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ChildFund International

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, International, International Relief

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.

Community Stories

199 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters
21 Dave Jenkins

Donor

Rating: 5

I started sponsoring Jessica in Ocumicho, Michoacan Mexico 6 months ago. Initially, I was only going to sponsor her every month. However, after just 2 heartwarming letters and pictures from Jessica, I decided to utilize ChildFund's amazing business model and infrastructure in order to "take things to a different level". Some sponsors only do the $28/month and leave it at that. That's fine, because now another child has been sponsored. However, there are so many things a sponsor can do beyond just the monthly sponsorship to have an even bigger impact on their child, their community and the world. Here's are some other things I have started or completed in only the first 6 months of sponsoring Jessica. Regular letters and pictures - hard to explain the feeling, but AWESOME! Scheduled $50 birthday and Christmas monetary gifts. It is amazing to see the impact and joy such a small gift brings to these wonderful children. You are also really moved how the children allocate the money - food, educational tools and always themselves last. This takes the experience to an incredible level most people have never experienced. Send special monetary gifts if possible in addition to the scheduled monetary gifts. Same effect. Amazing! ChildFund processes these monetary gifts for a flat $3.50 handling fee. Such an amazing, cost effective and easy to use sponsor tool to utilize! The money goes monthly to the national offices, converted to local currency and hand delivered to your child. So, where can a sponsor go from there? I have chosen to do 2 other things to help make an impact. I established a university fund for Jessica. $600/year totaling $5,400 when she is ready to attend. It's invested in America Movil stock that is owned by Carlos Slim in Mexico (richest man in the world). Jessica is very excited trying to decide what type of bachelor's degree she wants to achieve. Very, very exciting! Lastly, I decided to "kick it up one last notch". I have created "The Ocumicho Project" plan with the help of the wonderful ladies at ChildFund. The project's goal is finding sponsors for the remaining 45 children in Ocumicho still without sponsors. My coworkers and friends can literally call the ChildFund 800 number, reference "The Ocumicho Project", get set up as a new sponsor and have one of Jessica's classmates immediately moved into their new sponsor account! All I can say is amazing! The journey is just getting started! What other company (profit or non profit) would offer these existing sponsor tools and new opportunities for their sponsors??? Incredible company! Incredible group of people! Get on board or the train is leaving the station without you! :)

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

I had to cancel my donation to childfund. They still deducted from my account anyway. The person was not pleased that I had to cancel. I have donated for many years and am unable to do so for a while. Resent the additional guilt forced on me by the person I spoke with.

Comments ( 1 )

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ChildFund I. 05/18/2016

Hello – We’re sorry to hear about this experience, and we would like to make every effort to resolve it. To do so, however, we need a way to connect with you. Would you please reach out to Sponsor Care directly at 1-800-776-6767 or email us at questions@childfund.org? Regardless of where we land, please know that we really are grateful for your care in having sponsored a child in the first place and understand that sometimes circumstances change such that you are no longer able to continue the sponsorship. Please be assured that we thank you for all of your support.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

Rating: 5 stars

Many of the one-star reviews seem to be based on misconceptions. I have been sponsoring children through ChildFund International, previously named Christian Children's Fund, for 44 years. I am convinced that it is a very good organization that does good work. Your sponsorship is not a matter of handing money over to the family. As Childfund explains in the article at https://www.childfund.org/uploadedFiles/public_site/media/publications/CW-Summer2013.pdf
"your monthly donation is combined with those of other sponsors in your child's area to benefit the entire community, so that children have what they need to thrive."
As I understand it, some of the money is spent directly on the child, paying for school fees, etc. but a good part is spent on things that benefit all the children in the community. This is far more effective than just handing out money. Money that you send as a gift to the child or the family does go directly to them and they report back on what they spent it on. Once a year, you receive a report telling what has been done at the project in the past year. These include initiatives in the area of education, health, and income self-sufficiency.
I understand the disappointment in not receiving enough letters, although I admit to being guilty of not writing often enough. Some children will be more interested in writing than others. In the early years I had a number of children who did not write much. Although I know this is probably not fair to the younger children I always request an older child rather than a baby when it is time to get another child so that the child will be more likely to be able to write to me. Also, so far I've had 4 girls in Uganda who liked writing letters and whose letters do not require translation because they write in English. Sometimes I'll even get a letter from a cousin or other relative with whom my sponsored girl has shared my letters. Because of this good experience, I've always selfishly asked for another girl in Uganda when one graduated out of the program. Perhaps this is coincidence or perhaps children in English-speaking countries in Africa are more interested in communicating with other English-speakers.
I also sponsor a girl in Vietnam who doesn't say much when she writes but I am glad to sponsor her because I went to Vietnam on a ChildFund tour and was able to see first-hand what ChildFund is doing there improving schools, building health clinics, improving sanitation, creating sustainable income generation activities, and getting the communities to take ownership of activities to improve the lives of the people.
As to the complaints about dealing with ChildFund about sponsorship or money issues I have always found the people at the 800 number very helpful. If you want to end or change the money deductions from your bank or credit card they will take care of it for you. For questions about the child, they may need to forward them to the country office. That will take longer for a response.

