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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Plan International USA, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Disaster Aid, Disaster Preparedness & Relief Services, International, International Development, International Relief

Mission: Plan International USA, part of the Plan International Federation, is a child-centered development organization that believes in the promise and potential of children. For more than 75 years in over 50 developing countries, Plan has been breaking the cycle of child poverty. Everything Plan does – from strengthening health care systems to improving the quality of education, to advocating for increased protection and beyond – is built with, and owned by, the community. The result is a development approach designed to improve the lives of the youngest members of the community for the longest period of time. For more information, please visit PlanUSA.org.

Target demographics: Plan programs help millions of children and their families escape the cycle of poverty in countries around the world.

Geographic areas served: 51 developing countries across the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Program countries include: Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Programs: Plan child-centered program areas include: health, water & sanitation, education, disaster relief & resilience, and nutrition.

Community Stories

32 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

Very simply if you don't believe in the work, enroll in a child sponsorship, immerse yourself in the donor journey and try it yourself. I am a believer.

Luke S.1

Donor

Rating: 5

My company, Study Group, has been partnered with Plan for a number of years now and have sponsored over 10 projects around the world to bring quality education to places that need it most. I can personally attest to the incredible work Plan does, as I was able to be present for the opening of a brand new school in a remote village in northern Sri Lanka. This was my companies 10th project sponsored through Plan and it truly is incredible how Plan empowers the local community in every aspect of their projects to ensure long-term sustainability. I can't say enough how amazing this organization is and the difference they truly make in the world.

Donor

Rating: 5

Plan International's approach is to strengthen communities by strengthening the situation of the children and youth. The Plan donor connects to one specific child or youth, but the monthly funds go towards educational, health related and other programs in the area where the sponsored child lives. Yet Plan gently pushes (by sending reminders, by supplying stationary) the direct communication between donor and child. To receive a personal letter 2 or 3 times a year from your sponsored child makes the monthly contributions more real - although you know they go to the community and thus only indirectly to the child. But still, these letters are very special.

I value this approach as many people benefit from it, and thus elevate entire villages or even regions.

My husband and I just recently (March 2017) had the opportunity and privilege to visit our foster child Keysi in the Dominican Republic. The Plan office in the general area where she lives has about 25 to 30 staff members. Over the course of the day many of the social workers take off on their mopeds to check on or teach or hold meetings in their specific village. Each village has a small simple Plan community center. Here are a few examples of the projects and programs that Plan offers or gets involved in in this area: Early childhood stimulation - kind of a kindergarden/preschool to support the physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development of young children. Special support for 3rd and 4th grade children with learning difficulties. Nutritional classes for children and parents. Money management for youth and parents, learn how to save and how to budget, and get micro-loans. Childrens Rights project teaching children about their rights and parents how to discipline without abuse. Empowerment of girls projects with an emphasis on equal right as well as sexuality and prevention of teen pregnancies. There are many more projects, but those were the ones that the Plan people talked about.

Plan organized our visit very well. We had a driver, a translater and a field worker who gave us their whole day to show us around. We first met our foster child Keysi who is 14 years old at school. We pretty much crashed her English class, and it was a very emotional first meeting. Apart from the personal connection I was happy to see that the school was pretty new, in very good shape, and all girls and boys were wearing nice school uniforms, including Keysi. However, I am not sure to what extent Plan contributes to the school, the learning equipment and the uniform, and if the school provides meals or not. At a different school, a small primary school, we met Keysi's mother who is a teacher. This too was a very emotional encounter. The Plan people took all of us including Keysi and her mother to several villages in the area where we met neighbors and friends, and visited Plan community centers. We all went out to lunch to further talk and connect. Later we all drove to Keysi's home and met her father and her brothers. I was pleasantly impressed to see that they lived in a nice small home that they had built themselves over the course of several years. It appeared to have running water and electrical, and Keysi as the only girl had her own bedroom!

Overall I had the impression that Plan is doing an excellent job in this area. I am very happy with this organization. I have been with them for over 20 years. The only thing I wished they would change is that they would allow for the children, once they "graduate" from the program at age 18, to stay in touch with their donors if they so wish. It was always hard for me to just cut off the relation and never hear a word again from the child that's been somewhat part of your life for many years......

