Frequently Asked Questions
A message from the Child Foundation Team
Greetings. We fully understand the trust you place in Child Foundation as an ethical, impactful nonprofit, nonpolitical, and nonreligious agency in our mission of helping children from poor families access and succeed in education for a better future. We are fully compliant with laws in our humanitarian support to sanctioned countries, including Iran, using general licenses and a specific license from the U.S. Government. You will find information about how we help children with the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you want to learn more about us and how to further help children achieve safe, healthy, and fulfilling lives.
Thank you, and Best Wishes,
The Child Foundation Team
General FAQs About Child Foundation
1) Who is the Child Foundation, and where do you work?
2) What is the Child Foundation’s mission and purpose?
Our mission and purpose as a public charity is to support underprivileged children succeed in education and achieve safe, healthy, and fulfilling lives. Child Foundation supports children and their respective households to overcome the burdens of poverty and other challenges.
3) Who runs Child Foundation?
4) What are the conditions and the process of Board membership of the Foundation? What experience and knowledge are expected from members?
The Child Foundation has a comprehensive process, but in summary, the individual first submits their resume to the Development Committee. After an initial evaluation, an interview is conducted, and once approved, they participate as an observer or a non-voting member in all Board of Directors meetings for a period of one year. Post one year period, the Board of Directors may approve the individual to join as Director of the board. Within its board, the Child Foundation has financial, legal, development, and executive committees, in which members participate based on their experience and knowledge. All board members are volunteers.
5) What are the duties of the board members?
The Board is responsible for ensuring CF is effectively pursuing its mission and fulfilling its organizational goals. The Board is also responsible for ensuring all the organization’s activities comply with applicable laws and regulations. They are responsible for approving the Foundation's major decisions, developing goals and strategic plans, budgeting, and overseeing financial and legal compliance.
6) Do members of Child Foundation (employees, managers, and board members) believe that there is a need for improvement in financial matters? What areas specifically? And what plans do you have for addressing this?
Yes, CF always strives to increase the revenue while optimizing operation efficiency to reduce expenses. One example is an implementation of a powerful CRM system. This system allows sponsors to have access to payment information, child profiles, progress reports on students, etc. This can contribute to reducing overhead costs for Child Foundation as well.
7) What about Child Foundation’s partners in other countries?
Our partners in other countries are completely separate organizations from Child Foundation, registered in their own countries. Child Foundation has an arm’s length relationship with them, we do not have the same staff or individuals on Board or Trustee bodies governing the organizations. All of Child Foundation's partners are nonprofit agencies.
8) Does Child Foundation have the necessary licenses and have permission to support programs in sanctioned countries such as Iran and Afghanistan?
Yes. Child Foundation programs are in full compliance with U.S. Government sanctions law. In Iran and Afghanistan, for example, there are general licenses that entities can use for humanitarian purpose that do not need specific permission. However, for some support, a specific license is required.
Child Foundation has a specific license from the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of Treasury to provide humanitarian support to underprivileged children in its child sponsorship program. The latest such license is valid through January 31, 2025.
Child Foundation utilizes OFAC General Licenses E and G allowing us to raise and send funds for humanitarian efforts, including support to relieve suffering from earthquakes, floods, COVID and other crises; and to increase access to education for nonprofit purposes. Examples of support for increasing educational access to disadvantaged Iranian students includes laptops, tablets, internet access, backpacks, and other school supplies to increase access to education of disadvantaged Iranian students.
Imported food to Iran for humanitarian purposes is not subject to sanctions, and we apply for this support in our Iranian cosponsorship program (see below). The food is combined with cash stipends for students from sponsors within Iran, and with cash stipends from the U.S. for most students through our OFAC specific license. With the combined support from within Iran, we call this our "cosponsorship program."
9) How is the fund transferred to Iran? Does public have access to Bank Drafts and other financial documents in this regard been possible in the past year?
In accordance with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations, all amounts are transferred to the bank accounts of our partner organizations in Iran through exchange offices. These organizations are responsible for distributing the funds to the designated bank accounts of the students or their mothers or for purchasing and delivering food supplies as per the received list. Every three months, activity reports are submitted to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the United States Department of State. The report includes the amount of funds transferred, the name of banks and exchanges, and the recipient of the fund. Financial documents for the past ten years are available on our website, which have been approved by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and our certified accountants.
