In 1964, Mrs. Jeanne Clarke Wood, our founder, visited Guatemala and discovered that in many poor communities, children had to work to help their impoverished families. “We found the need in Guatemala was even greater than we had thought,” Mrs. Wood wrote to a friend. “Children — even very small ones — roam the streets selling bits of candy or shoestrings, pencils or even lottery tickets, in a pitiful struggle to earn a living.”

Upon returning home from her trip, Mrs. Wood wrote letters to friends and family seeking assistance for the 95 children that she met on her journey.

Mrs. Wood pictured with a sponsored child in India.

Mrs. Wood was able to quickly connect each of the Guatemalan children with sponsors, thus establishing Children Incorporated and our first affiliated site. Within two years of visiting Guatemala, Mrs. Wood had expanded our child sponsorship program to ten different countries, including on Indian reservations in the United States. Today, with the loyal support of thousands of sponsors and financial contributors, Children Incorporated has blossomed into an organization that provides assistance in 20 countries, including in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and that has assisted over 300,000 children worldwide. One affiliated site in Guatemala has grown to 250 sites around the globe.

Fond memories of our founder

Mrs. Wood was known for her hard work and dedication not only to our sponsored and unsponsored children, but to our volunteer coordinators and sponsors as well. She operated Children Incorporated out of her home for its first four decades, where she was extremely involved in most every aspect of the organization. She had a telephone on her bedside table, and she often answered incoming calls from our coordinators and sponsors well into the evening. Long-time supporters of Children Incorporated have recalled over the years speaking with Mrs. Wood late at night, and have commented that she never minded the interruption of her personal time.

Today, with the loyal support of thousands of sponsors and financial contributors, Children Incorporated has blossomed into an organization that provides assistance in 20 countries and has assisted over 300,000 children worldwide.

The staff of Children Incorporated was equally fond of Mrs. Wood. Mrs. Odell Dunavant, who worked for Children Incorporated alongside Mrs. Wood for many years, stated that there was never a day when she wanted to skip work; she loved her job at Children Incorporated because she loved and respected Mrs. Wood. Mr. Ronald Carter, our current President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Mrs. Wood treated her employees like family. She tried to do little things to make work life more like home life, including having gatherings and sharing meals with the staff. Mrs. Wood valued people; she was funny and personable.”

Mrs. Wood passed away in 2006, yet her legacy continues to touch the lives of children and families around the world. We are so proud to have stayed true to Mrs. Wood’s vision for almost fifty years: we continue to envision a world in which each and every child has the education, hope, and opportunity they need to build a better life.



You can sponsor a child with Children Incorporated in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child that is available for sponsorship.