April 17, 2011
I sponsor children through this organization and have for many years. The children I currently sponsor I've sponsored since 2006 and contrary to other posts, the pictures I've received are all clearly of the same child and in checking the metadata (I'm a photographer) have all been taken around a year apart. I've sent special gifts and received photos of my child with the gifts also. I receive several letters a year from my children as well. I'm planning to go visit my children and the organization encourages sponsors to visit the children, so I'd say that is all above board. I saw another sponsor upset about how gifts are used. The materials clearly explain that gifts under $25 are accumulated and used for all children and that gifts given for birthday, Christmas, Easter, and Special hugs also go into one pot and all children receive the same items (varies by area is all), so that children with sponsors who can't afford or don't send money for those still get gifts. You can do a special needs or income generating gift and those DO go completely to your child if they exceed $25. It bothers me when people dock an organization for doing something that is clearly outlined in the material they send.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
one of my children didn't attend school the first year he was old enough because his family couldn't afford supplies (it isn't like the US), so when I started sponsoring him, it was the first opportunity he had to attend school. Also, my children in the first few years looked tired, dark circles, not smiling. After a few years in the program with health care and nutrition classes and benefits, they look healthier and happier.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
I know the charity gets good ranking on another site for the percent of contributions that actually go to their programs, but I was disappointed to see that Jim Cook makes over $400k a year. I know several CEOs of for profit orgs that don't make that much, let a lone a non-profit. I hope he at least uses a decent portion of that money to sponsor children himself.
Donor & Sponsoring children since 2006.
Review from CharityNavigator