10) How do you calculate the exchange rate to Iranian currency (Rials)? Are there records of transaction for current and past years?
Currently, we use the website BonBast.com to obtain the exchange rates, which have no relation to the Iranian government’s official exchange rate, and it is based on the market rate. All documents related to market rates exchange are kept for internal tracking.
11) How do you ensure the funds you receive are spent as your sponsors intend?
Child Foundation has an experienced accounting staff and a credentialled controller to ensure funds are spent in accordance with regulations, our donors’ intentions and nonprofit best practices. We voluntarily perform an annual independent audit that complies with Internal Revenue Service’s regulations. Full financial statements are available on our website. Child Foundation has tracking processes tracing resources directly to children and households and has an annual on-the-ground program assessment/audit to confirm humanitarian support gets to the intended beneficiaries.
12) On the CF website, it is stated that 100% of sponsorship amounts goes toward "Services and support" expenses. Does this mean that the exact equivalent amount is provided in cash and items? If not, what does it mean, and what does it include? What percentage of this amount is allocated to project expenses?
Approximately 10% of sponsorship amount is allocated to program costs supporting children, including social workers assigned to students. This amount varies annually. As per the standards defined by all charitable organizations in the United States, annual reports are available on the website.
13) How can I evaluate Child Foundation's financials, tax forms, and operations?
There are many ways that you can check Child Foundation's financial history and operations. As a public charity, we are registered with the following organizations. You can check their website to see how they've rated us.
Charity Navigator: America's premier charity evaluator has given Child Foundation their highest rating (Four Stars).
GuideStar: The national database of nonprofit organizations operating in the U.S. has given Child Foundation its gold rating (Gold Status).
Independent Charities of America: ICA has provided Child Foundation with their highest seal of approval (Best). Out of over a million charities in America, fewer than 2,500 have been awarded this seal, and Child Foundation is one of them.
Child Foundation's programs have been endorsed by the United Nations and we are currently registered with the Department of Public Information Non-governmental Organizations (DPI.NGO).
Child Foundation's annual and fiscal reports are always available to the general public. You can read our annual reports here and view our financial reports (done by an independent auditor) and our tax returns here .
14) What is the sponsorship program?
Our Sponsorship Program across all countries provides ongoing economic stability and counseling for children in need, enabling them to remain in school. Sponsorship creates a unique relationship between an individual donor and a sponsored child. By pairing up a child with a sponsor, this child is able to obtain the necessary relief that they need. Generally, children sponsored through Child Foundation's programs are often supported for their entire academic careers. For some children, this is until high school, for others, it may include college. Sponsor a child now!
15) Have you been audited by any US government agencies?
Yes, the IRS has conducted two full audits. In 2012 the audit committee of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) examined all of Child Foundation's accounts for the previous five years and concluded that all income, expenses, and credits had been reported accurately. The IRS letter verified Child Foundation can continue to qualify for exemption from Federal Income Tax and hold its nonprofit 501(c)(3) status.
Additionally, a thirteen-month IRS audit came to a close on May 1, 2020. The IRS examined two years' worth of documentation, including all governing instruments, contracts, licenses, board and committee meeting minutes, and accounting and financial statements. Specifically, the IRS auditor examined:
- Every wire transfer sent by Child Foundation over the prior two years, including those sent to Afghanistan and Iran.
- Each memorandum of understanding (MOU) sets out how Child Foundation works with partners.
- Each key employee has transparent reasonable wages.
- All donations are being applied to the intended campaign or child with only reasonable and reported overhead cost reductions.
- The criteria for selecting children eligible for programs and how needs are assessed. The internal auditing process were reviewed, verifying children receive resources and use them to support their education.
- Our independent audits and related records.
Child Foundation received a flawless finding from IRS with no changes to our status as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. The successful audit was no surprise to Child Foundation. We are proud to be a top-rated and transparent organization that puts the welfare of children at the center of all we do.
