Why ChildFund Doesn’t Deserve Your Money

Why ChildFund Doesn't Deserve Your Money

ChildFund’s commercials can almost be recited by rote: Alan Sader (or, conversely, Sally Struthers) toots around a third world hamlet, kneeling next to anemic skeleton-children, begging you to donate a few cents a day to sponsor these kids and save their lives. Melancholy piano music tinkles in the background while middle-class guilt is triggered nationwide.

Sally Struthers in Africa for ChildFund

These commercials are probably ChildFund at their most consistent, as otherwise ChildFund’s goals are murky and ill-defined. Beneath the surface, the charity is in a constant state of identity crisis, which has manifested itself in several ways.

ChildFund was known as Christian Children’s Fund from 1951 to 2009 (before that, it was China’s Children Fund). The name change, in this case, is seemingly due to the organization’s inconsistent attitude toward Christianity. ChildFund is baffling in this regard—many devout Christian donors dislike the organization’s secular leanings, while others are uncomfortable with ChildFund’s occasional religious gestures.

For instance, ChildFund has never done any proselytizing and Gospel-spreading when providing assistance to impoverished areas. The nonprofit has claimed that they’re more interested in the Christian virtue of caring for the less fortunate than they are with religious conversions. Conservative Christians have felt a little misled that ChildFund was not ministering to its sponsored children, while most found ChildFund’s position agreeable.

However, if they’re not concerned with issues of religious dogma, then why have they refused donations on religious grounds? Back in 2008, Gen Con, a convention for pen-and-paper and tabletop RPG games, offered the then-Christian Children’s Fund a donation of $17,398. Gen Con planned to donate this money with the best of intentions; they were honoring their recently-deceased founder, who had often given money to Christian Children’s Fund while he was alive.

Most nonprofits who claim not to be interested in spreading “religious messages” would have gladly taken this money. However, ChildFund did not. According to Gen Con officials, the charity didn’t feel comfortable with the donation because of Gen Con’s relationship with the popular pen-and-paper game, Dungeons & Dragons. Dungeons & Dragons is a popular target of fundamentalist Christians because of all the Satanic elements the game endorses… such as pretending to be a dwarf, rolling dice, and listening to a lot of bad progressive rock.

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  10. Frank Burns says:

    The real reason these charities are a horrible idea is that feeding 1,000,000 starving kids today means only that there will be 5,000,000 to feed in 30 years or so. This isn’t just an obvious projection; it’s an empirical reality.

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  13. Charlotte says:

    With regard to some of the hateful comments about teaching people to fend for themselves – Childfund does this both in foreign countries and here in the US. By helping to send little kids to school, building wells to support the teaching of farming techniques and teaching women to be nurses, etc. There are so many charities even here in the states that don’t teach people how to help themselves, but simply band-aid the symptoms.

    The amount of hate here is pretty stunning. If people are so warped with anger over these issues – they ought to do something positive with their actions. Don’t just spew angry words. They will have so much more peace in their lives. Or maybe some of the posters are doing positive actions to improve their immediate worlds – but have not chosen to share it in favor of showing us how angry they can be.

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  26. disqus_KqNSQc3hQe says:

    @anonymous – Agreed! This should be about the children and nothing else. There’s a photo next to the headline that shows a guy giving a (presumably hungry and/or in need) woman a bible and the caption reads “Thank you, this looks delicious”. I think that rather makes the point. I’d assume any donation refused based on “Christian ” sensibility is so as not to lose Christian doners. The name change clearly reflects the position of the fund – they are not exclusively or fundamentally Christian in terms of dangling help/food in front of starving people who will receive it ONLY if they become Christian . That would be unspeakable! Just feed these kids

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  30. Greg says:

    If you donate to any of these charities that help third world children, you are only perpetuating that misery.

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  47. Lexy says:

    The tears on the little girl look fake. I’ve never seen thick tears like that, other than in movies. They talk about having parasites in their tummy due to food and the water they drink, but they are from indigenous countries. Their parents and or grandparents should know methods that their ancestors used to heal and live like they have been, hundreds of thousands of years before them. Yes, they might have a lack of food, but I dont think they are as sick as this site is claiming. These children are from other countries, and this is just their way of living, just like their parents, grandparents and so on. I dont believe this fund is real, and I hope you dont either!

