Charity Review

  • Issued: October 2017
  • Expires: October 2019

Unbound

Accredited Charity

Meets Standards

800-875-6564

One Elmwood Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66103

http://www.unbound.org
Accredited Charity

800-875-6564

One Elmwood Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66103

http://www.unbound.org
Accredited Charity

Accredited Charity

Meets Standards

Standards For Charity Accountability

Governance

  1. Board Oversight

    Oversight of Operations and Staff: Standard 1

    Description
    Organizations shall have a board of directors that provides adequate oversight of the charity's operations and its staff. Indication of adequate oversight includes, but is not limited to, regularly scheduled appraisals of the CEO's performance, evidence of disbursement controls such as board approval of the budget, fund raising practices, establishment of a conflict of interest policy, and establishment of accounting procedures sufficient to safeguard charity finances.

    The organization meets this standard.

  2. Board Size

    Number of Board Members: Standard 2

    Description
    Soliciting organizations shall have a board of directors with a minimum of five voting members.

    The organization meets this standard.

  3. Board Meetings

    Frequency and Attendance of Board Meetings: Standard 3

    Description
    An organization shall have a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings per year of the full governing body with a majority in attendance, with face-to-face participation. A conference call of the full board can substitute for one of the three meetings of the governing body. For all meetings, alternative modes of participation are acceptable for those with physical disabilities.

    The organization meets this standard.

  4. Board Compensation

    Compensated Board Members: Standard 4

    Description
    Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.

    The organization meets this standard.

  5. Conflict of Interest

    Conflict of Interest: Standard 5

    Description
    No transaction(s) in which any board or staff members have material conflicting interests with the charity resulting from any relationship or business affiliation. Factors that will be considered when concluding whether or not a related party transaction constitutes a conflict of interest and if such a conflict is material, include, but are not limited to: any arm's length procedures established by the charity; the size of the transaction relative to like expenses of the charity; whether the interested party participated in the board vote on the transaction; if competitive bids were sought and whether the transaction is one-time, recurring or ongoing.

    The organization meets this standard.

Measuring Effectiveness

  1. Effectiveness Policy

    Board Policy on Effectiveness: Standard 6

    Description
    Have a board policy of assessing, no less than every two years, the organization's performance and effectiveness and of determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

    The organization meets this standard.

  2. Effectiveness Report

    Board Approval of Written Report on Effectiveness: Standard 7

    Description
    Submit to the organization's governing body, for its approval, a written report that outlines the results of the aforementioned performance and effectiveness assessment and recommendations for future actions.

    The organization meets this standard.

Finances

  1. Program Expenses

    Program Service Expense Ratio: Standard 8

    Description
    Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.

    The organization meets this standard.

  2. Fundraising Expenses

    Fund Raising Expense Ratio: Standard 9

    Description
    Spending should be no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies, and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.

    The organization meets this standard.

  3. Accumulating Funds

    Ending Net Assets: Standard 10

    Description
    Avoid accumulating funds that could be used for current program activities. To meet this standard, the charity's unrestricted net assets available for use should not be more than three times the size of the past year's expenses or three times the size of the current year's budget, whichever is higher.

    The organization meets this standard.

  4. Audit Report

    Financial Statements: Standard 11

    Description
    Make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. When total annual gross income exceeds $500,000, these statements should be audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $500,000, a review by a certified public accountant is sufficient to meet this standard. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $250,000, an internally produced, complete financial statement is sufficient to meet this standard.

    The organization meets this standard.

  5. Detailed Expense Breakdown

    Detailed Functional Breakdown of Expenses: Standard 12

    Description
    Include in the financial statements a breakdown of expenses (e.g., salaries, travel, postage, etc.) that shows what portion of these expenses was allocated to program, fund raising, and administrative activities. If the charity has more than one major program category, the schedule should provide a breakdown for each category.

    The organization meets this standard.

  6. Accurate Expense Reporting

    Accuracy of Expenses in Financial Statements: Standard 13

    Description
    Accurately report the charity's expenses, including any joint cost allocations, in its financial statements. For example, audited or unaudited statements which inaccurately claim zero fund raising expenses or otherwise understate the amount a charity spends on fund raising, and/or overstate the amount it spends on programs will not meet this standard.

    The organization meets this standard.

  7. Budget Plan

    Budget: Standard 14

    Description
    Have a board-approved annual budget for its current fiscal year, outlining projected expenses for major program activities, fund raising, and administration.

    The organization meets this standard.

Fundraising & Info

  1. Truthful Materials

    Misleading Appeals: Standard 15

    Description
    Have solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means, that are accurate, truthful and not misleading, both in whole and in part. Appeals that omit a clear description of program(s) for which contributions are sought will not meet this standard. A charity should also be able to substantiate that the timing and nature of its expenditures are in accordance with what is stated, expressed, or implied in the charity's solicitations.

    The organization meets this standard.

  2. Annual Report

    Annual Report: Standard 16

    Description
    Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

    The organization meets this standard.

  3. Website Disclosures

    Web Site Disclosures: Standard 17

    Description
    Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.

    The organization meets this standard.

  4. Donor Privacy

    Privacy for Written Appeals & Internet Privacy: Standard 18

    Description
    Address privacy concerns of donors by (a) providing in written appeals, at least annually, a means (e.g., such as a check off box) for both new and continuing donors to inform the charity if they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization, (b) providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on any of its websites that tells visitors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them by the charity and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact the charity to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform the charity (e.g., a check off box) that the visitor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures the charity has in place to protect personal information.