Working internationally requires careful financial safeguards. Be assured, Child Foundation has never taken or distributed donor resources for personal gain, is in compliance with regulations pertaining to foreign corrupt practices and OFAC sanctions regulations, and has never laundered money to foreign governments, religious or political entities.
16) What % of my donation to a Child Foundations program goes to families in need?
100% of every sponsorship payment goes to services and support to the sponsored children you help. This means there is no overhead amount removed from your sponsorship payments.
Other donations go for the specific purpose to which the gift is intended, and undesignated donations go to our most urgent program and other vital agency needs.
Child Foundation has one of the lowest overhead costs for a child welfare agency working internationally, meaning the amount of donor resources that goes for services and support to children, is comparatively very high. Charity Navigator monitors this, please see here. We invite you to also check the program support/overhead rates of other child welfare charities.
17) In addition to Sponsorship donations, CF receives one time donations. Are these donations conditional/restricted where the donors specifically allocate them for a certain purpose? Or are they unconditional/unrestricted and allocated based on the foundation's needs and discretion
The donations are categorized as follows per donors donations:
1. Restricted sponsorship fund
a. Monthly sponsorship
b. On-time Donation
2. General Restricted Fund
a. Country Specific projects
b. Project Specific for any country
3. General Unrestricted Fund
Depending on the specific project or campaign, funds are allocated accordingly. For example, a campaign may be initiated for "Back to School," Nowruz (Iranian New Year) gifts.). Donors can contribute any amount, and the total amount collected is dedicated to the campaign and is accounted for separately in our financial records. Once collected, the funds are sent to the registered partner organizations in Iran, Afghanistan, or any other country involved. Reports related to these funds are published on our website, monthly newsletters, and an annual performance report is also issued.
18) Regarding conditional/restricted donation assistance (e.g., earthquake relief projects), is it possible to have unused funds after the completion of such projects? If there are remaining funds, what happens to them? Are sponsors aware of this situation?
Conditional/restricted donation falls under the "General Restricted Fund” Per categories defined in FAQ 16, which is usually specific to a particular country. For example, during the Kermanshah earthquake, Child Foundation successfully collected around $400,000 from its sponsors, and we also contributed an additional $90,000 from our General Unrestricted Fund for a total of $490,000 sent to Kermanshah. In the unlikely event, any remaining fund will be kept in the General Restricted Fund to be utilized in the subsequent project or initiative in the same country.
If Child Foundation wishes to allocate restricted funds to purposes other than those specified by donors, CF must obtain approval from the sponsor/donor.
19) What % of amount of donations which falls under General Restricted Fund, is directly sent to program?
Approximately 90% depends on the allocation/purpose of donations.
20) What does overhead include?
Overhead is generally defined as a combination of “management & general,” plus “fundraising” expenses. Based on the Form 990, a nonprofit has three categories of costs: Program, Management and General, and Fundraising. Management and General plus Fundraising make up overhead costs.
21) In addition to reported overhead per annual report, what other expenses - including program and other costs - are deducted before the Restricted fund reaches the children?
Depending on Fund categories defined in FAQ #12 and #17, the amount received by children varies from 75% to 90%.
22) How does Child Foundation send my contribution to my sponsored child?
All children selected for sponsorship support are from poor families, often living in a female headed household, where the primary breadwinner, such as a father is absent. All students must demonstrate motivation and success in their studies to keep receiving sponsorship support. All the students and households receive counselling support from a social worker, para-social worker or educational counsellor.
Child Foundation facilitates connections between sponsors and children when requested, and also visitations if and when a sponsor visits the country where the child resides. This is a supervised procedure by social service worker to protect both children and families. It is considered the best practice in global child welfare programs.
Afghanistan, Indonesia and Nepal Sponsorship Programs
Your donation is sent to the child or children you are sponsoring in the form of a financial stipend. The stipend supports the child's education by helping with their school-related costs and other basic needs expenses so they can focus on learning.
Cambodia and Tajikistan Sponsorship Program
Your donated dollars are sent to the sponsored child's education program as tuition so that the child receives lessons or extra-curricular and tutoring support to excel in school.
