ChildFund International

Rating: 3.65 stars   195 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Human Services, International

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.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 54-0536100
804-756-2700
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

I'm Ailyn from the Philippines, I was one of the kids who had a great chance to be part of ChildFund Philippines. When I was in Grade 2, my life totally changed when my mom brought me to an office near the church. I wondered what it was for and I could remember a nun asked me what do I want to become in the future and I just confidently answered I wanted to become a teacher. At that time, I didn't know how important it was, but as days went by I realized how it made a difference to us. I was given free fabric for school, which I share to my other sisters so that they have can uniforms too, they gave me school supplies which I saw my mom had a hard time before because she can't buy enough notebooks for all of us, so we share the notebooks I got, had all the springs removed and we tied it by yarn, so we could have enough notebooks for all the subjects that we had. Reconciliation Center which is affiliated with ChildFund started to give my parents seminars too about Child's Rights, usually my parents disciplined me physically but when they attended the seminar, how they discipline me totally changed. They started to be opened and they started to ask my opinion on things. I've got a chance to attend seminars too which hone me to become a better a person and good leader to the other kids.

There were so many things I've received from ChildFund; tangible and intangible things, What I'm so grateful of was when the time they told me I got a sponsor from the US. I started writing letters for my Uncle Bob, and also I started imagining how they look like, for almost 16 years I've written letters and never got a respond. I didn't know if he has family, married or he has children, but every time I see foreigners in our city. I've always wanted to ask if they know someone Mr. Robert Dames, I have considered them as my second parents and everytime I go to church I always pray for him and for his family even if at that time I really have no idea who he was. In occasion, bday or Christmas, he would send me 25$-50$ and with that money, I give it to my parents and my parents would buy something for all of us to share and we would be so happy, he was like a Santa Claus in our family. I have never received gifts from my parents, which I really understand why. They just can't afford to buy extra things for us, we hardly have our needs given so we never expected them to do so but as children having someone who gives us a feeling that we are children who also craves for gifts. I also started dreaming of talking to him, so I strive to learn English so in the future if I get the chance to see him I could utter all the words of thanks I would want to say and I could express how grateful I am and my family to have him. He fulfilled the role of second father and he gave me amazing experiences, because of him I was able to finish school and I have fulfilled my dream to become a teacher. When I got my job, I decided to look for him so I started to find him on whitepages, but I had a hard time coz there were a lot of the same names, I wrote one of them a letter, and I can feel that it was him, Finally after a month, I got an email saying that I was right and finally received his picture for the first time and respond. I have also seen the picture of his family which teared me the most, because my curiosity was answered and the waiting time of knowing him even online came. I feel like I became a complete person knowing the person who cared for me for a long time. If it was not for him, I wouldn't become a person that I am today. I wouldn't be strong and hard working as I am so I'm really thankful that he touched our lives and I'm really thankful for Childfund for giving me the chance to be better person, finish school and have all the experiences I have with other children from Childfund which made more complete and accepted in the society.

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

never asked them to change, because I have known some children from this program and they have also helped their families and these children became the best in their fields. My friends from Childfund finished university too and they all have great jobs now which totally elevated their situation and help their family as a whole

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Quite well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

ChildFund International will always be forever part of my life. I owe my education and holistic development. My life has been touched in so many ways. I used to be a child who dreamed of a lot of things but didn't really expect that my dreams would be realized and now I'm someone that my family who can depend on. Thanks to ChildFund for making it possible. I'm currently working as Virtual Assistant for three companies in the US. Seriously, my life has been different if I didn't have ChildFund.

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

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in Philippines particularly in Mindanao

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

I would personally contribute as volunteer for their activities but I wouldn't change the programs they are all for every child's development and growth.

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

For 75 years asking others to support. The best you can do for the children and parents is to educate them about not having children they cannot feed. If they need to have sex to give them birth control and condoms. Give the already parents seeds to grow their own food. Explain to children before having sex and producing a child they cannot feed to take birth control and wear condoms. If after 75 years of repeating what does not work and expect others to provide for them is unbelievable. Educate, till you have given them control over their own lives.

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I have been sponsoring ChildFund (was Christian Children's Fund) since 1989 and was very happy with the organization until a few years ago when I started receiving marketing materials from the organization. Fundraising by sending all donors materials printed on expensive paper does not help the children, nor do overpriced gifts offered through ChildFund for children make any sense to me. Also, all this printed material really harms our environment! Last week, I received a call from the organization asking me to increase my sponsorship dollars, and when I said I wasn't able to at this time, the person hung up. I do have to say that throughout the 24 years as a sponsor, I have been very happy corresponding with all the children, however I am waiting for my present sponsored children (both 11 year olds) to reach 18 before I switch to another organization.

