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2018 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: 18 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

195 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

What an incredible organization to be a part of! This has given me the chance to be a part of a young girl's life for many years now whom I may never actually meet face to face, but it has been a blessing to be a part of her life journey!

Patrisiah O.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Iam a widow,Iam the chairlady of a widows group by name starlight widows and orphans support group.Iam kenya kisumu city.Iam really intrested in this organization.keep it up. Thanks

Steven L.5

Donor

Rating: 5

I am absolutely delighted at what I see as a well-run and well-structured nonprofit. It is my pleasure to be a participant in their charitable works and I hope to be able to continue on for many years.

Donor

Rating: 5

We have sponsored several children since 2000, and currently have 3 in Colombia. As we finish our awareness trip, we realize the incredible work that Unbound continues to do, and saw firsthand the impact it has had on our boys. Being able to receive letters and pictures from our boys has meant a lot...seeing them and holding them for the first time brings the reality of their lives into focus for us. We highly recommend taking an awareness trip with Unbound. Your lives and worldview will change!

Stefanie C.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have been sponsors for over 7 years. Recently, we added another child to our sponsorship, allowing our 7 year old to choose her and make her a lifetime penpal. We are so blessed by Unbound and the connections it's allowed us to have with special children all over the world. We know that the lives of those families are equally blessed as well. We pray this charity can grow exponentially and increase it's impact each and every year.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a sponsor for 10+ years and Unbound does incredible work. I have loved getting know my sponsored friends through letter writing, but have also had the opportunity to meet them by going on mission awareness trips to Honduras and Kenya. Sponsorship really does change their life as I was able to see firsthand! The in-country Unbound staff does a wonderful job working with sponsored friends in the country and making sure they receive the support they need to make life changing decisions with their sponsorship benefits. I cannot recommend this organization enough!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I sponsor three children, two in Kenya and one in Honduras. We have been sponsoring for four years and love receiving letters and pictures from all of them! We hope to have the opportunity to go on a Mission Awareness trip sometime in the near future to see the work happening in communities first hand.

This year we hosted a "sponsorship weekend" at our church in Houston. The staff at CFCA was very easy to work with and helpful in preparing for the event. At the end of the weekend, 84 children and aging were sponsored! The 84 people who were sponsored that weekend have had their life changed!

Angie M.2

Donor

Rating: 5

Our family has been sponsoring different children, young adults and an aged individual for about 15 years or more. It has been very gratifying for our family to learn about different cultures around the world. Unbound makes it very easy to sponsor and transition to another individual when they leave the program or for whatever reason. We feel our sponsorship dollars are well spent and are used for the many needs of our sponsored individuals.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have sponsored a young woman from Kenya, through Unbound, and have watched her grow from a young 7year old to sweet 16. I have learned about her country, her family and of course her beautiful self. We communicate through email on the Unbound website and it warms my heart and fills me with gratitude when I see how my sponsorship has helped her, her family and her community. Thank you Unbound for your caring, creativity and integrity. I am proud to be a part of you.

Donor

Rating: 5

We have supported twin boys in Guatemala through Unbound since 2005. The boys were 3 and are now 16. I had confirmation through pictures as well as letters that they received gifts that were mailed to them. Pictures of the boys wearing or holding gifts and pictures of what my sponsorship money had provided for them. They are still in school and active in their church. They have raised chickens, sheep and cows and now each boy has a pet dog. I am confident my money is well spent and the majority of my money is going to sponsor the boys and not for overhead cost or salaries.

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been sponsors of a few different children for over 20 years with Unbound and are continually impressed with their efficient operation and the many hours that volunteers put in to make this great program work. It is a wonderful charity and helps us to help people we would never know how to reach otherwise. We have loved getting to know our sponsored children through their letters.

Kathy Ann Donathan B.

Donor

Rating: 5

The most important reason I donate to Unbound is that I really believe in putting the 'receivers' to work with my money. (We should try this in the US...).

Donor

Rating: 5

We have sponsored multiple children through Unbound for over 33 years. We believe in their model of helping families, allowing them to make choices that they believe best as they break through the cycle of poverty. We appreciate the emphasis on education and support for the entire family. Unbound has worked with us so that we could help three of our sponsored children continue their education post high school. Unbound is a fantastic program that is transparent with their financials and we continue to be amazed at how much they accomplish with the sponsorship amounts that they receive.

2 Frank W.2

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been sponsors for almost 17 years now. We have sponsored young children, teens and elders. We are currently sponsoring a boy in India who will be turning 12 this year; a young woman in the Philippines who will turn 20; and an older woman in the Philippines who will be 72 years young. We look forward to receiving their letters. It is amazing to see the growth in them with each letter they write. They grow in confidence, their health improves and their happiness also improves. They are filled with gratitude and love. We wouldn't miss it for the world!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Incredible organization! I have four sponsored children from Unbound. I love that we are able to communicate through letter and really get to know the children as well as provide mental support. Also I receive pictures for my sponsored children and get to know how much they have grown. Constant communication allows us to connect and build a relationship. Although I have never met them, we still build a bond. Unbound also host awareness trip which sponsors and sponsored children actually get to meet in person.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I've sponsored 3 children through Unbound and really feel I make a difference. I love the letters and pictures that each one sends and feel a real connection. I know they each enjoy my letters too. Definitely recommend Unbound.

1 Karen Foster H.

Donor

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough wonderful things about Unbound. You can easily look at their numbers and see that they are a great non profit organization. They are open, honest, easy to contact, willing to answer questions and get great ratings. It is harder to put in to words how they impact lives. I know that my sponsorship has changed the lives of my sponsored friends. I hear it from them in their personal letters. I see it in their photos. I read it in mailings and blogs and on social media. The most special thing for me is travelling to meet them. I have formed amazing bonds with the children and their mothers and grandmothers. It's family!
This organization has changed my world view. It has changed the way I view solutions to poverty. Unbound allows me to help people while allowing them to make their own choices about what is best for them and what is best for their families.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

We sponsor a boy who shares my husband's birthday, and a girl who shares my birthday. Fun! Love the Unbound system, the Unbound commitment and most of all, the Unbound results. This organization is an excellent steward of our donations. They have earned our trust and support.

2 Writer

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been unbound sponsors for 17 years. In these years we helped a Rwandan boy get a job in construction, two girls from India become seamstresses, a boy from Kenya graduate from college and become a teacher, a girl from Uganda graduate from college with a nursing degree and a boy from Tanzania become a mechanic. Right now we are sponsoring six more, from Kenya, Bolivia and the Philippines. We love all the mail we receive from them, but our favorite one is the "final letter", with "Thank you, I made it!" It's the best feeling in the world!

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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

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been sponsoring since 2009 and have been beyond impressed with not only the work that Unbound does but the people working for them, both in the states and in the projects. Everyone truly cares and wants to help empower those in poverty through ensuring they have a voice in their own future and through personal relationships.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Today we received notice that one of our sponsored children has graduated from school and started working! We are thrilled to be supporting an organization that is changing lives and building futures.