ChildFund International Celebrates 75 Years

ChildFund International Celebrates 75 Years

During this time of year, we often show appreciation and gratitude for the ones we love. This year, we would like to give special thanks to ChildFund International and congratulate them on their 75th anniversary. Their board of directors recently honored them for seven decades of service at the nonprofit’s international headquarters in Henrico County. The organization has been successful in its ability to evolve and grow while staying dedicated to its original mission of helping children in need, and President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard credits ChildFund’s founder J. Calvitt Clarke.

“ChildFund International is still thriving after 75 years,” Goddard recently wrote on ChildFund International’s blog. “I give a lot of the credit to our founder, Dr. J. Calvitt Clarke. He was a man of vision with a passion for helping children living in poverty. A strategic thinker, Clarke was often described as having a ‘knack for fundraising.’ At the age of 51, he founded an organization that was built to last. “But because nothing lasts forever,” she continues, “I never take for granted that ChildFund will continue for another 75 years.

The decisions we make today will impact the ChildFund of tomorrow. We must continue to evolve as an organization, meeting the needs of children in a rapidly changing and complex world. Maybe one thing does last forever — the warm-hearted generosity of people who help children living in poverty. That part of our shared humanity is truly enduring.”

The History of ChildFund International

Dr. J. Calvitt Clarke’s organization was formed in 1938 and called the China’s Children Fund (CCF). Its mission was to support children who had been left without homes or families in the wake of the second Sino-Japanese War. Clarke’s organization quickly expanded to other countries and eventually changed its name to ChildFund International to better fit a global mission.

The 75-year history of ChildFund International*
1930s Founded by Dr. J. Calvitt Clarke as China's Children Fund to help children affected by war
1940s Extends its services to children in Asia and Europe after WWII
1950s Renamed Christian Children’s Fund as their reach extends beyond China
1960s CCF of Canada launches and brings international expansion
1970s First African office in Nairobi opens and the organization establishes a strict code of fundraising ethics
1980s Sponsors more than 325,000 children, and expansion continues as sister organizations are set up in Germany, Denmark and Australia
1990s Establishes ChildAlert fund to provide emergency interventions and assistance
2000s Joins 12 other international children’s organizations to form ChildFund Alliance, ultimately expanding its reach to 58 countries
2009 Christian Children’s Fund becomes ChildFund International, increasing the nonprofit’s visibility through a global landscape
Today Assists more than 18 million children and family members across Africa, Asia, the Americas and Eastern Europe
  *Source: ChildFund History and Story

Person-to-person sponsorship was Dr. Clarke’s “secret weapon” to keep donors engaged, and it’s an idea that continues to drive the mission of ChildFund International. ChildFund International Today Now, ChildFund International assists more than 18 million children and family members across 30 countries within Africa, Asia, the Americas and Eastern Europe. Its mission is to give a voice to youth in need, implement development and emergency-assistance programs, and make a 12- to 15-year commitment to children in the communities it serves.

It’s an obligation from birth into young adulthood, and the strategy has found success with the cooperation of family members, local organizations and local communities. Specific educational programs supported by ChildFund include:

  • Nutrition and care during the prenatal period and early years
  • Knowledge and life skills in school, at home and in the community
  • Training to acquire the skills needed to enter the workforce and meet the challenges to grow into adults

We salute the efforts of this Henrico-based nonprofit and say once more, Happy 75th Anniversary ChildFund International!