Christian Foundation for Children and Aging

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Founded November 20, 1981
Founder Bob Hentzen, Bud Hentzen, Jim Hentzen, Nadine Pearce and Jerry Tolle
Type Charitable organization, Non-governmental organization, Child sponsorship organization
Focus Sponsorship
Area served
19 countries

Unbound, formerly the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA), is a nonprofit sponsorship organization headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas. Unbound was founded by lay Catholic workers acting on the Gospel call to serve the poor. Its Hope for a Family sponsorship program provides basic necessities such as food, education, clothing and access to medical care to children and elderly in some of the world's poorest communities. Today, Unbound sponsors support more than 300,000 children, youth and aging persons in 21 countries.[1][2]


On November 20, 1981, Unbound was founded by siblings Bob Hentzen, Bud Hentzen, Jim Hentzen, Nadine Pearce and their friend Jerry Tolle. The siblings wanted to start a nonprofit to honor their late parents. Bob and Jerry were both missionaries who had witnessed firsthand the effects of poverty in developing countries, so they formed a sponsorship organization based on Catholic social teaching.

Unbound’s first headquarters was in Bob’s basement in Kansas City, Mo. Around 1982, the foundation relocated its office to a farmhouse. In 1991, Unbound converted an abandoned warehouse into the office that remains the current headquarters.

Over the years, more than 625,000 children, youth and aging persons and their families have been served through the sponsorship program. Currently there are more than 300,000 sponsored children and aging persons. Groups with no Catholic affiliiation have become committed partners with Unbound.[3][4]

Bob Hentzen explains the new name "Unbound": "We walk side-by-side with people who dream of freeing themselves from poverty, as they strive to achieve self-sufficiency and build strong communities. Our new name sums up our work." And the current president and CEO, Scott Wasserman, agrees; rather than a bunch of initials what "Bob wanted was a single word capturing the essence of Catholic social teaching and empowering the poor."[5]

At Bob Hentzen's death in October 2013, at the age of 77, the National Catholic Reporter eulogized his work.[6]


Sponsorship Program

Unbound uses a sponsorship model of direct support. Its Hope for a Family sponsorship program aims to help families living in extreme poverty by connecting them with sponsors in the U.S. Sponsorship requires a $36 monthly commitment to help fund basic necessities and, in many instances, livelihood programs to help families become self-sustaining.

Sponsors have the opportunity to offer encouragement and support for their sponsored friends through the exchange of letters and photos. They also may choose to travel on Unbound awareness trips to meet their sponsored friends, learn about their lives and see how contributions are used.[7]

Benefits and services provided through sponsorship are personalized according to the needs of the family and may include: food, school uniforms, school supplies, tuition or other school fees, clothing, housing repairs, medical and dental care, livelihood initiatives, literacy training for adults, Christmas and birthday celebrations and social outings and assistance for the elderly.[8]

Scholarship Program

The Unbound Scholarship Program provides educational scholarships to students pursuing secondary, post-secondary and vocational school. Scholarships are used for tuition, transportation, school supplies and books. Recipients are selected by projects based on economic need, commitment to completing their education, demonstrated leadership potential and interest in community service. Recipients perform service projects as a requirement of the program.

Scholarships are intended as supplemental assistance, and families contribute what they can toward the student's education.[9]

Financials and ratings[edit]

More than 94% of Unbound’s expenses go toward program support. In 2010, 2.9% of expenses were for administration and fundraising accounted for 2.8% of total expenses.

Charity Navigator gives Unbound a 4-star rating based on program expenses, administrative expenses, fundraising expenses and operating efficiency.[10]

The American Institute of Philanthropy gives Unbound an A+ rating in its Charity Rating Guide. CFCA is the only child sponsorship organization to hold this rating from AIP.[11]

Unbound meets all 20 standards established by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.[12]

Countries served[edit]

Unbound currently works with children and aging in 19 countries around the world.

Mexico and the Caribbean Central America South America Africa Asia
Mexico Costa Rica Bolivia Kenya India
Dominican Republic El Salvador Madagascar Uganda Philippines
Guatemala Honduras Chile Tanzania
Nicaragua Colombia

Besides the country feedback in the references, find a journalist's personal account of her experience with Unbound in India.[13]


  1. ^ Unbound website,
  2. ^ Shahriari, Sarah. Bob Hentzen walks to help poor children across Latin America Christian Science Monitor. May 2, 2011.
  3. ^ Lansing Youth Mission. Accessed 14 August 2016.
  4. ^ United Methodist. Accessed 14 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Unbound" from Cathloic Key. Accessed 14 August 2016.
  6. ^ NCR, 11 October 2013.
  7. ^ CFCA Hope for a Family Sponsorship Program Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  8. ^ Understanding Child Sponsorship Marketwire. February 28, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2011.
  9. ^ CFCA Scholarship Program Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  10. ^ Charity Navigator
  11. ^ Top Rated Charities American Institute of Philanthropy. August 19, 2011.
  12. ^ BBB Wise Giving Report for Christian Foundation for Children and Aging Issued March 2011. Expires March 2013.
  13. ^ EllenCrosby. Accessed 14 August 2016.

External links[edit]