Previous Stories
3

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been sponsoring children through ChildFund International, previously named Christian Children's Fund, for 39 years. Sponsoring a child through this organization was one of my priorities when I first started working and I have not been disappointed. Some children left the program for various reasons but I was able to sponsor a girl in Uganda from secondary school through Medical School. She is now involved in AIDS vaccine research. I also sponsored a boy in Brazil until age 18 and was glad to receive his letters telling of career plans which only would be possible because of the assistance he had received through this organization. In recent years ChildFund has moved more and more towards helping children in their communities. They have been focusing in helping the communities move forward with improvements to livelihood, sanitation, medical and water safety conditions. Though sponsorship is still a key part of this, they are adding many other initiatives. I am very impressed with the direction that they are taking and the work that they are doing.

10

Donor

Rating: 1

Be cautious... I have been sponsoring a child since last March and was surprised to receive correspondence thanking me for my 'generosity' for sponsoring another child - this was news to me! When I inquired further they provided a ridiculous explanation that the 7 year old girl I had been sponsoring all this time was no longer in the program since she had received training in beauty (?) and was employed in a beauty salon - this was a 7 year old child in a remote village in Ethiopia! Employed in a beauty salon?

I have been attempting to cancel my sponsorship but ironically there is no information or link for THAT on their website. Be very cautious - I am so disheartened and the many ratings on BBB and other non-profit reference sites makes me question their integrity as well.

Comments ( 1 )

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ChildFund International 12/18/2015

Hello – We’re sorry to hear about this experience, and we would like to make every effort to resolve it. To do so, however, we need a way to connect with you; would you please reach out to Sponsor Care directly at 1-800-776-6767? Or you could email us at questions@childfund.org. Regardless of where we land, please know that we really are grateful for your care in having sponsored a child in the first place, and we’d appreciate the opportunity to make things right.

15

Donor

Rating: 1

I made a specific donation of buying 10 goats. I get a card in mail that say thanks for purchasing 3 goats. I inquire about it and they give me some nonsense answer. I follow up again a couple weeks later and nothing. After my third follow up they tell me my order was correct, but I get the feeling they just wanted me to go away.

Either these guys are a fraud or poorly managed, either way they have gotten my last dollar.

Review from Guidestar

10

Donor

Rating: 5

Childfund definetely does door to door fundraising campaign as it used to be not on the website and now it is as it states in FAQs . I have been a donor for 3 years and actually signed up through door to door and I had been really happy. My little girl from Guatemala is doing great and I'm planning on visiting her next year.

34

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

My boyfriend has been sending money, allegedly to a child. From day one I told him to be careful with these charity organizations. I myself donate a good amount of money to different organizations to people in need, orphans, animals in the United States. I have personally been involved with orphans in the U.S. and their living conditions. We are in so much shortage that now foster parents should step in until the state governments can find some place for the orphans.
What bothers me the most is that Anne Lynam Goddard receives over quarter of a million as salary, living a luxury life in London, (most probably sending her kids to expensive private schools in London, I suppose); this is outrageous.
I think that donors should do a diligent research about where their money goes and how much is actually spent on "charity" rather than financing a luxury life for the CEO, almost tax free.
After I told my bf about the CEO and her salary, he was so upset that he wanted to call her (I didn't let that happen), however, he is convinced that all he donates, in fact, doesn't go to the "kid" he is sponsoring. I only hope that at least some of that goes to the kid, once the CEO's salary is set aside.