I do want to thank the older organization for giving me the opportunity to make a difference to some very wonderful children.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 

Thank you for your 24 years of generous assistance to children in ChildFund’s care. You have our heartfelt gratitude for your support as a sponsor. We sincerely apologize for the recent unsatisfactory experience you described with the representative contacting you on our behalf. Please know that we take this complaint seriously and we are addressing it with the appropriate parties. It would be helpful to have additional information from you, and we would greatly appreciate your time to send an email to Questions@ChildFund.org with your full name and sponsor ID number so that we can follow up effectively. We also appreciate your feedback regarding the mailings you have been receiving. We are also reviewing our materials to determine steps we can take to reduce environmental impact. Please know that when you contact our Sponsor Care team, you can also request an adjustment in the number of mailings you receive. The needs of children worldwide are increasing daily, so we are continually challenged to make every effort to obtain support for the children in our care. ChildFund places a high emphasis on stewardship and accountability. Last year, we devoted 82% of revenues to program services for children; 11 percent was used for fundraising so that we can reach more supporters and 7% went to management and general operations. Thank you again for your time to share your perspectives. We appreciate the feedback and pledge to work harder to restore your trust.

Rating: 1 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

I wish I had read these reviews before I decided to sign up with Childfund International. However before the 7 to 10 day period of processing came to an end, I decided to cancel. I didn't get a good feeling after receiving a call from the volunteer that had signed me up. He called my number pretending to have mistakenly called my number. When I did call to cancel and was told that the enrollment was cancelled, I received a distorted call from an unrecognizeable number from one of the members. A few days later, I received a call from a number that looked like a foreign number. I looked into my account today and saw a pending transaction for the monthly fee of $28.00. My request for cancellation was never honored. Infact, policy or procedure for cancellation is not prominently exhibited and agent never sent an email with confirmation of cancellation. The whole business has been shady. Honestly, this was the first time I saw a charity send out agents to recruit donors and then have donors experience so much hardship to cancel or sever ties with it. Their methods have turned me off. I was skeptical to begin with of charitable orgs that have become known for pocketing money and not using it for the stated purposes.

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Unlikely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I am one of the few people who actually visited my sponsored family in Kenya. Irewasre was a teen by then but it was clear she was the girl I chose several years before. Her mother Susan hugged me and cried when we met. I learned that because of the draught that year the extra money I was allowed to gift that year was all the family had to live on.
Their village was in the Great Rift Valley only 40 miles from Uganda. The whole village welcomed me with dancing, song and food. I planted a tree to commemorate the visit. A planning session for the regional villages was going on at the same time. Half the monthly dues go to community projects like irrigations ditchesor outhouses so everyone in the region benefits.
Upon questioning my chaperones I. Found that there were children in the program who did not survive the political riots the year before. I suspect the loss of a child is one reason for the reviews from people who do not get the child they want. As long as my money is going to cfi I'm more than happy.

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

Make it easier to give more.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

24 people found this review helpful

I began donating in 2010 when I lived in Maryland. I started out with three kids and gave faithfully every month. I contacted them, sent them stickers, letters and greetings. After having my child I had to scale back to sponsoring one child because I became the primary caretaker of our child. Over the last year I've become burdened by the constant letters about more donations. Every two weeks for the past couple of months I receive a letter telling me there's an emergency and they need me to donate to "save" my child. Next I receive emails telling me that my child needs a gift! And on top of that ChildFund then sends me some kind of printed gift to send to my child. They tell me it will cost $9 for "shipping and delivering", but I didn't believe that. I decide to go to the post office instead. I paid $2 to send the gift and got a letter from my child saying he received the letter and gift. Where does that other $7 go when someone chooses to send a gift through ChildFund? If something as simple as sending a letter is overpriced, what about the other donations people make?

I was preparing to send something else to my child today, then I get accosted with yet ANOTHER set of letters and emails telling me that I need to increase my donation, because my child already has so little. I don't need to look up what ChildFund is doing with their money. I already know they are spending WAY too much on fundraising. If you want to join ChildFund, get ready to constantly be hassled about not giving "enough" when you can give "more". I have an elderly family member that is struggling to pay the rent, I think it's time that I stop giving to Childfund, where they are unsatisfied with my $30/month, and give to someone that is grateful for whatever I can afford to give.

