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! :)
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.
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/
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/ ).
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.
I am one of the few people who actually visited my sponsored family in Kenya. Irewasre was a teen by then but it was clear she was the girl I chose several years before. Her mother Susan hugged me and cried when we met. I learned that because of the draught that year the extra money I was allowed to gift that year was all the family had to live on.
Their village was in the Great Rift Valley only 40 miles from Uganda. The whole village welcomed me with dancing, song and food. I planted a tree to commemorate the visit. A planning session for the regional villages was going on at the same time. Half the monthly dues go to community projects like irrigations ditchesor outhouses so everyone in the region benefits.
Upon questioning my chaperones I. Found that there were children in the program who did not survive the political riots the year before. I suspect the loss of a child is one reason for the reviews from people who do not get the child they want. As long as my money is going to cfi I'm more than happy.
You know, I want you all to know, while it's great that you are donating to these nonprofits, you need to realize that they turn away many needy families in America. I am a disabled mom of 2 great girls. At this very moment I have 1/2 jar of mayonnaise, and some peanut butter in my cupboard. THAT"S IT! I know hat you are thinking..."go on welfare ( I tried and was denied), go to food banks (there is one in my area, and it gives 1 box of food every 4th saturday), contact a church (I have, I am on 3 waiting lists).I have contacted all the big charities and they all say the same thing, "We do not service your area". OK what AREA do they serve? I was working 2 jobs until I was in a terrible wreck, I now have osteomyelitis and will probably lose my leg. I was working when I wrecked, so I get workmans comp, $489 every 2 weeks. When I have $600 mortage, $100 insurance, $225 utilities....I am already over what I earn...Did you notice...my list does not even include groceries...because I do not have any money left for groceries. I know everyone has it hard sometimes, I have donated to "Feed The Children and Salv. Army for years....BUT when I need help...I have no one to help me. My kids and myself are literally STARVING IN AMERICA> If we just had enough to eat, it would be a special Christmas..it's heartbreaking when your kids want a big Christmas dinner for their "wish" list to Santa. Next time you want to donate..look around. That lady in the check-out line at the grocery store, frantically searching thru the lint and crumb covered bottom of her purse for loose change, in order to afford a half gallon of milk...is probably me...and MAY one day BE YOU! God Bless
I don't understand why people want to discontinue sponsoring their child just because CFI changed their name. Does it really matter if it has "Christian" word in it? I am a sponsor through CFI for last 7 years and i am not Christian by religion. All i ever cared was that they are helping a child in need.
Review from CharityNavigator
Someone from this charity just came to my door. I shouldn't have answered at all, but because our house is on the market I thought it could be a real estate agent and went to check. The representative used tactics that seemed shady, at best. I asked what percentage of the funds went to the children, and he showed me a sheet of paper that said, in large print 100% of the funds were sent to children, but then in smaller type said something like "and their families, after administrative costs." That seemed sketchy, at best. I told him I wouldn't be able to donate at this time, and he literally stuck his foot in the door to ask me more questions. When I apologized and said I really couldn't help them, he told me I was "really mean." Thanks. Will never, ever consider donating to this charity that uses deliberately misleading figures, aggressive techniques and resorts to childish name-calling.
I would like to talk/email you if you will send me your email address or phone number. ChildFund has never claimed that we spend 100% on program services (we are proud of the 82.5% we currently spend on program services). Nor would we ever condone such tactics and we would like to try and find the person who did this. We appreciate all of our donors's support and are very sorry this happened to you. Please contact me (Alison at 804-756-2700). Thanks.
Review from CharityNavigator
I am an educator. I first heard of Childfund when I got involved with the programs of the Cordillera Parents Federation, Inc. I have seen how Childfund works not only in helping the child but more on building a better world by helping children and their family as well as their schools develop to give them the learning they need to live in this world. Through Childfund, the recipients develop life skills they could use as individuals that would aim to build a better family, school, community and may even spread to a better country and even world. The approach of Childfund goes beyond superficiality, which I truly admire.
I'm a former staff member who proudly worked with ChildFund for more than 6 years, serving the most needy communities and children. ChildFund has been driven during the past 5 years under the current President to achieve even higher levels of accountability and transparency, to ensure that maximum funds are spent on program work in the field. I can honestly say that based on my broad exposure to organisations in this sector, I believe that ChildFund is one of the most transparent and most 'lean' in terms of operational overheads. I'm confident that having worked at Executive level in ChildFund, I have the real picture of the operational management costs - and I happily recommend my own family and friends to sponsor children through ChildFund knowing that the money is going to the kids. This is an outstanding organisation with real integrity and lots of heart. The passion and commitment of the staff around the world has to be experienced to be understood.
Review from CharityNavigator
Myself Mr.Rupesh Yerunkar had seen the work of the organization supported by ChildFund.Their emphasis is more on Child's Health and Education.If the child needs any kind of medical assistance even costly treatment at Mumbai this organization sees that the child gets the best treatment at Mumbai.A social worker of the project accompanies the family ,meets the doctors and make sure the child gets best treatment .
Myself Dr Vinod Goregaonkar,working as Medical Officer had a chance to see and work closely on the Health Programs with the project supported by ChildFund in Raigad District of Maharashtra.As a matter of policy never competed with the government agencies but always supplemented and complemented the efforts of government agency.