    The organization meets this standard.

  5. Cause Marketing Disclosures

    Cause Related Marketing: Standard 19

    Description
    Clearly disclose how the charity benefits from the sale of products or services (i.e., cause-related marketing) that state or imply that a charity will benefit from a consumer sale or transaction. Such promotions should disclose, at the point of solicitation: (a) the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity (e.g., 5 cents will be contributed to abc charity for every xyz company product sold), (b) the duration of the campaign (e.g., the month of October), (c) any maximum or guaranteed minimum contribution amount (e.g., up to a maximum of $200,000).

    The organization meets this standard.

  6. Complaints

    Complaints: Standard 20

    Description
    Respond promptly to and act on complaints brought to its attention by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and/or local Better Business Bureaus about fund raising practices, privacy policy violations and/or other issues.

    The organization meets this standard.

Conclusion

Unbound meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Sponsorship

Unbound requests $36 per month for sponsorship of a child or aging person. Sponsors receive a photo and family background information about their sponsees. Additionally, sponsors receive approximately two letters every year from their sponsee and a greeting at Christmas. Unbound encourages sponsors to visit their sponsored child or aging person, and offers them travel opportunities to do so on awareness trips.

Sponsorship funds are primarily used for the sponsored individual. Some benefits available to sponsored individuals, such as food staples, also benefit the sponsored member’s family. A number of projects offer livelihood programs that enable the parents of sponsored children to learn skills or trades which can help them earn an income to provide for their families.

Unbound reports using a small group model where the organization brings together families in groups of 15-20 to create a support network where families encourage each other and are accountable to one another.

The organization reports that it does not pool sponsorship money for general community projects. Project staff help identify specific needs of those sponsored by getting to know the family and listening to what they feel they need most to break the cycle of poverty. 
 
According to Unbound, the family background record is maintained at the local level on the child or aging person’s family, housing conditions, siblings, parents, health and other pertinent information such as grade in school. Unbound states that sponsors get periodic updates through letters and a listing of the types of benefits and services available to their sponsee is available online. Unbound also sends an updated photo to the sponsor annually.
 
In addition to the monthly sponsorship donation, sponsors may send donations for birthdays and/or holidays. Unbound states that donations for birthdays and/or holidays are voluntary and that the full amount of these monies are pooled and divided equally for the benefit of all sponsored children and aging. Unbound does not allow sending material gifts due to customs and duty issues, but sponsors are strongly encouraged to write letters to their sponsee.
 
Unbound does not allow a child or aging person to be assigned to more than one sponsor, nor do they sponsor children who are already sponsored by another organization.

Purpose

  • Year, State Incorporated

    1981, Missouri

  • Formerly Known As

    Christian Foundation for Children and Aging

  • Stated Purpose

    "to walk with the poor and marginalized of the world."

Programs

Unbound reports that it provides personal attention and direct benefits to children, youth, elderly and their families so they may live with dignity, achieve their desired potential and participate fully in society. Grounded in the Gospel call to serve the poor, the organization reports that it is a lay Catholic organization that works with persons of all faith traditions. Unbound's sponsorship program works to help children, youth, elders and families in 19 countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa overcome poverty by connecting them with individual sponsors and supportive local communities of staff members and families. Sponsored individuals and their families utilize financial assistance and partner with Unbound to make program and benefit decisions to help meet their basic needs and develop their potential over the course of their time in the program, which can sometimes be for 18 years or more. In addition to providing support for basic needs such as education, food, medical care and clothing, the organization helps sponsored individuals create long-term solutions through skills training, livelihood initiatives, microloans and self-help groups. Unbound reports that at the end of 2016, more than 300,000 individuals were sponsored through the organization. During the same year nearly 8,000 students pursuing secondary, college or vocational education received scholarships to help with tuition, fees, transportation and other needs.

For the year ended December 31, 2016, Unbound's program expenses were:

Program services 115,148,019
Total Program Expenses: $115,148,019

Governance & Staff

  • Chief Executive

    Scott Wasserman, President and CEO

  • Compensation*

    $240,342

  • Chair of the Board

    Catherine Crosby

  • Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation

    Educator and Spiritual Director

  • Board Size

    7

  • Paid Staff Size

    185

*2016 compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.

Fundraising

Method(s) Used:

Direct mail, telemarketing, special events, print advertisements, television appeals, radio appeals, grant proposals, Internet appeals, planned giving, and sponsorship appeals.

Fundraising costs were 4% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $127,376,954, are donations received as a result of fundraising activities.)

Tax Status

This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.

Financial

The following information is based on Unbound's audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2016.

Source of Funds
Sponsorships 115,957,067
Contributions 11,419,887
Other revenue 1,144,428
Unrealized gain on investments 524,049
Total Income $129,045,431
  • Programs: 93%
  • Fundraising: 4%
  • Administrative: 3%
Total Income $129,045,431
Program expenses 115,148,019
Fundraising expenses $5,436,664
Administrative expenses $4,290,741
Other expenses $0
Total expenses: $124,875,424
Income in Excess of Expenses 4,170,007
Beginning Net Assets 39,910,279
Ending Net Assets 44,080,286
Total Liabilities 1,783,994
Total Assets 45,864,280

Note: As reported by the organization, for the year ended December 31, 2016, Unbound received in-kind donations totaling $5,500 in the form of office furniture.

An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fundraising or promotional purposes.