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

1. Stop making donors feel their contribution is "not enough". 2. Stop lying to donors and making them think that sending small, flat mail will cost $9 or more, when in fact USPS can send these letters for $2-$3. 3. Stop sending so much "emergency" mail to donors, ASK them if they want to receive letters when increased donations are needed, for floods, etc. Some people cannot AFFORD to give more! 4. Use your fundraising money to actually help the programs you sponsor.

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 

We appreciate your feedback. We have honored your request to stop receiving mailings. We understand that, like you, many of our sponsors and donors often make personal sacrifices to help a child in need, and we sincerely appreciate those efforts. The $9 contribution for the card covers the postal mailing costs and also includes the expenses of delivering to the child in-country and acknowledgement back to the sponsor. ChildFund places a high emphasis on stewardship and accountability. Last year, we devoted 82% of revenues to program services for children; 11 percent was used for fundraising so that we can reach more supporters and 7% went to management and general operations. For more information, please visit our website http://www.childfund.org/accountability and contact our Sponsor Care team at 800-776-6767.

Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I started sponsoring Merlyn from Guatemala when she was a toddler. In fact, the letters I received in the early years were written by her Mother on Merly's behalf. As she grew, the sweet letters and drawings came directly from her. This life changing experience has been so rewarding for me. When I receive a letter, drawing or picture, I feel proud that I am helping in very small way to help her grow each and every day. Every year, I send her extra money for Christmas and Birthday's so that she can buy what she wants or needs. ChildFund takes a picture of her with the items that she has purchased with her "extra" money. I can't tell you how many times I have cried looking at these pictures. There she sits with a big smile and on her lap sits a small stack of undergarments or a pair of shoes and socks. The part of the picture that makes me cry is the large box of Corn Flakes that sits next to her! It breaks my heart to think that she chose cereal over a toy! My beautiful sponsor daughter is now in high school and will celebrate her 16th birthday next month!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 2 stars  

15 people found this review helpful

Hello. I have been sponsoring a little girl in Honduras for six years now. At first I was extremely happy with the program she was in. I got regular updates on her schooling, vaccinations, conditions in her village, and pictures of her at school. I also sent her gifts for birthday and Christmas and would receive pictures of her with the gifts I sent. Lately I have become very suspicious that this little girl even exists. I was told about a year ago that she changed programs but I should not worry- that I still would be her sponser, etc. My first red flag was after I sent some birthday gifts was a letter from my sponsored child indicating a picture with her gifts was enclosed. Well, there was no picture- perhaps an oversight? I don't believe so because I recently received a picture of some older lady (I have never seen before) holding the Christmas gifts I last sent saying my sponsored child loved them?! Something stinks here. I have called Childfund and explained I am not happy. Guess what? There's been no return phone call. I will be looking into other higher rated charities. I think I am being scammed and don't appreciate it being done in the name of supporting an innocent child. Shame on you ChildFund!! No wonder you removed Christian from your name- you didn't want to be struck by lightning.

Was your donation impactful?

Unsure

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Unlikely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 

We are disappointed to hear about the dissatisfaction you are experiencing and that you have not received a return phone call addressing your concerns. Please be assured that we will work closely with our office in Honduras to investigate the situation and provide you with a full report. Children and families do move from time to time, thus the local program affiliate can change. We highly value your sponsorship and want to assure you that every day sponsors like you are making a huge difference in the lives of children. Please contact us via email at Questions@ChildFund.org and provide your sponsor identification number so that we can research this matter fully. We hope to hear from you soon!

Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I agree that the focus should be on helping someone else, not geting something in return. I get mail from Ethiopia all the time, but if I didn't, it would not matter. Knowing someone, and their family, is getting a better chance is reward enough.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 1 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

The problem I have with this charity is that I sought to sponsor a particular boy, Diep, in Vietnam. CFI took $28.00 from my credit card on Jan. 16, 2013. I thought everything was fine. A few weeks went by and I still hadn't received my information packet. Meanwhile, I get a letter from CFI asking me to sponsor another boy, Carlos, at a cost of $35.00 per month. After communicating with Richmond, I finally got the information packet for Diep but there was no more personal info than was online when I first decided on him. Very scanty info indeed. At some point, CFI decided to stop making the monthly withdrawals--not in Feb. nor Mar. And I never received a letter or report from Diep or a field worker. This experience plus the many negative reviews online caused me to decide to resign my sponsorship and ask for a refund of the $28.00. As of this writing, CFI has not replied to these messages

Was your donation impactful?

No

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 

We're sorry that we have not met your expectations. We are reaching out to you through our Sponsor Care team. Thank you for your patience.

Review from CharityNavigator