  48. Jared says:

    What bothers me is that they make it very hard for you to stop donating to them, and they canceled aid to my sponsor-child’s country, and just switched me to another kid without telling me why. I got a letter from the new kid saying thankyou for choosing me and I’m like… wtf is this?

  49. Jonathan Heathman says:

    So you recommend that people don’t donate to the cause of starving and diseased children because the donation isn’t going to preaching the gospel? You need to reevaluate your own Christian stance.

    • earstohear says:

      I don’t think you understand what the “Christian Stance” really is… Everyone dies and loses everything, even little children, even you. If your purpose is to hand out free food and make life better, it will end when your life ends. If you share the “good news” of Christ, it will live into eternity.
      “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” “Man does not live by bread alone.”

  50. David says:

    I just want to know how top-heavy the organization is; I’ve never researched the org, so I don’t know. Don’t care about it’s religious affilitation or lack therein. I am a little jaded about the chubby bearded guy with the sad-faced kids. I’ve been around a lot of poor kids, some of them very underfed…but most little kids seem to naturally smile through it all. I’ve seen kids, poor, half-starved kids vigorously kicking a soccer ball made of rags squealing and seeming to have a good time. Not that cheerful poor kids shouldn’t be helped, the commercials just seem too staged.There is also the issue of birth control, prenatal care, etc., to actually improve the future of these populations. But, if they truly help needy kids with minimum overhead, they’re a worthy charity in my book.

  51. yepi says:

    Thanks for giving me the useful information. I think I need it. Thank you

  52. Lyne from California says:

    My family and I been supporting children through Christian Children’s Fund and now, Childfund International for over 60 years, and will continue to do so. Sadly, this article is full of errors and misinformation. We have found the organization is honest, legitimate, and serves well the needs of children worldwide. We appreciate their efforts and know that by our support, work is being done to feed, educate, and care for innocent children who will have now have a chance of a better life.

    • TMaster says:

      your full of $H!T, nough said you greedy hypocrite

    • Eelo Fudpucker says:

      So you have access to all of Childfund’s financial records?
      How much do you think it costs to run their lengthy commercials?
      How much do you think those at or near the top are making?
      With sixty years under their belt it’s apparent that they have never addressed the root cause of the many hungry children.

  53. Michael Williams says:

    These people are common thieves, they belong in prison, DO NOT give them your money

  54. I think that your perspective is deep, its just well thought
    out and really fantastic to see someone who knows how to put these thoughts
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  55. earstohear says:

    I supported a little girl through this orginazation from age 7 to 18 and always thought well of it. I had always assumed it was a “Christain” organization. It was about the time she turned 18 and left the Child Fund program that they changed the name from “Christian Child Fund” to “Child Fund International”. When they “assigned” a new child to my donations I questioned the name change and ultimately decided to donate to a different organazation.
    In a letter, I asked them why they changed the name and was told they don’t actually promote the good news of Jesus but rather the virtues he espoused in helping the poor.
    After much thought, I responded that I could no longer support their organazation, not because it wasn’t doing good works, but rather because it was a poor excuse for what people really need.
    “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” “Man does not live by bread alone.”

    • Steven Saliba says:

      Exactly. As a Christian, what is the whole point of doing good works if you don’t teach people how to get their soul saved? Nothing wrong with doing good works, but ultimately as a Christian, we have to teach others how to get saved through Jesus Christ.

      God will NOT put young innocent children in hell. Adults who are not saved from their sins will go to hell. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

      Here is a great video explaining the salvation message of Jesus Christ;
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUVKUHNY5Mg

    • RyRy says:

      I’d rather they teach them science and math than waste time teaching them how Jesus turned water into wine.

  56. Guest says:

    What does Hos mean in your title?

  57. sweetsie-o says:

    I can’t get past the sad looking, but healthy looking children in these commercials. Some of them look as though they haven’t had a bath in months. Other than that, I see nothing seriously wrong with any of them. I think sally and alan might just be “pulling our leg.”

  58. John says:

    The commercials are full of crazy drama.. Made me look up the legitimacy of this charity? Would love to find a charity that educate more the feed the poor.. Teach them goals, hope and hopefully birth control… Access to the Internet and developing computer skills is a good tool for starters I think is these poverty stricken 3rd world countries….

  59. Mark J. says:

    Stupidest and most gutless article ever written, hands down!

