Someone once said, “He who has all the answers isn’t asking the right questions.” We like to think we have both!
Here are some helpful answers to questions we get all the time. Want to talk in person? Chat with our Care Team in Kansas City, Missouri, (que también hablan español) or email us at email@example.com.
What is Children International?
Who do you work for?
How did you get started (and when)?
What's your goal?
Are you a religious and/or political organization?
Who works at your organization?
How can I work at your organization?
How (exactly) do you help kids in poverty?
I want to give in a smart way. How can I be sure you're putting my donation to good use?
But where does my money actually go? Do you give it directly to the kids in your program?
How do you make sure my gifts to Children International are spent wisely?
How do you choose locations to build a community center?
How do you know which children need help?
How can my gift do so much?
Can you provide specific figures?
Is my gift tax-deductible and how can I get a tax receipt?
How can I make a gift?
What is child sponsorship?
Do you help kids in the United States?
Am I my child's only sponsor?
Can I cancel my sponsorship or monthly giving commitment?
What happens if I can't continue being part of a child's team (or have to cancel my sponsorship)? Does my child lose the benefits of the program?
Can I suggest a new sponsor for my child (such as a family member or friend)?
Can I sponsor more than one child?
What can go wrong?
Can I contact my child?
Wait, back up. Why would my sponsored child have access to Facebook?
Can I send Children International funds to buy my child a gift?
What about gifts for birthday and Christmas?
Can I ship a gift directly to my child?
Can I visit my child?
What happens when my child graduates from the program?
We're the one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Kansas City — proud hometown of the world's best BBQ, great jazz and some pretty amazing sports teams. (Side benefit: Living and working in the U.S. Midwest keeps our overhead costs low.)
But our mission goes well beyond our great city: We help kids around the world break free from poverty. Through a proven approach, local staff in each country and 70+ community centers strategically located in 10 countries (Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, the Philippines, the USA and Zambia), we're working to give our kids the tools to grow up healthy, educated, employed and empowered to break the cycle of poverty.
And when we say "we," we mean "you," too! After all, we can only accomplish our goals if we do them together.
We believe that all change starts with ONE person. And we're bringing together a movement of people who make a real difference in the world. We call that the power of (every)ONEsm.
Our kids. Half the kids in the world (about a billion) are growing up in poverty. And while global poverty is a huge and complex problem, it's also solvable. In fact, we've got a bold plan to help.
We've been around awhile. Back in 1936, our organization was originally dedicated to healing disabled children and providing outreach to widows and orphans. Today we have about 300K kids in our program and more than a million graduates.
To help end global poverty. And we believe the best way to solve poverty is to start with children and teens.
Most kids born into poverty have very little control over their lives and futures, so we're working to change that. We believe we can make a difference in the world and poverty is a solvable issue. We also believe once you break the cycle of poverty for one child, you'll impact generations to come.
Our goal is every child graduates from our program healthy, educated, employed and empowered to break the cycle of poverty.
No, our supporters, volunteers, staff, children and their families span all beliefs and backgrounds. And we all share the same goal: breaking the cycle of poverty.
Everyone … we all work really hard here. :)
We have about 200 amazing people here in Kansas City, Missouri, and around 1,200 more amazing in-country team members who support our agencies and community centers around the world.
If you're interested in meeting some of our people, you can find out more about our leadership and our president and CEO, Susana Eshleman. Also, our board of directors, a group of passionate business and nonprofit-minded individuals, helps oversee our organization.
If you'd like to talk to someone directly, you can always call, email or chat with our Care Team.
If you want to join our team, we'd be thrilled! We're looking for the best, brightest and most passionate people on the planet. You can check our career opportunities to see openings.
In four key ways. We offer:
First, we love people who do their homework, especially when it comes to how they spend their giving dollars. In 2016, 90% of our total expenses supported the programs and activities that help our kids. We work hard to keep our overhead costs low, so that our kids can have as many benefits as possible.
Here are a few of our credentials:
You can see your impact in person by visiting your child and taking a tour of their community center, where you can talk with our in-country staff directly.
Great question. We have short and long answers below.
Short answer: No, we don't give funds directly to the kids, but your support is invested directly into programs that impact your kids' future.
Long answer: Your giving dollars ensure our kids have access to our community centers, as well as caring local staff and volunteers.
Many of our expanded programs need additional funding, so not every child and youth is able to participate. We're working to change that.
In 2016, we're adapting how we deliver our programs so that each country can deliver better, more customized support to our kids. Our mission is that every child graduates from our program healthy, educated, employed and empowered to break the cycle of poverty.
P.S. Many sponsors also choose to give extra gifts to their child's family, which works a little differently.
We take a lot of security steps to ensure your donations are safe and support programs that deliver the most impact. For starters, your donation is directly deposited into the bank, which means the donations are handled in a secure and professional way from the moment they are received. We also have independent CPA firms that audit each agency twice a year. Plus, we do our own internal agency audits annually. To top it off, you can visit our community centers and see for yourself how your impact directly benefits the kids! (Have other questions? Just ask!)
We look at areas with the highest concentration of poverty, usually urban slum communities. Using government data and statistics, we identify major cities and then seek to understand what the need is and what other services are offered in those communities.
Our local social workers determine which families need the most help. After meeting with families, our team uses an assessment tool to determine if the families are eligible.
We work hard to keep costs down while keeping the quality of our programs way up. To do that, we:
Absolutely. Check out any of this official paperwork, and if you want to learn more, you can also contact our Care Team.
Yes. If you live in the U.S., your gift to Children International is tax-deductible. Getting your tax receipt is easy! Just login to see your giving history and print a copy of your tax receipt.
