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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Unbound

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Education, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Unbound partners with families living in poverty, empowering them to become self-sufficient and fulfill their desired potential.

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 was 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

215 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I can't imagine an organization more worthy of my support. My husband and I sponsor four children. We have been able to travel to each country and meet them thanks to CFCA's Mission Awareness Trips. What we have observed is incredible commitment to spending every cent wisely, and for the good of the families they serve.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I just visited our sponsored child in Kenya. We were extremely impressed by the professionalism, enthusiasm, and dedication of the CFCA staff in making a difference in the lives of the children and aging who are beneficiaries. Children receive an edication and have their basic needs met for only $30 a month. After high school they may attend a university or a trade school, whichever is more appropriate. They become self-sustaining. During this time, a relative (usually a mother) is involved in a Mothers' Group providing support to each other and re-inforcing the importance of education. The mothers are also taught a marketable skill to increase their financial independence. This foundation provides hope to those who most need it and helps them plan to change their futures.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I have donated to this organization for over a dozen years. During that time we have sponsored three children in India. It has been a very, very rewarding experience and we receive regular letters and photos from the children telling us how they are doing, what is happening in their studies and in their lives in general, how they are benefiting from the sponsorship and even how it helps their families, too. We display their photos in our home like we do of our own children. They call us their "parents" and they are definitely our children and we are proud of the accomplishments they report to us!

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Sponsor a young boy in Chile and also co-sponsor a child in Guatemala.
After exchanging letters for the past 10 years we decided to visit Chris in Chile on a sponsored mission trip. We were totally appalled with the the good work being done by CFCA. We visited senior citizens who were helped with their daily living expenses as well as having a picnic sponsored by CFCA where the seniorswere treated to a chicken dinner, games and entertainment supplied by the local police dept. One blind senior came to me with a friend to ask if she could hug a sponsor. That is all she could return to us for the good work of CFCA. Everyone knew Bob Hentzen, President of CFCA who was with us and much love was expressed for him, in his hand me down clothes and old boots. We visited a rural childrens school for their monthly birthday party for all the children where they enjoyed cake and soda as well as games. Bob sat on the floor and sang songs with the kids while playing a borrowed guitar. Parents expressed great thanks for the sponsors and one little fellow gave each of the sponsors a marble to show his appreciation. The parents of our child insisted we vist their tiny home on a hillside where they gave us cake and coffee. They expressed their many thanks for the help we had given them in allowing their son to attend school and prepare for a trade. We visited the workshop for mothers where they were taught personal coping skills, sewing, hairdressing, etc. while their children were attended to in a day care room. we visited a hospital for children where first level medical care was provided as needed. As we left to return home we were showered with hugs and goodbyes. A wonderful experience I have never seen before.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I was always skeptical about charities that said they would give you a picture of the child you could sponsor. I thought to myself "Oh sure, this child's photo is probably in every city." But that's so not true with CFCA! I became a believer of the power of the one-on-one match when I started getting letters and pictures from my boy in the Merida, Mexico project. But the real impact that this most wonderful organization has on changing the world one person at a time came totally to light to me when I went on a Mission Awareness trip to Merida. I got to experience first hand what life changing work this organization is doing. I got to hug my little boy and his whole family. I cried with his mother as she told me what a difference my sponsorship has made in their lives. I am no longer a skeptic but a whole-hearted believer!! The idea of each of us lighting one little candle to make this world a brighter place is so true with this program - my hope is that thousand more will light a candle too!

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have travelled to Nicaragua to share the special blessing that only CFCA provides, meeting your sponsored child, observe how the organization works in other countries and then come back to the United States to volunteer, recruit sponsors and share what I have seen. The organization builds brotherhood around the world by building bonds between those who can afford to sponsor and those who need a sponsor in 25 countries. I have been blessed with great support from the offices in Kansas City. Their call centers have always supplied me with answers if I didn't know something. I have met the founder and he lives out his words through actions and words.

Review from CharityNavigator

4 Amy K.

Donor

Rating: 4

Christian Foundation for Children and Aging is an amazing charity. It is a charity to which you truly have to be dedicated and in whose mission you must really believe. Although I occasionally give $10 or $25 donations, most of my donations come from the $30 I give every month. This provides for:
-essential benefits such as food, clothing, home repairs and health care.
-educational needs such as school supplies, uniforms, tuition and other school fees.
-recreational activities and Christmas and birthday celebrations.
-literacy training and livelihood programs for parents.
My sponsor child is able to receive all of these for a relatively low cost on my part.

At least twice a year, I receive a letter from my sponsor child, who lives in Guatemala. I recently received a Christmas card, and well as a letter thanking me for a birthday gift I sent her. She is always very polite and grateful, which makes me feel like I'm actually making a difference in her life. I also receive a photo of her annually.

I know that there are many many more people out there living in poverty than my sponsor child, but CFCA does a great job putting a face and name to a child or elderly person who is living in poverty. This strengthens the connection between the donor and the organization because the donor feels like the organization is doing real work that helps real people. Overall, Christian Foundation for Children and Aging is a charity I would highly recommend.