Iran Cosponsorship Program
Your donated dollars purchase and distribute food packages and cash through the OFAC, specific lincense for students and their family. The food is imported into Iran, adhering to US sanctions that do not require a license to send food. We prioritize non-perishable and culturally typical foods like rice, lentils, beans, chickpeas and soy. Sponsors in Iran provide cash stipends.
23) Has the Child Foundation ever allowed factors such as the city, ethnicity, or religious prefix (e.g., Sayyid, Sadat) to influence the process of finding a sponsor? Has this ever resulted in preferential treatment for these children in receiving services?
The Child Foundation includes age, gender, city, and school grade on website, which sponsors can choose from based on their preference CF provides equal opportunities for all children regardless of age, gender, location, grade.
24) If a sponsor wants to know how much total monthly amount their sponsored child needs and how many sponsors provide this amount, does the foundation provide this information?
Yes. In addition, sponsors receive progress reports during the year, which provide detailed information on the child's education, progress, and living conditions. Direct letters from the child to the sponsor and reports from the social worker regarding the student's situation and family are also provided. For Iran Program, each child may have up to two sponsors, one in Iran and one outside Iran. The co-sponsorship is described in the annual report and provided to all donors/sponsors.
25) Is my gift tax deductible?
Yes. All financial contributions made to Child Foundation are deductible from taxable income in the US. Every January, Child Foundation sends an official statement to its donors that reflects all of their donations from the previous year. Our tax ID number is 93-1148608.
26) How can a corporate matching gift program help my child?
Many sponsors participate in their company's Matching Gift Program. Matching Gift Programs enable employers to double, triple, and sometimes quadruple their employee's charitable contributions. Simply contact your human resources department and ask if your company has a Matching Gift Program for public charities. For further information on Company Matching click in here.
27) Does Child Foundation provides humanitarian aid to help children in need?
Although Child Foundation's main goal is to help children stay in school, we provide humanitarian aid to help children and their families when there is an urgent need. Child Foundation has been very active when deadly earthquakes hit Iran, Afghanistan, Haiti, Japan, Pakistan, and Turkey and collected in-kind and cash donations to help rebuild the countries. We also respond with aid during the COVID crisis. Our Afghanistan office regularly organizes blood drives to help children with thalassemia and provides free blood transfusions.
28) How can I help?
There are many ways that you can help Child Foundation assist children in need.
Sponsor a child : Go to our sponsor page and choose one or more children to help.
Donate : You can visit our donation page and choose any of our humanitarian projects in which you are interested and help launch or continue that program through your generosity.
Volunteer : Please complete our volunteer application, and we will contact you to see how we can work together to help children in need.
Spread the Word : Talk to your friends and family about Child Foundation's humanitarian activities and share your own experience with them. If you need copies of our brochures, annual report, lists of our children waiting to be sponsored, or anything else, please contact us and we will send them to you.
Iran Program FAQ
1) How are children identified in Iran? Based on what criteria are potential candidates selected? Is academic performance one of the criteria? What oversight does the Child Foundation USA have over this process?
Children are identified through teachers, school administrators, individual referrals, or through self-referral by their families who become aware of the activities of the foundation and request assistance. They complete an application form and submit the required documents to one of our offices. After reviewing the documents and conducting a home visit and family assessment by a social worker, the information is submitted to our central office, where it is reviewed, inspected, and approved by our sponsorship team. Once approved, the child's information is listed on our website. Yes, academic performance is one of the criteria, but the evaluation of these children is done by the social worker. The Child Foundation does not have direct oversight over the selection process, but once a student is enrolled in our program, they are subject to supervision, auditing, and thorough inspection by our team.
2) On average, how long do children in Iran have to wait from the time of identification and registration until they find a sponsor and receive assistance?
It can take anywhere between one month to four months to find a sponsor for a child.
3) How will the program work?
4) What if I want to give my sponsored child a birthday or holiday gift?
We love it when our sponsors show extra generosity for a child. This is possible and your request will be assessed by a social worker to ensure it contributes to the child’s wellbeing consistent with OFAC licensing requirements. You can make a request for this through our Customer Service department at email@example.com.