Simply put, you're investing in the life of a child.
You're connecting the child with a team of people who are ready to help. Who is part of the team? You, of course, as the child's sponsor and champion. Plus, everyone at the community center: doctors, dentists, tutors, social workers and more. Our staff here in Kansas City is on the team, too. And most importantly, your child and her family also becomes a part of her own team.
If you choose, you can exchange messages and photos to keep up with what's going on in your child's life. You can even visit! By reaching out to your child, you can offer encouragement when the going gets tough.
Yes, we have a unique program in Little Rock, Arkansas, a state where nearly 1 in 3 children live in poverty. Child poverty in the U.S. is a major issue. Currently 15% of the population in Arkansas lives below the poverty line. And in many cases, kids feel the impact the most.
There are about 3,000 CI kids in our U.S. program, which provides after-school programs, summer camps, health education, dental care, computer education and college-prep courses.
If you're participating in our international program, then yes! Our U.S. program works a little differently — you join a team with other sponsors (because costs are so much higher).
Also, you may not be your child's first sponsor. Your child may have had a previous sponsor who couldn't continue their support due to financial reasons or other life circumstances.
The upside? Our kids know that lots of people — but in particular, you — are interested in their lives and encourage them to have better futures!
Yes, at any time. If, for any reason, you can't continue sponsoring your child, you can cancel your monthly giving by calling or contacting our Care Team. If you have a temporary financial hardship and would like to plan on renewing your sponsorship in the future, please call us so we can discuss ways you can stay connected with your child.
No way. We make a commitment that we'll be a part of their lives until they graduate from our program. Our team members around the world have invested time in our kids' futures, and we work to find a new sponsor as soon as possible.
If you run into financial hardship, we may be able to suspend your monthly gift commitment for a short time and keep you as a child's sponsor. Please call our Care Team at 800-888-3089 to learn more.
Yes, absolutely. Just contact our Care Team to connect us with your (willing) family member or friend.
Yes! Being a part of many children's lives is incredibly rewarding and a wonderful way to learn about different countries around the world.
Our children live in very tough circumstances beyond their control. Sometimes a child's family may move and the child will no longer have access to our program. In those instances, we can introduce you to another child.
You can write and send photos anytime. (We can't overstate how much your child would love to hear from you. Our kids especially love getting pics!) If you want to send messages, it's easy through our online writing tool, or you're welcome to kick it old-school and send letters to Children International, PO BOX 219055, Kansas City, MO 64121. Make sure to include your full name, account number, your child's name and your child's ID number.
Not sure what to say in your letter? Check out these great tips and topics.
Please keep in mind that other than photos, we can’t forward anything of any value with your letter. The bureaucracy, customs and other fees that can be involved make it a real challenge. If you want to send something to your child, consider providing an extra gift instead.
Important note for Ecuador mailings: If you're using traditional paper-based communications — letters, greeting cards, postcards and photos — leave out extras like stickers or bookmarks. (You wouldn't believe the headaches they cause in customs as well as the time and cost to process them. Sometimes it can even take extra weeks or months to arrive!)
We also want to point out that our child-protection policy is very strict. Our kids are the top priority, so we review (and translate) every letter before sending it to your child. But don't worry. There's no judgment on any misspellings.
Finally, we also prohibit connecting with your child on social media or sharing any personal contact information. In fact, if your child reaches out to you via Facebook (Instagram, Twitter, etc.) or contacts you directly, it could jeopardize her enrollment in the program.
If we seem overly worried, just know that everything we do is to protect the well-being and safety of our kids.
Poverty looks different depending on the country. In fact, more people have access to a cell phone than a toilet. So, your child may have access to technology (including Facebook) even though her life is extraordinarily difficult. Here are a few other facts about global poverty and technology you might find surprising.
Yes, we consider these to be "extra gifts." Because of the time it takes to deliver an extra gift to your child, the minimum amount is $50. If your gift is $100 or more, you can let the family decide how your gift should be used or you can make note of suggestions, such as buying groceries or getting your child a bed or clothes. Plus, you'll receive photos and a thank-you note from your child with a detailed list of purchases!
It's actually pretty thrilling — and fulfilling!
But you can support your child and the other children in the community in other ways that provide even greater long-term impact, such as helping to fund a community center or giving directly to our programs.
Every kid in our program receives a birthday gift and a Christmas gift. Every one! About two months before Christmas and again before your child’s birthday, we’ll send you a letter giving you the opportunity to make a holiday donation. Then we combine all our sponsors’ contributions to make sure every kid gets a gift of equal value for these special occasions.
Sponsors frequently ask if they can send packages directly to their kids. But here are three reasons we don’t recommend it:
Instead, we prefer that you send an extra gift if you want to give your child additional support.
However, if you’re willing to take the risk and pay these extra expenses, drop us a note via email or call us. We’ll give you all the details, including the address of our office in your child’s country.
You should definitely visit your child! Imagine how great it would be to see the impact of your sponsorship in person! You can learn more about planning a visit here.
Celebration! This is an incredibly momentous occasion! Whether you've been your child's sponsor for 12 weeks or 12 years, you've helped her cross the finish line. Our goal is for every child to graduate from our program healthy, educated, employed and empowered to break the cycle of poverty. But we can only do it with your help.
If you want to keep in contact with your child after she graduates, we'll provide info about how to stay connected. If you'd like, we can also introduce you to another child who needs a team member, so you can continue to help kids in poverty.
If you have other questions, please reach out to our Care Team. We'd love to hear from you!