FAQs

Common Questions

WHAT IS CHILDREN INCORPORATED?

Children Incorporated is an international nonprofit organization assisting impoverished children in the U.S. and abroad through already established schools, orphanages, and child care centers since 1964. We facilitate sponsorships, maintain several special funds, and manage special projects on an as-needed basis.

Children Incorporated provides resources for children in need in the United States and abroad, because we passionately believe that children everywhere deserve education, hope and opportunity.


WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?

Our administrative office is located just outside of  Richmond, Virginia in North Chesterfield. We maintain nearly 300 program sites in 12 U.S. states and 22 foreign countries.


HOW MANY CHILDREN DO YOU SERVE?

Our sponsorship program serves over 10,000 children each year, and Children Incorporated has assisted more than 250,000 children since the founding of our organization in 1964. In addition, thousands of additional children receive aid each year as a result of contributions from our donors, which allow us to provide feeding programs, aid in educational efforts, and meet health needs as they arise. Such funds have also enabled us to build a housing development and dormitory in our International Division, as well as a gymnasium for one of our American Indian projects.


DO YOU HAVE A RELIGIOUS OR POLITICAL AFFILIATION?

No. Children Incorporated is an independent charity.  We have no religious or political agenda. Our goal is to assist as many impoverished children as possible, and we respect each child’s religious and cultural heritage.

That being said, the projects with which we partner are existing NGOs, and, in some countries, these include childcare facilities that are managed by religious organizations. For example, we support children who live at the Puente Piedra Girl’s Home, an orphanage in Peru that is run by Catholic nuns.


HOW MANY STAFF MEMBERS DO YOU EMPLOY?

Children Incorporated employs sixteen paid staff members at our office.

In addition to our paid staff, we work with volunteers at nearly 300 project sites, comprising schools, orphanages, and community centers. At least one staff member at each of these sites volunteers to administer our services to children in their care.


WHY DO YOU RELY ON VOLUNTEERS TO IMPLEMENT YOUR PROGRAMS?

We work primarily with volunteers for two reasons:

First, we have found that volunteers are in the best position to meet the unique needs of each child. All of our volunteers are teachers, social workers, guidance counselors, school principals, or other childcare professionals. They work with the children enrolled in our sponsorship program on a daily basis, and they observe firsthand the circumstances of each child’s life.

Second, working with volunteers allows us to keep our programs highly efficient. We benefit because we employ only a small number of paid staff. This allows us to devote a higher percentage of our funds directly to our child care programs. Meanwhile, our volunteers benefit because our programs help them to improve the lives of the children in their care.


HOW DO YOU CONFIRM THAT YOUR VOLUNTEERS ARE IMPLEMENTING YOUR SERVICES CORRECTLY?

Each volunteer must submit reports verifying that he or she has appropriately managed the Children Incorporated funds. All project reports are carefully audited at our Richmond, Virginia office. Additionally, our staff routinely visits project sites to ensure that every volunteer is correctly implementing our program.

Our coordinators volunteer with Children Incorporated because we help them to help their children. Our volunteers take great pains to uphold the integrity of our programs, and we are very grateful to them for all that they do!


IS IT POSSIBLE TO VISIT MY SPONSORED CHILD?

It is possible to visit sponsored children; however, since we work with a network of volunteers and projects, we simply cannot guarantee that all projects are open to sponsor visits. Circumstances vary from area to area. If you are interested in visiting a sponsored child, please contact us for specifics relating to the child and project.

If your child’s project does allow visits, we ask that you contact us at least 45 days prior to your planned visit. The Sponsorship Manager who oversees your child’s project will assist you in making arrangements with the program, parents, and program volunteer. Children Incorporated has forms to request the visit and a child protection policy in place that we ask sponsors to follow. This includes a background check at the sponsor’s expense.


WHAT SORTS OF GIVING OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU OFFER?

