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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Unbound

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Service Organizations, Human Services

Mission: Unbound's mission is to walk with the poor and marginalized of the world.

Results: Sponsored members partner with Unbound to make program and benefit decisions that help meet their basic needs and develop their potential over the course of their time in the program, sometimes 18 years or more. Outcomes vary by location and may include educational attainment, leadership, improved health and nutrition status, dignified housing, skill development and increased income through livelihood opportunities for families. Through Unbound’s sponsorship program, families have more choices in their lives and are empowered, over time, to confront the challenges of poverty and work toward a better life. Sponsorship helps children achieve a level of education that prepares them to compete with peers for jobs and be educated community members, parents and leaders. At a global level, at the point of leaving the program, 75 percent of sponsored children achieved a level of schooling comparative to or above national peer averages, according to data gathered from 2011-2014. This means that Unbound students — who experience marginalization based on economic, social and geographic factors — were able to compete and excel alongside students from all socioeconomic brackets and areas within their countries. Sponsorship impacts the sponsored child and the entire family. Unbound’s direct work through a personalized benefit model and parent groups means families are able to best allocate resources for their children and direct how the program supports their development as families. As of September 2014, 77 percent of all Unbound sponsored members participated in the program through small groups. These groups provide the space for families to have a voice in the program and be part of a supportive community, addressing two significant components of poverty: lack of choices and isolation. In 2016, a pilot evaluation measuring the empowerment among sponsored mothers in Kampala, Uganda, and Antipolo, Philippines, engaged mothers who are waiting for their children to be sponsored as a comparison group. In this pilot, Unbound sponsored parents in both the Philippines and Uganda displayed a stronger level of ownership of psychological assets — such as happiness, control, goal setting or self-esteem — than the wait-list parents did. There was strong evidence that the Unbound sponsored parents more often took advantage of the opportunity to make choices for themselves, their families and their communities. This evaluation is being adapted and rolled out on a global scale in 2017. In a 2013 qualitative evaluation of the Unbound sponsorship and scholarship program in the Philippines, almost all participants had achieved a university degree and many had also completed a graduate- level education. Alumni, on average three years out of the program, were pursuing careers from teaching to nursing and accounting to architectural design. Most were employed on a full-time salary basis.

Target demographics: children, families and elders overcome the challenges of poverty

Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 300,000 children, families and elders with needs such as education, food, health care, clothing, housing improvements and skills training.

Geographic areas served: 19 countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa

Programs: sponsorship of children and elders, youth scholarships, disaster assistance, micro-loans, skills training for parents and more.

Community Stories

161 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

Unbound's mission is to walk with the poor and marginalized of the world.

It is a wonderful experience and opportunity to be a part of. Live life with an open hand rather than a closed fist. You will be blessed with the rewards.

I have traveled to Guatemala with Unbound and visited Julio. The joy I receive for contributing to Unbound and seeing Julio is without words.

Leave a legacy.

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been unbound sponsors for many years. There is nothing as gratifying as to see your sponsored child going from an elementary school child to a university graduate, capable to support himself and his family

Donor

Rating: 5

I love getting letters from my sponsored friend in El Salvador! We've never met but we are friends through letters. I know my sponsorship is helping her get healthcare and go to school.

Donor

Rating: 5

What a beautiful ministry. Although I do not stay in close contact with my sponsored child, her letters and memory bring me to tears. We are all in need and Unbound bridges the gap between those that lack physical goods with those that lack much more. I will forever be grateful for their work.

Donor

Rating: 5

I traveled to Nicaragua with Unbound to visit my sponsored friend. I'd worked and traveled with other non-profits but this organization blew me away. They were so organized and serve the entire community the sponsored friends are part of?

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been a donor for over 12 years, and I have an uncle who worked for the organization for longer than that. This is truly a nonprofit that values who they serve and those who make the service possible.

Donor

Rating: 5

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE UNBOUND!! I'm so thankful for the opportunity to give back through an organization that truly focuses on our sponsored friends. Thank you Unbound!!

Lynne H.