2

Donor

Rating: 4

My Dad used to support children via Plan International his whole life. I remember him reading us the letters and showing us the pictures the kids drew over the years and once I started making my own money I followed in his foot steps. I do encourage my friends do support a child since we can make such a difference in these children life with such little effort. I've been with Plan International for over 15 years and now my children and husband enjoy receiving frequent letters from our current child from India.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I am delighted that I found Plan USA. You are doing a wonderful job for children and their families. I worked with children as teacher, counselor and Special Education Specialist for 35 years. I am delighted that I found you. You keep us informed about the children we sponsor and about your work. Communication with "my children" is very important to me. I cannot imagine how you do it, but keep up the great work. The children will be able to have a better life because of Plan Int USA. I wish I could do more, but one thing I can do is pray for all of you.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

My organization has partnered with Plan International for over a decade to support education projects around the world. Through the various development projects we’ve supported over the years, our employees have been able to connect our organization’s mission of supporting student success to Plan’s mission of improving the quality of life for children in developing countries.

Plan staff, both those based in the US offices and around the globe within country offices, are wonderful advocates for children and communities. They’re knowledgeable on the issues facing the various countries we’ve worked in throughout the years. They’ve welcomed our employees with open arms during site visits and share their love of each project.

We’ve also been fortunate to be able to receive updates over the years on the various projects we’ve supported. It’s great to see the continued progress year over year; our employees look forward to these updates.

Our partnership with Plan International is an important part of the culture of our organization and our focus on student success around the globe.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a former Plan employee and a current donor. I can not speak highly enough of Plan, having seen the ins and outs of this organization. The work that Plan does is so incredibly important and to be a part of it feels extremely gratifying.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I work for Study Group, a global education company offering ELT and Higher Education opportunities for international students. Study Group has been partnered with Plan International for many years, sponsoring a large project each year as part of our Building Futures initiative to bring quality education to communities around the globe who lack it. I personally had the opportunity to visit our 2015 project in Sri Lanka, which was the construction of a new primary school in the northern region of Anuradhapura. I certainly can attest to the great work Plan does in each of the communities they work in, and their model is one I wish all international development organizations followed. Plan works at the grassroots level to not only build lasting relationships with each community they work in, but also makes sure to involve every part of the community in the design, construction, and implementation of any project they are facilitating. This ensures long-term sustainability as the community feels a sense of ownership and also has emotional ties to the work being done to better their community for generations to come. Visiting the 2015 school project we sponsored was an experience I'll never forget and makes me proud to know my company is partnering with an organization truly making a lasting difference in so many communities.

1

Donor

Rating: 5


***
I am 77 years old and have been a "foster parent/donor" since my early 20's. I believe in Plan, what they do and what they stand for. I have pictures of my children on my desk where I see them often. It warms my heart to help change their lives for the better. I am a firm believer that, rather than be overwhelmed by all the "stuff" that goes on in the world, it is helping one-on-one that works. It is a win-win. If all of us did that, think of the result! It is amazing what we can do if we just bring it down to that.

***

Thank you,
Susan Stauffacher

Donor

Rating: 5

It was my father who taught me to think, to share, and to be generous. It was my daughter and daughter-in-law who introduced me to Plan International, both were attending college at the time. So it not surprising that I have given to educational institutions and more frequently scholarships to college students and to children of the third world.

Plan International was the perfect philanthropic organization for me as it provided children with the greatest need an opportunity to learn, the communities in which they lived an opportunity to improve their lives through knowledge, and an experience of a lifetime for the teachers and administrators in a far away land. Giving to Plan outright and/or to a sponsored child gives the donor the satisfaction of helping so many with the gift of letters and numbers and the gift of hope and encouragement, good will and friendship.

Make a difference in a young person’s life, get acquainted with another world through newsletters and personal letters, and share your life with another to know the satisfaction of truly giving and taking.

Peggy

1

Donor

Rating: 4

I've been a donor for the last 10+ years, even before we had our own children. Having grown up in a lower middle class family in India myself I was interested in making a difference to at least 1 child in India. I found Plan International. They allowed me to make the most effective use of my humble contribution, which otherwise I wouldn't know how to make it effective.