    Childfund has always held the stance that they aren’t interested in being ‘Christian in teaching’ but rather, uphold the positive christian values taught by the bible, such as helping the poor. As there was no other name for it during its initial formation, that has always stuck until the name change in 2009 now that those value are universal and are found among all beliefs across the board. Suffice to say that the bible isnt a purely error free in its virtues, they have chosen the correct ones for their mission. As a non religious person, I found that admirable and have proudly supported the organization with that firmly in the forefront of my mind. Learning the bible is a purely individualist choice and they respect that, they don’t force it on communities and people who have beliefs that uphold the same positive virtues that Childfund do. Childfund also have one of the lowest fee to donation ratio out of all charities, most work on close to 40-50%. Christian groups who object to Childfunds practises because they dont actually “preach the bible” need to pull their heads out of the sand and accept the positions & beliefs of the greater world community rather than uphold their blinkered and short-sighted views of life.

  60. Ronald Finnigsmier says:

    we have kids in the US that needs help the hell with them over seas. put them on birth control or cut their tubes

  61. Ronald Finnigsmier says:

    birthcontrol

  62. mbgg says:

    The way this organization decides to spend the money is ridiculous! How can you spend 42% on education and only 7% on clean water and sanitation. Do any of you know how many children under 5 die due to the lack of clean water and sanitation in these countries? worldwide, approximately 800,000 children, so what good is spending so much on education when so many children die before they can be educated. Also, 10% on sustainable living, are they crazy! What good does this organization do if they can not provide a decent amount of sustainability to these communities. They pack up and leave, the country is left with absolutely nothing!
    I think it is beyond disgusting that these organizations do not do full assessments of the communities they provide assistance to, and they decide what is good for them and what is not. No body knows better than those people living in the communities in need.

  63. Eelo Fudpucker says:

    With the amount of money they spend on their lengthy commercials it’s obvious more money goes to the organization than makes it to the children.
    I would suggest they use any donations they get to sterilize the people causing this problem by having more children than they can support..

  64. edie says:

    We should help them first of all, then teach them to help themselves as much as possible. I believe God would tell us to feed the hungry. HOWEVER–The TV ad is so disgusting to me. Here’s this portly over well fed man with his arm around a little girl and saying she’s going to bed hungry tonight. Maybe he should give his suppers to her. I’d help them all if I could, but the advertisement to solicit contributions smacks of insincerity.

  65. Kurt Savage says:

    Another reason would be the extreme amounts that they are paid. This isn’t a charity, people are making profit here.

    The President of this farce made a poultry $259,484 in pay. Seems like a nice gig to have. That person sure isn’t looking too charitable, and that’s enough for me to decide this is a scam.
    The ‘insinuated’ cause is a worthy one hence why people working for this fraud are making bank, tugging at the heart strings of America.

  66. pat roberts says:

    This article is devoid of useful information. I came here expecting something more substantial. All I see is some blah blah about religious themes. Who cares? Tell me if the organization is a scam or not. And why. Period. I don’t care about the rest.

  67. oluk says:

    I feel sorry for the children, but if you cannot afford yourself then don’t have children. What must be done is birth control education to stop the overpopulation of sick hungry children. And most of what these charities do is use the donated money to distribute bibles to those people. What the F*** are they going to do with those eat them. WHAT THEY NEED IS FOOD AND CLOTHING, not a worthless pile of lies on paper.
    Stop donating to these crooks, do not fall for their academy award performances.

  68. oluk says:

    Oh and has anybody gone to those countries with the DONATED MONEY to educate these people, to show them basic agriculture, to read and write? Don’t think so. Only Peace Corps volunteers go to those countries to teach and really help the empoverished.

  69. Jim Britt says:

    a fool and his money is soon parted!

    What sad is if a child survives it ends up having 10 or kids for the next generation of Americans to “save”.

  70. Sue Royston says:

    I have been donating to Child Fund since the mid-80’s. I have sponsored many children in Brazil especially. The last child I sponsored from age 2 to the completion of his high school diploma. Because he and his family rec’d health care, they learned about living in sanitary conditions and they were able to lead healthy lives. My dollars provided my sponsored child with meals at school and with all the necessities to get an education. The older he got, the more beautiful his letters became, the more educated and knowledgeable of the world he became. His last letter to me at graduation was how very grateful he was for my help in having CCF (at the time) provide him and his family with so much. His desire was to become a lawyer. And then I started my next sponsored child. I treasure all the letters from my sponsored children from the 30 years of sponsoring. I treasure their gratitude and love. I will continue to sponsor these children. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.