In addition to our child sponsorship program, which assists children in the United States and 22 other countries, Children Incorporated maintains a variety of special funds that support our efforts in meeting the needs of underprivileged children around the world:

The Seeds of Hope Annual Fund supports administrative costs and will ensure that Children Incorporated can maximize the impact of support we provide to the children we serve. Contributions to this fund will also help us improve existing services to the children in our sponsorship program and make advancements that enable our organization to more efficiently send dollars to the children who need them.

The Shared Hope Fund provides for children awaiting sponsorship. Contributions of all amounts will be pooled and distributed to children in need.

The Hope in Action Fund supports grassroots, community-led programming in the areas of health, education, and livelihood. Gifts to the Hope in Action Fund enable us to work alongside communities in support of long-term improvements to benefit all.

Additionally, we welcome and encourage planned gifts.


I WOULD LIKE TO INCLUDE CHILDREN INCORPORATED IN MY ESTATE PLANS. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO DO THIS?

There are many ways to include Children Incorporated in your estate plans, including bequests, IRA/401(k) designations, annuities, and charitable remainder trusts.  For more information, please contact us at (800) 538-5381. We will work with you to create the plan that best meets your needs.


DOES CHILDREN INCORPORATED PARTICIPATE IN A MATCHING GIFTS PROGRAM?

Yes! Please contact your human resources department to determine whether your company participates in such a program. Matching gifts forms may be mailed to Children Incorporated, ATTN: Director of Development, PO Box 72848, North Chesterfield, VA 23235.


MAY I VOLUNTEER WITH CHILDREN INCORPORATED?

At this time, our only regular volunteers are the on-site program volunteers who manage our project sites around the world.

Sometimes there are volunteer opportunities at our Virginia headquarters. Please call our office at (800) 538-5381 for more information.

Our Sponsorship Program

WHAT IS SPONSORSHIP AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

The sponsorship relationship enables a donor to help support a needy child by means of monthly contributions, and through the exchange of correspondence with a sponsored child, if the donor so desires. A sponsor’s friendship and encouragement is priceless to a child in such circumstances. Indeed, many children value the relationships they establish with their sponsors as much as they value the financial support they receive. There is an opportunity to build a relationship between sponsor and child that can be quite profound.

Our current monthly sponsorship rate is $28, and it goes toward providing basic necessities such as school supplies and fees, food, clothing, and access to health care, among other services.


HOW LONG CAN I SPONSOR A PARTICULAR CHILD?

We hope that you will assist your sponsored child until he or she leaves our program.  This may occur when a child graduates from high school, moves out of our service area, or for a variety of other reasons. Due to the transient state of many families and the difficult circumstances of the regions where they reside, we cannot predict or guarantee how long a child will remain enrolled in the Children Incorporated sponsorship program, although we make every effort to provide services to children for as long as possible.  When a child leaves our program, it is our policy to select another, equally-needy child for you to sponsor, in the hope that you will accept this new child and continue to partner with us in changing lives. Unfortunately, we usually lose contact with youngsters once they leave the sponsorship program (as we do not maintain personal addresses or contact information for any of the children). Even so, the positive impact of your generosity – both upon the individual child and upon his or her community – endures!


WHAT IF I NEED TO CANCEL MY SPONSORSHIP?

Sponsorship is not a binding agreement, and you may cancel your child sponsorship at any time. We recognize that circumstances change and you may be unable to continue your regular contributions. We simply ask that you notify us of your decision so that we may find a new sponsor for the child you sponsor. If you would like to continue supporting Children Incorporated, there are many ways you can help that do not require a monthly contribution. Please see “Other ways to give” for more details.


WILL I RECEIVE UPDATED INFORMATION ON THE CHILD I SPONSOR?

Yes. We will send you updated information and an updated photo about once a year, although the frequency may vary depending upon the child’s location. The typical progress report includes information on the child’s grade level in school, hobbies, and interests.


HOW DO I PAY FOR MONTHLY SPONSORSHIP?

