Top-Rated Charity

Unbound puts families first, resulting in high marks from charity evaluators

July 14, 2022 | Be Informed

“We should be at our best for the poor because they deserve it” was a refrain of Unbound’s late co-founder Bob Hentzen, who believed that the world’s poor and marginalized people possess the capabilities and courage to create their own paths out of poverty, given the right opportunities and support.

That belief is part of what informs and inspires Unbound’s continuing commitment to excellent financial stewardship, earning the organization top ratings from respected charity evaluators such as the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. The BBB recently issued a report awarding Unbound its “Accredited Charity” status, meaning that the organization once again meets the BBB’s 20 accountability standards. The BBB reviews charities every two years.

“Your organization has earned its BBB WGA accreditation by meeting the most rigorous standards for accountability and trustworthiness covering: governance and oversight, financial management and reporting, fundraising practices, mission effectiveness reporting, and more,” the BBB said in announcing the accreditation.

The BBB and other evaluators review charities on their own schedules based on financial and other information, usually from the charities’ IRS 990 filings, self-reporting, and information available through the charities’ websites and annual reports. The BBB’s accreditation of Unbound was based in part on 2020 financial statements.

In addition to the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Unbound has top rankings from major evaluators Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and GuideStar, along with the crowd-sourcing platform GreatNonprofits.

The 280,000-plus individuals and families served by Unbound in Africa, Asia and Latin America are at the forefront of every decision made at the organization, and it’s a main reason Director of Finance Martin Kraus cites for Unbound being able to achieve consistently high ratings from charity evaluators.


Benjamin does homework at his home in Kisumu, Kenya. He’s in the seventh grade and wants to become a neurosurgeon. Families like Benjamin’s prioritize their children’s education in determining how to use their Unbound sponsorship benefits.

In a message to donors in Unbound’s annual Stewardship Report, Kraus said families the organization serves around the world face numerous obstacles, made even more challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic, and they “walk a narrow path between collapse and carrying on.”

“These obstacles make it hard to see beyond the needs of the moment, and this is where your support makes a big difference,” Kraus said. “The funds you and other caring individuals provide through Unbound help families overcome the pressure of immediate need so they can begin to envision a more promising future.”

Unbound’s recently published Stewardship Report highlights 2021 financial statements, which were approved by the governing board at its June meeting. The report shows revenue topping $145 million and expenses surpassing $135 million. Of Unbound’s expenses, 92.1% were for program support with just 4.6% allocated for fundraising and 3.3% for administration.

Unbound’s high percentage of program expenses figures prominently in its charity evaluator ratings, though each of the groups has its own ratings system, evaluation methodology and review timeline. The high program percentage is also indicative of Unbound’s commitment to putting the needs of the families it serves first.

Those who sponsor children and elders through Unbound and support scholarships and other initiatives give families opportunities they desire to create a brighter future.

“Your support gives them the precious space they need to plan, to build and to hope,” Kraus said. “That’s an incredible gift.”

Kraus noted that whenever he travels to visit Unbound programs around the world, he’s moved by the gratitude expressed by people who’ve made their lives better through education, improved housing, better nutrition, starting or boosting a small business, or by working together to solve problems in their communities.

“They want you [sponsors and donors] to know that, with your help, they’re doing more than surviving,” Kraus said. “They’re moving closer to a reality where they can achieve their full potential and thrive.”

Photo 1: The family of David and Lalaine in the Philippines has benefitted from financial assistance from Unbound to buy their own food cart and new cooking utensils to support their livelihood selling balut (steamed duck eggs) and siomai (dumplings). David and Lalaine are pictured at their cart with a pot of delicious dumplings ready for their customers to purchase.

Photo 2: The family of six tackles the boys’ schoolwork at their home. Pictured (from left) are David; Daniel, 9; David Jr., 10; Josh, 13, who is sponsored through Unbound; Rich, 6; and Lalaine.

learn more about unbound's ratings

BBB Wise Giving Alliance: Unbound meets all 20 rigorous standards for charity accountability.

Charity Navigator: Unbound earned 4 out of 4 stars, with the highest score of 100 in the area of accountability and transparency.

CharityWatch: Unbound is the only organization in the child sponsorship category to receive an A+.

GuideStar: Unbound earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest level of reporting key information to help donors make educated decisions.

GreatNonprofits: Unbound received the distinction of Top-Rated Nonprofit based on reviews from donors, beneficiaries and volunteers.

The funds you and other caring individuals provide through Unbound help families overcome the pressure of immediate need so they can begin to envision a more promising future.

— Martin Kraus, Unbound Director of Finance