I am privileged to express my view points about CFI. I find the website of child fund international useful and informative. Though I have never got an opportunity to work with CFI directly, still I know CFI as one of the pioneer organisation working for children and young people. The good thing I like about Child Fund International’s work for the marginalised children with an integrated approach. Community participation is one of the core areas which really strengthen towards sustainable change in the society. Child Fund International is a pioneer organisation sincerely committed for espousing rights of children.
I wish all the very best
I have sponsored children through Christian Children's Fund - now ChildFund - for over 30 years. I was very sad when they shed their Christian identity. I tried to dialog with two of their staff members over the change when it happened and was extremely dissatisfied with the way they skirted my questions.
I still have three children sponsored with ChildFund, and I will continue to support them, but I will not replace them when they graduate from the program.
I sent $20 to a child for his birthday recently and he only received $16. That much of a bite out the gift is unacceptable to me, knowing how much value the money has overseas.
I have already begun to sponsor a child with World Vision, and my strategy is to transfer all my support to that organization over time.
Review from CharityNavigator
I have sponsored a child for a number of years -- since before my own children were born. And it's been a fantastic experience. I've learned so much about her country, her way of life, her family environment, and most of it leaves me speechless. To know that I can help such a beautiful child, even in such a small way, is so humbling. I've received letters from her, and from her family members, as well as drawings. And when I look at the pictures she's drawn, and I know they are for me -- that's an incredible feeling. This little person on the other side of the globe took time out of her day to draw me a picture. It's very special. Over the years I've also received photographs of my sponsored child. And I've seen her grow taller, but still, so thin. And I see her clothes, and cannot help but to compare them with the brightly colored, well-fitting clothes my own children wear. Though comparisons like this are of course saddening... the experience of sponsoring a child has brought something so unique and wonderful to my life. I think every year there is something else I could put that money towards. And when I know that I'm not going to spend it, but rather share it, I feel at peace. I would recommend ChildFund to anyone wishing to add a new dimension to their lives. Every letter I've ever written has been answered, and every donation I've sent has brought me a heart-felt thank-you. Whenever I've had to contact the national office I've had a quick response and positive experience. I don't feel like my donation is going "out there" somewhere. I feel like I am actually connected to this little person, and when I get the letters detailing what she spent her birthday money on, again, I am humbled. It's easy to get caught up in the "there are so many organizations out there, I don't know which is best." From my point of view, ChildFund is one of the absolute best. I took a chance on ChildFund, and I am so glad to have this in my life.
When money is tight, you watch every dollar you give away very carefully. We have cut back our giving to only a very few organizations and CFI is definitely one of them. Their work on behalf of children worldwide is outstanding and you can trust that every dollar you send is spent appropriately.
My elderly father has been sponsoring children through this organization (first as Christian Children's Fund and now as ChildFund) for several decades. However, now that I am handing my father's finances I have been taking a closer look at the organization's solicitation material and am really bothered by some of it.
For example, we just received a preprinted birthday card that we could sign and return to ChildFund, who would then turn around and deliver it to the child for $9.00. Nine Dollars?!?!? I could send a card for 44 cents because this child is in the US. I understand that some of the money must go to subsidize delivery of cards to children in foreign countries, but $9???? That just is exhorbitant!
We also received a pack of animal stickers that we were assured any child would LOVE. Well, our "child" is 15-year-old boy. I sincerely doubt that he would be thrilled to receive animal stickers. Again, we were asked to send $9 so that ChildFund could deliver these stickers to him. Give me a break! Why doesn't ChildFund look at the demographics of who their gifts are intended for?
The 20% off the top of any gift for administrative expenses also bothers me considerably. All in all, I am not inclined to deal with this organization again after our "child" ages out of the program.
Review from CharityNavigator
I have had the opportunity to meet a number of ChildFund leaders from the headquarters staff and various countries and have been impressed with their skills, professionalism, integrity, commitment to the mission, and focus on having a sustainable impact through their work. I have had the privilege to work with leaders of many respected corporations and non-profit organizations and would compare the caliber of their counterparts at ChildFund very favorably.
I've read the back log of criticism that ChildFund has received for it's 20% admiminstrative fee. Good grief, people, how many of you could run a business with only 20% overhead? If you've got an 80% profit margin, I want to invest in your company! People who work for nonprofits have mortgages, children, health expenses just like you. Do you "volunteer" at your job or do you expect a paycheck?
Working in developing nations that have little or no infrastructure takes a lot of feet on the ground. Money won't magically rain onto the heads of struggling people. It takes one person at a time making the right phone call, connecting with the right person. I have no personal opinion about ChildFund International other than I have friends who are sponsors and who asked me about all the kerfuffle on these pages about overhead. Get real. It takes money to give money unless you are willing to fly over to Kenya every month yourself and personally deliver your good will.
Review from CharityNavigator
We searched for an organization that helped children and their families (regardless of their personal religious beliefs) based on their needs of daily survival, education and human rights. We found ChildFund International to meet & exceed all our expectations. For several years we sponsored one child, and now two. What a difference we can make to those in less fortunate circumstances by sponsorship. Annual updates and photo's are sent by ChldFund, as well as several letters, hand drawings and pictures sent by the families sponsored. Becoming a part of the ChildFund family, as well as your sponsored child, you will feel the heartfelt gratitude of many. ChildFund is exceptional in all they do...Do you know in disaster emergencies, they are there too? Relocating families, setting up relief communities...they are there for the children and their families 24/7...This is an organization that I highly recommend and hope you find in your heart to donate or sponsor a child. It truly changes your life....and others.