5) Why food packages? What’s the impact?
Imported food for humanitarian purposes is not sanctioned by the U.S. Government. Grocery costs are a significant burden for the households of our sponsored students. ' Food insecurity is a significant need for low-income families in Iran. All studies show food assistance for such families improves performance in school. Hungry students struggle with learning. Additionally, the support is generally conditional on students remaining and doing well in school.
6) Why sponsor a child now?
We have hundreds of children today who want to learn and qualify for cosponsorship. Their households significant basic needs. Sponsoring a child today gets food, cash and counselling on the way to disadvantaged students and their households.
7) Why has monthly sponsorship for children in Iran increased to $40?
That's a great question! Based on the assessment of our partners', the families' basic needs are much greater than support provided in the previous $20 sponsorship. Multiple economic factors in Iran have led to food and other cost of living surges. Families struggle in the sluggish economy with high un- and under-employment. These factors increase our children's risk of skipping meals or dropping out of school. The $40 monthly support will substantially increase the basic needs support children and their families receive and have greater impact on their wellbeing.
Please also note that no overhead cost is deducted from sponsorship payments. Every dime you give your sponsored children goes to support them in the program they are enrolled in.
8) How can I verify my child gets their food package?
Our Iran partner will issue your sponsored child’s student food card and fill it each month with credit for the food Child Foundation imported. The third party grocery store will report the food claimed to our Iran office to ensure that families struggling with the process get support. We smartly designed, flexible and efficient system.
Social workers regularly contact the children and want to ensure each family gets the food it needs.
Further, sponsors are welcome to reach out to their sponsored children by letter. Video and phone chats will be available again after the pandemic and current crisis subsides.
9) What will be in the packages?
The food imported and package composition may differ from month to month. We have been successfully delivering a diversity of durable foods to families such as beans, lentils, rice, chickpeas, and soy.
10) Why is Child Foundation’s Iran program different from Child Foundation’s other programs?
U.S. sanctions on Iran are among the strictest in the world. To sponsor Iranian children within these restrictions, we are now importing food into the country with child sponsorship support to help thousands of students in our program to stay and succeed in school.
This food is combined with an OFAC-compliant cash stipend from the sponsorship donation for most Iranian children, as well as support from our nonprofit partners in Iran who provides these services to children. .
We also can send educational funds for our partners in Iran to purchase school supplies and services like laptops, tablets, internet access, books, other critical support for our students.
Our other programs do not have the same sanction limitations, and, as a result, we can support children differently in countries like Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nepal, Indonesia, and Tajikistan.
11) How is this program compliant with US sanctions?
Child Foundation takes U.S. laws and regulations seriously. Our cosponsorship program, with its food, cash and educational supplies support to sponsored children's families, is in full compliance with U.S. general and specific license requirement for Iran.
12) Can Child Foundation send cash to Iran as emergency aid?
Yes, Child Foundation can utilize both an OFAC specific license and general licenses to raise and send funds for humanitarian and disaster relief efforts. We send aid after earthquakes, flooding and during the COVID and other crises. Please check our donor website here to see emergencies we are responding to.
13) Who can I contact for more information?
1) What is happening in Afghanistan?
2) Can I contact my sponsored child about their needs?
Our mission and purpose as a public charity is to support underprivileged children succeed in education and achieve safe, healthy, and fulfilling lives. Child Foundation supports children and their respective households to overcome the burdens of poverty and other challenges.
3) How is Afghan Crisis Fund be used?
What to expect as a new sponsor
1) How soon does my support reach the child I sponsored?
2) How can I communicate with my sponsored child?
All communication between sponsors and sponsored children is supervised by the Child Foundation office in the U.S. and our partners' office in the child’s country. There are three ways you can reach out to the child. The most common means is by writing a letter. Please write your letter either in English or the child’s native language and send it to the Child Foundation office mailing address or email. Sponsors can also request a translated and supervised call or video chat by contacting Child Foundation at CFmain@childfoundation.org or (503) 224-0409. Due to COVID-19 or other crises, a call or video chat may not be possible at this time and we encourage sponsors to write letters.