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been sponsors for nearly 20 years and enjoyed a long relationship with one Guatemalan family. We have sponsored two girls who have "graduated" and now support their younger sister and we added another boy. We enjoy the regular correspondence and my teens write the letters now. Wonderful work in very needy areas with families who appreciate the love and encouragement.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been a donor for 15 years. They are absolutely first rate. Their blog postings are thoughtful and respectful of both the role of the donors and the role of the recipients. They understand the ramifications of the ministry to both. I have supported several people over the years and appreciate the fact that I can support a college student and an elderly person. It isn't all about cute kids that tug at your heartstrings and open your wallet. It is about developing a relationship over years where both parties learn and grow from each other. I believe my recipients have done far more for me than I have done for them.
When my student graduates in December with a reasonable shot at having a career as a medical professional rather than a lifetime struggling with poverty as a temporary laborer or a vendor, I will be comfortable that I made things truly better for my student and the extended family.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have sponsored children and elderly for over 15 years. I have made three mission awareness trips to meet sponsored children. During these visits we get an up close and personal experience of how our funds are used. Unbound has amazing programs to help families learn to help themselves. Education is huge, and not just for children. Elderly are also given the opportunity to learn. I also had the opportunity to spend a week at the office in Kansas City, KS. There, two of my friends and I spent the week learning this part of Unbound. As usual, we were treated as VIPs. Unbound is transparent, and good stewards of funds.

Donor

Rating: 5

We've been sponsoring Louis for several years. What a privilege to watch him grow into a young man.

Donor

Rating: 5

Been sponsors for 25 years; hope to do 25 more. Look at their stats:
https://www.charitywatch.org/ratings-and-metrics/unbound/171

Donor

Rating: 5

My family has sponsored children through this organization for over a decade. I love the fact that they encourage us to have a relationship with the child while maintaining privacy. I also love that they are so transparent with where their funding goes, and with any changes that are made. It's a fabulous organization!

Donor

Rating: 5

Simply, Unbound is all about the sponsored children and elderly in third world countries. What other charity organization can say that 92.7% of every dollar goes to the projects!!! I've seen their headquarters and my donation money is not supporting a fancy office but is going to the needy of this world.

I have been on a sponsor awareness trip and seen first hand how my sponsorship dollars are changing not only a family, but a whole community. Unbound gives them HOPE!!! Unbound "teaches them to fish" and does not just "give them fish."

Also, I think Unbound is the only nonprofit to provide sponsorship to the elderly who are not maybe as "cute" as the sponsored children. But sponsorship money is just as important - it means something as simple as arthritis medicine can be purchased by these beautiful elderly persons; also sponsorship means they are part of an "elderly support system" within their community - all I can say is seeing their smiling faces as I did in Guatemala just made my day.

Unbound should be listed as a top-rated nonprofit for 2017 because THEY ARE!!!!

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been sponsoring through Unbound for approximately 20 years now. We have had the joy of connecting with, and supporting, many children. Receiving cards, letters, and photos from them brings such joy, (and tears) to our hearts. We are able to see the tangible and intangible ways we are helping to improve their lives and those of their families. Sometimes, when we want to help the world's situation, you feel so inadequate to do so. But, through Unbound, we know we mean the world to someone else. The best part is that we know they are being empowered to help themselves. This is not just a handout in an endless circle of poverty as a short term fix. Though we donate to many charities, this is the one that means the most !

Donor

Rating: 5

We have sponsored friends through UNBOUND for the past 15 years. We have formed friendships with children in Honduras, Venezuela, and Mexico and have always been impressed with how UNBOUND works with the community to find out how to help and then to provide the support tip enable that community to grow. The local community makes decisions, forms work and banking cooperatives and organizes children's enrichment. In this way, the community grows its own infrastructure.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have sponsored numerous children and elderly people over the past 12 years. I've also been blessed to have traveled to Nicaragua several times and have met my sponsored friends. What I respect about UNBOUND is that I KNOW that the money goes to the people as food, clothing, household needs, etc. What I also like about this organization is that it builds One-on-one relationships between people thousands of miles away. It is truly a walking together.

Donor

Rating: 5

MY wife and I decided to sponsor a child from Guatemala through Unbound about 5 years ago and it has been magical, life affirming, and glorious to share our love with our child. We even had the opportunity to visit him, his family, and the whole Guatemalan based Unbound crew in the highlands of that country. The love and trust that we got to share with him and his family was profound and to this day we revel in the incredible feelings of love and concern for him and his family. We correspond frequently and share photos with him and it keeps us connected. The Unbound organization is exceptionally well run and we love how great they are in helping children and elderly around the world

Donor

Rating: 5

20+ years with this stellar organization. Thx for all you do.

Client Served

Rating: 5

MIÉ 6:10
Muy buenas tardes...
Mi nombre es Natalia Andrea Zuleta, tengo un hijo de 5 años con síndrome de dandy walker y epilepsia, llevo mucho buscando una fundación o alguien q nos pueda ayudar económicamente para darle a mi hijo lo que requiere, estamos afiliados a la eps cafesalud
La cual cada vez esta peor...
No están dando nada de lo se requiere ni con tutela... Si uds saben de alguien q nos pueda ayudar...
Tengo todo soportado, historias clínicas, en face hay fotos de mi hijo, pueden verificar, mi número de cel es 3212871255