Sponsorship contributions may be made by check, money order, credit/debit card or ACH transfer (debit from a checking or savings account). Checks or money orders may be mailed to Children Incorporated at PO Box 72848, North Chesterfield, VA 23235.  Contributions via credit/debit card or ACH transfer are accepted online or over the phone. The current sponsorship rate is $28 a month ($336 a year). Contributions may be made on a monthly ($28 a month), quarterly ($84 every three months), semi-annual ($168 every six months), or annual ($336 every twelve months) basis.

You may also have these contributions recur automatically (as charges to your American Express, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover card; or as debits from your checking or savings account). Please contact our office at (800) 538-5381, or send us an email at sponsorship@children-inc.org for more information.


ARE THERE DEADLINES FOR SENDING ADDITIONAL MONETARY GIFTS FOR THE CHILD I SPONSOR?

Yes. It takes time to process a gift and send it to the child you sponsor child, particularly if your child lives in a foreign country. To send additional monetary gifts to your sponsored child, please make sure the gift arrives in our Richmond, VA office at least sixty days prior to the date you would like it to be received by the child.


MAY I SEND PACKAGES TO THE U.S. CHILD I SPONSOR?

Yes. Sending a gift can be a way of helping your sponsored child at certain times of the year or letting the child know you are thinking of him or her. Here are some suggested guidelines:

Monetary gifts should be sent directly to our Richmond, Virginia office for processing and distribution, since our project coordinators are not able to process checks or cash.  However, already-purchased items should be mailed directly to your sponsored child’s school address.

We recommend sending a gift valued between $25 and $50 as most appropriate.

If possible, we recommend using a tracking service when shipping a package to the child you sponsor.

If you wish to send a package as a Christmas gift, please mail it to your child’s school address no later than mid-November so the coordinator can distribute the gifts before the school closes for winter break.

For summer gifts, please mail your packages no later than April 15th, as most schools close by mid-May. This will allow the project coordinators time to sort and deliver all packages.


MAY I SEND PACKAGES TO THE INTERNATIONAL CHILD I SPONSOR?

Due to high customs duties and the likelihood of loss, we do not recommend sending packages to programs outside of the United States. Children Incorporated cannot guarantee that the child you sponsor will receive such packages.


MAY I WRITE TO THE CHILD I SPONSOR?

Yes! Corresponding with your sponsored child can be a delightful experience, and you will find your sponsored child’s project address enclosed in the child’s informational brochure. Our project volunteers will translate your letter, if necessary, and deliver it to the child you sponsor.


WHAT SHOULD I WRITE ABOUT?

The children enjoy learning about the lives of their sponsors. Writing about your own family (children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, etc.) is always a good place to start. The children also like to learn about your part of the world, what you do for a living, your hobbies and interests, and any pets you may have.


WHAT IF I HAVE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS REGARDING THE CHILD I SPONSOR?

If you have questions or concerns about your sponsored child, contact us at (800) 538-5381 or email sponsorship@childrenincorporated.org. Depending on the nature of a child-specific question, we may need to contact our volunteer coordinator at the program your child attends for the requested information, but we will get that information to you just as soon as possible, so long that it does not violate the child-protection and privacy laws to which we adhere.


IS IT POSSIBLE TO VISIT MY SPONSORED CHILD?

It is possible to visit sponsored children; however, since we work with a network of volunteers and projects, we simply cannot guarantee that all projects are open to sponsor visits.  Circumstances vary from area to area. If you are interested in visiting a sponsored child, please contact us for specifics relating to the child and project.

If your child’s project does allow visits, we ask that you contact us at least 45 days prior to your planned visit. The Sponsorship Manager who oversees your child’s project will assist you in making arrangements with the program, parents, and program volunteer. Children Incorporated has forms to request the visit and a child protection policy in place that we ask sponsors to follow. This includes a background check at the sponsor’s expense.

Your Contributions

DOES MY GIFT QUALIFY FOR A TAX DEDUCTION?