  71. Scott says:

    As a non profit their expenditures are required by law to be publicly available (or they lose nonprofit status.) Second, you cannot gift $1000. Upper limits would be $100 tops, oh, and the fee? $3.50USD flat (source: first hand experience) Third, the Gen Con fiasco was more about the large donation being misinterpreted as representing CCF as a benefactor to the convention, and, in the confusion Gen Con switched charities. By the time the information came out, it was too late to appropriate the funds to CCF. Fourth, going off of their publicly available annual financial reports they spend more of their income on the children and development of their communities by percentage than any charity I’ve ever investigated. If you want a real shocker, check out PETA. The author of this article clearly has done little to no real investigation, or they did and simply chose to lie. “Wake up America” indeed. Educate oneself before believing what you read on the interwebs.

  72. Notice stuff says:

    Why are the “poor” children wearing such clean clothes if they drink muddy water?

  73. Curious says:

    Has anyone else ever seen “Ellen” on one of the commercials on an episode of Law & Order? Strike me down if I am wrong but I believe that “Ellen” is a portrayal of a child who is suffering. I swear I have seen her on SVU.

  74. Horse20 says:

    I’ve always wondered if this was a scam. Seeing all those children saddens me but if I send money I want to be sure that the child receives the money and that the company doesn’t pocket the money.

  75. David Layton says:

    10 cents of every dollar actually goes to food etc..the rest goes to the people who started this buisness,and that’s what it is,a buisness.They couldn’t give a shit about starving children because if they did they wouldn’t have people making six figure pay cheques working for these organisatios. the first people to give should be the people at the top of the organisations by taking massive pay cuts and actually giving the money to the hungry.de-salination plants and pipelines for the water is what they should be giving so crops can be grown etc..but no that would be too easy and of course if these 3rd world countries ever stood on their own two feet the caring buisness’s (sarcasm) would be out on their ass without a job.

  76. atvjoel says:

    Everyone is always worried about racism, shove your racism up your ass. Piece of white trash shit, nigger, beaner, we are all the same. We have the same bodies, people just love to point the finger at others. What I will say is I do think it is not right to have a child when you cant feed it! If you cant afford to feed yourself what business do you have bringing a child into this world. Thats what happens in the USA, they cant afford to have a child and then becomes a burden to the US tax payers. Thats why it pisses me off when people say we dont give enough in the USA, single man gets nailed with taxes and IRS behind him, Maria over here with 8 kids gets thousands a month cash assistance, food stamps, secton 8, free healthcare, free rides to doctors office, free phones, you name it! I have sympathy and have donated to this organization, but I think it is a sin to bring a child into this world that you know you cant afford to fucking feed.

  77. rocky says:

    This is a pretty sad site…..people are pretty nasty and into themselves. No one wants to help anymore. I sure hope there never comes a time when anyone from here needs help. As for the 20% they may or may not take off the top, don’t you think it takes money to drive trucks, order food,…etc..etc..etc??? And I would much rather know at least I am giving someone a chance at life, Be it a small amount, is better than none. And BTW……. JUST WHO ACCORDING TO YOU…. ARE THE FOOLS THAT ARE SUPPORTING THOSE ANIMALS ON TV???????? AND WHY SHOULD ANIMALS BE ALLOWED TO BE HELPED???? AND NOT HUMAN BEINGS?

  78. Richard Stinchcomb says:

    THIS IS A CON GAME ,,,, A JOKE ,,, HAVE SULTY STRUTHERS ,,, GAVE THESE A H S ,,,, ALL OF HER MONEY !!!!!!

  79. Richard Stinchcomb says:

    HAVE THEIR OWN COUNTRY’S GOVERNMENT HELP & SUPPORT THEIR OWN PEOPLE !!!!! THEIR COUNTRY IS SCAMMING OTHER COUNTRIES ,,, IN A GET RICH GET MORE MONEY SCHEME !!!!! ,& SULTY STRUTHERS ,,, IS A DUMB ASS CON ARTIST !!!!!! AND SO ARE HER COHORTS !!!!!!!!

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