Last Updated on February 7, 2024
There’s always an amazing sense of personal fulfillment that comes with supporting a charity organization. That’s especially true for an organization that champions the socioeconomic rights of underprivileged children.
The good news is that ‘support-a-child’ charities are all over the place. Most of these organizations seek to empower children by sponsoring them through school and college. Other charities are more concerned about the personal safety of children, particularly those coming from abusive homes or children separated from their parents due to interethnic conflicts, politically instigated massacres, or natural calamities.
When looking for the best ‘support-a-child’ charity, it’s important to do some digging and establish an organization’s reputation before donating to them. Unfortunately, cases abound where funds intended for uplifting the livelihoods of disadvantaged children are misappropriated with careless abandon. You can prevent your donations from falling into the wrong hands or being misused by checking the reputation of a charity organization on review websites like charitynavigator.org.
Better yet, you can save yourself the trouble by choosing any of the following sponsor-a-child charities.
1. Save The Children
Founded On: April 15, 1919, in London, United Kingdom
Headquartered In: London, United Kingdom
Countries Served: Over 115 countries
Official Website Link: http://www.savethechildren.org/
Save The Children is one of the oldest and most reputable support-a-child charities around, with a history dating back more than a century ago. The organization has received billions of dollars in donations towards uplifting the livelihoods of disadvantaged children. Those funds have been channeled into funding the education of needing children, offering better medical and nutritional care, protecting children from undue harm, and offering disaster response services.
Save The Children deals in various types of sponsorships, including monetary donations and gift catalogs. There’s also the option of supporting children directly. In this case, the charity only acts as a medium that links up donors with needy children. The charity is available in over 115 countries worldwide.
2. Plan International
Founded In: 1937
Headquartered In: Woking, Surrey, England
Countries Served: 71 countries
Official Website Link: https://plan-international.org/
Plan International was founded in 1937 as ‘Foster Parents Plan for Children in Spain,’ with a view to ensuring that children live a life of justice and dignity. The charity works in 71 countries across the world, mostly in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
Plan receives support in the form of monetary donations, gift catalogs, direct child support, or project sponsorships. The support goes towards funding projects in the areas of education, social justice, financial security, child protection, healthcare, and disaster response. The charity also undertakes programs aimed at raising awareness on sexual and reproductive health issues faced by children all over the world.
3. World Vision
Founded In: 1950 in Portland, Oregon, United States
Headquartered In: Monrovia, California, United States (administrative center) and London, United Kingdom (executive office)
Countries Served: 100 countries
Official Website Link: https://www.worldvision.org/
World Vision was founded in 1950 by Robert Pierce and Frank Phillips as a missionary service organization with a view to offering emergency response services in crisis areas like East Asia. Over time, the organization introduced child sponsorship programs. It currently serves 100 countries spread across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.
World Vision takes a holistic approach while dealing with challenges affecting children. That includes sponsoring children through school as well as taking care of their medical and personal security needs. To identify needy children, the charity works in collaboration with local community leaders.
4. Direct Relief
Founded On: August 23, 1948, in Santa Barbara, California, United States
Headquartered In: Santa Barbara, California, U.S
Countries Served: 80 countries
Official Website Link: http://www.directrelief.org/
Like most reputable support-a-child charities, Direct Relief began as a small initiative aimed at poverty eradication. With time, the humanitarian aid organization was able to isolate child welfare as one of its priority areas.
Direct Relief seeks to improve the health and livelihoods of children affected by pandemic diseases, poverty, and natural calamities. The charity liaises with local communities in a bid to build capacity and strengthen existing infrastructure. Although the selection process can be a bit rigorous, this charity accepts children of all faiths, cultural beliefs, and political affiliations.
5. Compassion International
Founded In: 1952 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
Headquartered In: Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S
Countries Served: 24 countries across 4 continents
Official Website Link: https://www.compassion.com/
Originally known as The Everett Swanson Evangelical Association, Compassion International was established in 1952 by Everett Swanson to help children victims of war in South Korea. But even after the war came to an end, this charity continued to champion the rights of disadvantaged children in Korea and various countries around the world.
Compassion operates within the tenets of the Christian faith, with a vision of “releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.” Some of the top focus areas include education, disease prevention and treatment, poverty eradication, and emergency preparedness and response.
Founded On: March 26, 2000, in The Bronx, New York, United States
Headquartered In: New York City, New York, U.S.
Countries Served: United States
Official Website Link: http://www.donorschoose.org/
The bulk of DonorsChoose’s child empowerment programs are meant for children living within the United States. So, the organization doesn’t have the global reach of other charities on this list. But if you’re based in any state within the U.S. and are looking for a transparent and reputable charity to sponsor a child, then you should definitely look in the direction of DonorsChoose.
The organization mostly offers support in the form of education funds. Since its inception, DonorsChoose has supported hundreds of individual classrooms across all 50 states as well as in the District of Columbia.
7. Charity: Water
Founded In: 2006 in New York City, New York, United States
Headquartered In: New York City, New York, U.S.
Countries Served: 28 countries in Africa and Asia
Official Website Link: https://donate.charitywater.org/
True to its name, Charity Water is a charity aimed at enhancing access to clean water. The organization, which was founded in 2006 by Scott Harrison, believes that access to clean and safe water can help solve many perennial health issues, especially for women and girls. To achieve that goal, the charity invests a substantial portion of its donation towards funding the ambitious Pipeline Program.
Charity Water also works in partnership with local experts and community leaders to identify sustainable solutions to their challenges. It then offers direct training on its priority areas, such as public health and general hygiene.
Founded On: November 20, 1981
Headquartered In: Kansas City, Kansas, United States
Countries Served: 18 countries
Official Website Link: https://www.unbound.org/
Unbound, formerly known as Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, is a nonprofit sponsorship organization founded in 1981 by ordinary Catholic workers. The charity offers basic amenities to children in need, including food, clothing, education, and access to medical care. Besides children, Unbound also allows sponsorships for underprivileged adults and elderly people from vulnerable communities.
Like other support-a-child charities on this list, Unbound seeks to find sustainable solutions to poverty by building capacity in local communities. This is also one of the few charity organizations that have demonstrated remarkable transparency in terms of accounting for its donations. It will interest you to know that up to 93% of the support the charity receives goes directly to funding its empowerment programs.
The following are the top eight ‘support-a-child’ organizations based on transparency and reputation. As a parting shot, always give priority to local charities when looking for a place to sponsor a needy child. Or, insist on an organization with a global reach and preferably one with a branch near you.