Children Incorporated has been a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization since 1964. Contributions, therefore, may be eligible for tax deductibility status. We strongly advise you to consult with your tax advisor when making such determinations.


MAY I SEND ADDITIONAL GIFTS FOR MY SPONSORED CHILD (FOR BIRTHDAYS, HOLIDAYS, BEGINNING/END OF SCHOOL YEAR NEEDS, ETC.)?

Yes. Contributions beyond regular monthly sponsorship amounts are always welcome, and there are no minimum or maximum amount restrictions.

With these additional gifts, the needs of the child you sponsor will be addressed first and foremost, and any remaining funds may be shared among other equally-needy youngsters at the same project at the project coordinator’s discretion. Children Incorporated will designate 10% of your additional contribution to cover our administrative and processing costs; this means your sponsored child and possibly other children at the same project will benefit from 90% of the total you send as an additional monetary gift.


ARE THERE DEADLINES FOR SENDING ADDITIONAL MONETARY GIFTS FOR THE CHILD I SPONSOR?

Yes. It takes time to process a gift and send it to the child you sponsor child, particularly if your child lives in a foreign country. To send additional monetary gifts to your sponsored child, please make sure the gift arrives in our Richmond, VA office at least sixty days prior to the date you would like it to be received by the child.


MAY I SEND PACKAGES TO THE U.S. CHILD I SPONSOR?

Yes. Sending a gift can be a way of helping your sponsored child at certain times of the year or letting the child know you are thinking of him or her. Here are some suggested guidelines:

Monetary gifts should be sent directly to our Richmond, Virginia office for processing and distribution, since our project coordinators are not able to process checks or cash.  However, already-purchased items should be mailed directly to your sponsored child’s school address.

We recommend sending a gift valued between $25 and $50 as most appropriate.

If possible, we recommend using a tracking service when shipping a package to the child you sponsor.

If you wish to send a package as a Christmas gift, please mail it to your child’s school address no later than mid-November so the coordinator can distribute the gifts before the school closes for winter break.

For summer gifts, please mail your packages no later than April 15th, as most schools close by mid-May. This will allow the project coordinators time to sort and deliver all packages.


MAY I SEND PACKAGES TO THE INTERNATIONAL CHILD I SPONSOR?

Due to high customs duties and the likelihood of loss, we do not recommend sending packages to programs outside of the United States. Children Incorporated cannot guarantee that the child you sponsor will receive such packages.


WHAT SORTS OF GIVING OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU OFFER?

In addition to our child sponsorship program, which assists children in the United States and 22 other countries, Children Incorporated maintains a variety of special funds that support our efforts in meeting the needs of underprivileged children around the world:

The Seeds of Hope Annual Fund supports administrative costs and will ensure that Children Incorporated can maximize the impact of support we provide to the children we serve.  Contributions to this fund will also help us improve existing services to the children in our sponsorship program and make advancements that enable our organization to more efficiently send dollars to the children who need them.

The Shared Hope Fund provides for children awaiting sponsorship.  Contributions of all amounts will be pooled and distributed to children in need.

The Hope in Action Fund supports grassroots, community-led programming in the areas of health, education, and livelihood.  Gifts to the Hope in Action Fund enable us to work alongside communities in support of long-term improvements to benefit all.

Additionally, we welcome and encourage planned gifts.


I WOULD LIKE TO INCLUDE CHILDREN INCORPORATED IN MY ESTATE PLANS. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO DO THIS?

There are many ways to include Children Incorporated in your estate plans, including bequests, IRA/401(k) designations, annuities, and charitable remainder trusts.  For more information, please contact us at (800) 538-5381. We will work with you to create the plan that best meets your needs.


DOES CHILDREN INCORPORATED PARTICIPATE IN A MATCHING GIFTS PROGRAM?

Yes! Please contact your human resources department to determine whether your company participates in such a program. Matching gifts forms may be mailed to Children Incorporated, ATTN: Director of Development, PO Box 72848, North Chesterfield, VA 23235.