3) If a child wishes to have a telephone conversation with their sponsor, does Child Foundation allow it and provide the sponsor's contact number to the child and their family? If yes, please explain the procedure. If not, please explain the reasons.
Communications are facilitated through our partners, and direct contact is not provided. Based on the 28-year history of Child Foundation, direct phone calls are not allowed in certain cases to protect the rights of students and their families. Similarly, sponsor information is not shared with families to ensure the privacy and protection of sponsors. These regulations have been put in place due to several incidents and potential disruptions that have occurred in the past between sponsors and families. However, in cases where a sponsor wishes to communicate with the child or meet the child during a visit to Iran, it can be arranged through coordination with our registered partner offices. Private meetings with the student or their family can also be arranged with the approval of the field worker.
4) When is the best time to reach out to my sponsored child?
As initial support can take roughly 1-2 months to reach the child, we suggest sponsors send their first letter or request their first phone or video chat 2-3 months after filling out the sponsorship application. Please see the “How can I communicate with my sponsored child?” question for more.
5) How will I learn of my sponsored child’s progress or milestones?
Roughly every six months, sponsors will receive a progress report prepared by the child’s social workers. Usually, the child’s grades, social worker’s report, new photos, and a letter from the student are included. The social worker will mention urgent needs the family faces so that sponsors can choose to send extra one-time support if they would like to.
Additionally, Child Foundation may notify sponsors two months prior to each child’s birthday and on important holidays that impact the child so that sponsors can celebrate the child with a letter or gift.
6) How can I send a gift or extra help to my sponsored child and their family?
Sponsors can donate an extra amount in a one-time donation for a child’s birthday, holiday, or any time the sponsor desires. Sponsors are also more than welcome to send extra support as a one-time donation based on a child’s urgent needs, as explained in a progress report or otherwise.
Sponsors can always inquire about their child’s well-being by calling (503) 224-0409 or emailing our office CFmain@childfoundation.org. We will reach out to the partner office in the child’s country to learn from the social worker if the child needs extra support at this time. Unfortunately, sometimes family members become ill or unemployed. In natural disasters, homes may be damaged. Depending on the country, sponsors can send extra money for food, rent, clothing, or heat to be used as the family sees fit. The sponsor may also request that a specific item be purchased for the family (i.e., refrigerator, laptop, bicycle, etc.) The partner office will purchase and deliver on the sponsor’s behalf. Child Foundation will receive a receipt and/or other evidence that the child received the gift.
7) How can I be sure my sponsored child receives my support?
Child Foundation has extensive experience in nonprofit accounting and financial management to ensure funds are spent in accordance with our donors’ intentions. Each year, we voluntarily perform an audit through an independent licensed auditing company. The audit complies with the Internal Revenue Service’s regulations. The results and full financial statements are available here .
Additionally, gifts above and beyond the monthly sponsorship for children result in sponsors receiving a thank you letter and evidence the gift was received. For example, if you pay for a bicycle for your sponsored child, you will receive a thank you letter and a photo of the child with the gift once it has been delivered.
8) How does my child graduate or otherwise leave the program?
Child Foundation commits to facilitating the support of sponsored children until they are finished with their education. This means that a child may choose not to go to college after high school, and they will have “graduated” from our program. If they choose to go to college, we hope you will be their sponsor until they have finished their program. We are proud to have medical doctors and researchers among our graduates who received support for master and doctoral programs.
A child can otherwise leave the program or become “inactive” if they no longer qualify based on their family’s improved economic stance, repeatedly poor performance in school even after tutoring and extra classes, unwillingness to cooperate with social workers’ reporting, or other various reasons. As the sponsor, you would receive a notification of the child’s inactivation with a written rationale and a final letter (if possible). At that point, our office will coordinate with you to match you with a new child in need of support.
10) How do I pay for sponsorship?
11) How do I update my information?
To update your address, contact, or credit card information, please call our office at 503-224-0409 ext.34 or go to our website childfoundation.org and go to MyCF – the donor portal. If you haven’t established your account there, you can do so, and then update your information. This also gives you access to many other things, including viewing pictures of children in need of sponsorship.