I really liked the emphasis paid to schooling. I would receive letters from these kids, written in their native language, and it was very heartening to see how these kids progressed.

Once we had our own kids I made sure that I shared the letters and photos of the kids in India who I was sponsoring. It really helped our own kids understand how it works in rest of the world.

This is my 3rd child, and I am so very happy and proud that 2 children benefited from the humble contributions I made. I couldn't have done it without Plan International. Thanks a lot for continuing this work.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

As a new teacher in 1970 I showed a film called "Child of Darkness, Child of Light" detailing Foster Parents Plan's programs in Latin America. My world history students decided to sponsor a child for a year, and I continued the sponsorship of a girl from the Philippines. Since that time, I have sponsored several children from Africa and Asia. The latest young man from Burkina Faso was one of the most interesting and communicative. I will continue my sponsorship and encouragement of the program as long as possible and am considering a bequest in my will.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

My daughter and I have been sponsoring a child through Plan for almost a year. I chose Plan because their model supports communities to solve their own problems. We got to see this in action several months ago when we went to visit our sponsored child in Nicaragua. The community had several projects that they were developing and implementing with financial and technical support from Plan, including creating a self-sustaining system for getting electricity into the community, literacy in the elementary school, and an anti-bullying programs run by teens in the community. The people who lived their, including the kids, came up with the problems and solutions, and Plan was there to provide resources needed to get it going. Our visit was amazing. We got to meet our sponsored child and her family, visit her school and home, and spend time playing with the kids and learning about their activities at school. I came away all the more convinced that Plan was the right choice for our donations.

Donor

Rating: 5

My wife and I have been Plan donors for many years and have visited Plan programs in Africa. I saw first hand that Plan does an extraordinary job of making sure that our donations make a lasting impact in local communities. I saw water wells that had been provided by Plan, schools built by Plan and a number of other wonderful projects that were developed and managed, with Plan's help, by the communities they benefit. Plan does not just drill a well, take a picture and leave. They work in communities for years and they work very hard to make sure their projects are sustainable. After seeing the work that Plan does and seeing how engaged they are in the communities they serve, I know that the donations we make are helping children improve their lives and increasing their chances of finding their way out of poverty. I wish we could do more.

Donor

Rating: 5

Plan International is a great cause and they always keep you informed about the child you sponsor. After initially picking a child from India, I have since let them pick children based on where they have the greatest need and the most difficulty getting sponsors. They are easy to deal with and do not waste money with needless and costly spam. I have been involved with them for 14 years now and hope to be able to do this for many years to follow.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been a supporter and a donor of Plan USA for about a decade. Through Plan USA's programs, we have sponsored children in Kenya and Pakistan, which included writing letters back-and-forth and exchanging books and photos. We have helped women with Micro-finance loans in Vietnam. And, we were a lead sponsor to finish the construction of a primary school in Togo, Africa. The Plan USA organization makes a big impact in the lives of children around the world! Their staff is very professional and knowledgeable. A 1st Class Organization for sure! They make a difference!

2

Donor

Rating: 4

My wife and I have been donors since 1974 and have sponsored 6 children. Last fall I visited 3 schools where Plan is doing its work in Ethiopia and was very impressed with the dedication of the local staff and the work they are doing. In particular I like the emphasis on promoting girls' education.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I started supporting Plan over fifty years ago, and have become acquainted with families all over the world---Italy, Vietnam, Bolivia, Burkina-Faso and more. This has been only through writing---we were never able to visit any of them. I feel that Plan has helped their communities with their living conditions and promoted education, especially among girls. Also, Plan has always been on the ground when a major catastrophe happens, as in Haiti, Nepal and during the Ebola crisis. My daughter has agreed to maintain our support of Plan after we pass.

2

Donor

Rating: 4

I started donating about 18 years ago. The program fulfills the old adage of teaching a man to fish so that he will always have food in the future, not just today with today's handout. I really appreciate the Give Differently program in buying animals and cultivation products for families. I've lost track of how many children I've sponsored, but I'm proud of the good that has been done in each area.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been donating to Plan since 1986. They keep me informed about what is happening to the family that I am supporting and the community in which they live. I like that they partner with local organizations and leave a community when their end objectives have been met.