Comments ( 1 )

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ChildFund International 02/02/2015

Thanks for your comment. Please be advised that our CEO, Anne Goddard, does not live in London but in Richmond, Va., where our headquarters is located. The salary of our CEO is comparable to that of CEOs of other international nonprofits. One thing to note is that these CEOs are running multi-million-dollar international operations that endeavor to change the world. That means the CEOs have to bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position. Because this question is asked on occasion, we’d like to share with you a Charity Navigator report about the compensation of CEOs in the charity world: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=studies.ceo#.VM-hXC7eI2A ChildFund places a high emphasis on stewardship and accountability. Last year, we devoted 83.5% of revenues to program services for children; 9.2% was used for fundraising so that we can reach more supporters and 7.3% went to management and general operations. You'll find these numbers and more information about what those funds accomplish at this link, where you can also read our annual report: https://www.childfund.org/Accountability/

12

Donor

Rating: 5

A year ago, while on vacation in Branson, MO, we enjoyed the Texas Tenors Show. During the intermission they requested that we consider sponsoring a child from a selection of ChildFund International needy children in the lobby. I selected a 6 year old Zambian girl. i am enjoying helping her and her family. Though she doesn't speak English, her grandmother and also a family friend write and keep me informed about Agness. For the price of a movie and snacks, you can provide a needy child some where in the world with a better life and education. I highly recommend ChildFund. It is a worthy organization.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I support a 6.5 year old girl in Brazil and have been doing this for about 2 years. The more letters I have been exchanging with her and her family the more I have come to know their situation and the individual personalities. This has been very meaningful to me in they have truly appreciated my support and have shared their gratitude in multiple pictures/drawings of my child's life.

I know the monthly sponsorship is doing great things in the community and directly for my sponsor child and her family from the letters and pictures they have sent me from the project. Knowing that this is being managed so well has given me confidence to send extra money for birthday and Christmas etcetera. The response from my sponsor and her family has been extremely heart warming and gratifying for me so much that I have just recently returned from an in person visit with them.

I was only able to spend two days with them and the expense seemed high when I was planning the trip but in looking back it was worth every dime. The U.S. National Child Fund personnel did a great job setting the agenda up with the local Child Fund Brazil personnel. I was concerned about going to a foreign country and not knowing anyone or the language.

The local Child Fund Brazil personnel set up all the meetings, interpreter as well as transportation even picking restaurants and beach area to enjoy our time together. The local Project that Child Fund has their, set up a surprise performance from the children including, Ballet, Guitar and a choir of children that put on a moving performance. The performance and gratitude from the children brought me to tears, (I was sure at 50 years old I would be able to fight that off). The hospitality and gratitude from my sponsor child/family and all of the children and Child Fund Brazil personnel was so genuine and meaningful. I can't express how meaningful the whole experience with Child Fund has been for me other than to say I'm so grateful.

I await my next letter that will have the pictures from the last few moments I had with my sponsor child to go with my 300+ other pictures. I have selected my new desk picture for my office and home which includes my family and I on our first day together. I have seen the impact Child Fund is making on the community in my sponsor's area first hand and can't encourage you enough to enrich your life the way I have through this program.





11 Terry62

Donor

Rating: 5

I have bee a sponser since the 70's. Connecting with a child from another culture and different part of the world is tremendously rewarding. Getting to know them through letters and feeling their gratitude and happiness through their letters is the best. This organization is totally dedicated to helping children worldwide.

4 Laura225

Donor

Rating: 4

I love this charity, as it helps provide for the needs of the children that go beyond just feeding them. They receive an education, and donors get to see their progress over the years. It gives children the opportunity to make a difference in their communities and possibly someday the world. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to know my child in some small way.

