2 stars  

I am devastated tonight as I have had to cancel my sponsorship after following my sponsored child for the last 7 years. I have spoken with Child Fund regarding their gift giving policy of several occasions. I sent various e-mails and made a number of phone calls related to this issue. I tried to explain that when I sent a gift for my child that the gift was for my child, not administrative processes, I was even willing to add a handling fee. I had been paying Childfund $34 each month, $10 more than other sponsors. Several times during my sponsorship I was asked to increase my donation and was more than willing to comply.

During my last conversation today, I asked to speak with a supervisor. I explained that I given more than $300 to the charity annually. I send $25 for my child's birthday and another $25 for Christmas. 20% of $50 is $10, They chose to let me walk away rather than ensure my continued loyalty for $10. The woman on the phone even offered to reduce my monthly donation from $34 back to $24, I told her that I wanted to continue paying $34 each month, and what I wanted was her assurance that any gift that I sent to my child would be given to my child in entirety. She assured me that she was unable to do that and that she could not transfer me to someone who could.

My heart is broken as a small girl in Honduras will be learning that she no longer has a sponsor. I feel like Childfund is using their resources poorly and is using their children to guilt sponsors into staying the course. I pray that Childfund takes a careful look at there policies before children loose their sponsors as well.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Sponsored a child for 7 years.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Listen to your sponsors. Remove the gift handling fee.

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

In the 3+ years I have served on the ChildFund board, I continue to be amazed by the level of care, integrity, and professionalism with which this organization is governed -- both by the staff and the board. It truly is a shining example -- in both the non-profit world, as well as among the Fortune 500 organizations I have had the privilege of working with -- of how to organize effectively to achieve stated goals on time and on budget. ChildFund is singleminded in its mission (to assist deprived, excluded, and vulnerable children and those that care for them) -- and pursues that mission efficiently and effectively. I have met mothers suffering from AIDs in Ethiopia who had gainful employment and could support their children, thanks to ChildFund. And ChildFund helped to provide children and youth in rural Ecuador with a local health clinic, pharmacy, and doctor, when formerly they would have had to travel 2 hours by bus to receive care.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Visited programs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and in two communities north of Quito, Ecuador

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Ensure that as many people as possible know about the great outcomes that ChildFund produces -- but at the same time communicate the incredible need that remains for more support, sponsors and funding of all kinds.

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