7 Kimberly100

Donor

Rating: 4

My mother had been sponsoring three children through ChildFund when she died suddenly. I contacted ChildFund and explained the situation and asked if it would be possible to transfer their sponsorship to me. The staff were very helpful and made this transition feel seamless. I love receiving letters from my sponsored children and their families and yearly progress reports from ChildFund. It makes me feel like I know them even though they live in Africa and we have never met in person. One of my sponsored children is now in college and that makes me very happy because she probably would not have had the opportunity if not for ChildFund.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I was approached at my door earlier today with a sales pitch by someone claiming to be from Child Fund. I said I would look into the organization but not give until doing so. I looked up information about the organization and found that they likely do not go door to door. When I saw the solicitor later in the day I told him what I'd learned and he pretty much shrugged. Later still, he returned to my house while I was gone and gave his sales pitch to my wife. I am considering reporting this to the police.

I notice that a number of reviewers claim to "know for certain" their child-abroad is getting the money they send, but I cannot imagine how on earth they could be verifying this. A letter from the child? Who knows who really writes those letters! The organization might well be doing some good--who knows, really?--but apparently the CEO takes a ludicrously large salary and the organization has been investigated for fraud (see for example: http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/11/15/the-1994-christian-childrens-fund-scandal/ ).

Comments ( 1 )

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ChildFund International 11/10/2014

Thank you for taking the time to comment. ChildFund helps children around the world living in poverty. We seek monthly supporters via face-to-face fundraising in several states throughout the U.S. Our canvassers are well-trained professionals who have been taught to honor any “no solicitation” requests. Our sponsorship program enables sponsors and individual children to form relationships that benefit both the child and the sponsor. Funds raised through sponsorship support local organizations that implement ChildFund’s programs in the child’s community. These programs provide children with access to education, nutrition, health care and other benefits. Sponsors are also welcome to make additional donations that go directly to their child and are encouraged communicate through letters. ChildFund enjoys strong ratings from several external watchdog organizations — including Charity Navigator, the Better Business Bureau and others.

4 JoAnne32

Donor

Rating: 1

We sponsored one child for the past fourteen years or so.

We know our sponsored child turned 18, she is six months younger than our daughter. There was no communication from Childfund Intl. about what happens when a child reaches U.S. adult age. They did, however, continue to deduct from our account.

Six months later, still paying, someone called to ask for a special contribution. I mentioned our situation, and they seemed a little flustered, then offered that the money was probably being used for other children or community needs. According to letters written on her behalf (she hasn't written more than a letter or two), she was still in school.

Now eight months later, we've received a letter from her mother that she is married and no longer in school. I appreciate her candor, but still no official notification from ChildFund.

I read here that ChildFund doesn't offer an online method for revoking your automatic account withdrawal, so I did that through my bank.

All of this may very well be the agency's poor management, but it makes it all seem more than a little sketchy, and you would think they would want to avoid all appearances of impropriety. A real shame for that community to lose the ongoing support from us and others who are disappointed in the manner in which ChildFund operates.

If you pay your CEO astronomical amounts for a non-prof, you should expect a clean running machine.

Comments ( 1 )

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ChildFund International 08/19/2014

Hi, JoAnne, We are disappointed to hear about the dissatisfaction you and your family have experienced with the closing of your sponsorship. Most children remain in our care until age 18 or until they have completed secondary schooling. Some young people remain enrolled as they continue with vocational or college courses. If a sponsor is able to stay with the youth through those additional years, it’s welcome but not required. There is no obligation of time for sponsorship, and sponsors may advise us at any time that they do not wish to continue. For more information on preparing for when sponsorship ends, you might be interested in the article on page 10 of a recent issue of ChildWorld: https://www.childfund.org/uploadedFiles/public_site/media/publications/CW-Summer2013.pdf We would like to research the matter of why you did not receive information from ChildFund that your sponsored child was leaving the program, and we ask that you please contact us directly at 1-800-776-6767 or send an email to questions@ChildFund.org. We hope to hear from you soon! Meanwhile, please accept our deep appreciation for everything that you have done over the past 14 years.

4 Bruce32

Donor

Rating: 4

I have been with ChildFund for about a decade. They are not the most efficient, but I am sticking with them because I know that about $80 per hundred that I donate gets through directly to my sponsored kids, and they make it possible for me to give extra money to the kid's parents, which is important to me. I know for a fact that the extra money I send to the parents gets there. That is why I stay with ChildFund, even though they are at the low end of acceptable efficiency for this type of charity (80%). In the long run, I believe ChildFund will succeed in breaking the poverty cycle for some of these families because of the community approach that they take. So I accept the 20% overhead, believing that in the long run my kids will probably make it in their societies. At least I hope so.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Have been sponsoring a boy with special needs in Dominica for over 7 years and it is a pleasure to know he is growing into a young man. CFI has made it possible for him to go to school, provide food and clothing for him through my donations.

14

Donor

Rating: 1

I began sponsoring a little girl in India with this organization in 2012. This involved sending money monthly and writing letters. For months, I had only received 1 letter from my sponsored child. So I emailed the organization thinking that something may have happened to her. It took them a while to get back to me but when they did, they emailed me a letter from her, progress report, pictures of her and her family. They let me know she was doing well.

Again, I wrote to her and my monthly payments were still being auto sent to the organization. Once again, after months of not hearing from my sponsored child, I decided that I needed to cancel my account. I like helping out, but, I am not a believer in giving money away under false pretenses. I had planned on increasing my monthly donation as well as giving to my sponsored child around the holidays, but it was like sending money to an invisible person. So I decided that this was not the organization for me.

I went into my account on their website to stop reoccurring monthly payments from being taken out of my account. There was no option to stop these transactions. I emailed the organization, and until this day have not heard from them. Yet, they still took money from my account. I had to call my bank to tell them to put a stop payment on the organization. When I first wanted to cancel my account, I figured ChildFund was a well meaning organization that may be unorganized but after not being able to stop my monthly payments, I am now questioning their legitimacy.

Comments ( 1 )

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ChildFund International 04/16/2014

We are sorry to hear that you stopped receiving letters from your sponsored child and that your inquiry was not taken care of at that time. Sometimes the sponsor-child correspondence doesn’t work out like we’d hope, and your satisfaction with the experience is important to us. Would you please contact our office at 1-800-776-6767 so that we can resolve this? You may also send an email to questions@ChildFund.org.

5

Donor

Rating: 4

i have been a sponsor for 24 years . i currently have 5 children most in africa. i receive letters 4 times a year. progress reports . its a sound and professional organization. i will be a sponsor until i can't no more

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Okay first and fore most CCF is one of the most trusted organizations out thereIn FY13 ChildFund increased its efforts to serve children, thanks to the generosity of supporters. ChildFund's public support and revenue for FY13 was $252 million, up from $245 million in FY12. Supporters can give with confidence knowing that 82 percent of every dollar goes to helping children.
For the past five years, ChildFund International has maintained a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator and earned high ratings from Charities Review Council and the American Institute of Philanthropy.

And as far as the CEO making 200,000 a year first keep in mind he raised 252 million, secondly you people complaining would not be qualified to launch a campaign that can raise that much money,
and lastly if he raised 252 million that 82% of every dollar went to, and less people died of starvation and disease....who cares if he made 200,000-- for all you know he donates a bunch of his well deserved money , so get over the complaints people and trust that God is and always has done his work here.


2

Donor

Rating: 3

My Mother sponsored a child, but passed away in 2010, my Dad continued the donations, he also passed away this past August. I want to continue the donations, but I skeptical about a few things. I received a letter thanking me for the $20 and indicating "I received your message..." My parents, obviously did not send a message. Somehow, I suspect that this is a form letter being sent to me by a worker or volunteer, not the child ( who is now 20 years of age, but that is ok, I would continue sponsorship of him if it helps him with his continuing education and helps his family/community ). I know my mother cared very much for this child and felt there was a personal connection, was this naivete on her part?

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ChildFund International 04/16/2014

We are sorry to hear about the loss of your parents. Please accept our condolences. Some countries may use templates or project newsletters, etc., but correspondence from the child and family should be individualized. We would be happy to look into this further for you. Please contact us directly at 1-800-776-6767, or send an email to questions@ChildFund.org. We hope to hear from you soon!