1 Elmwood Avenue
Kansas City KS 66103
When you sponsor a child through Unbound, you empower a family to work toward a better future.

Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (913) 384-6500
Mission Statement
Unbound's mission is to walk with the poor and marginalized of the world.
  • We provide personal attention and direct benefits to children, youth, aging and their families so they may live with dignity, achieve their desired potential and participate fully in society.
  • We invite people of goodwill to live in daily solidarity with the world’s poor through one-to-one sponsorship.
  • We build community by fostering relationships of mutual respect, understanding and support that are culturally diverse, empowering and without religious or other prejudice.
Grounded in the Gospel call to serve the poor, Unbound is a lay Catholic organization working with persons of all faith traditions to create a worldwide community of compassion and service.
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Scott Wasserman
Board Chair Ms. Catherine Crosby
Board Chair Company Affiliation Educator, spiritual director
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1981
Former Names
Christian Foundation for Children
Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA)
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement
Unbound's mission is to walk with the poor and marginalized of the world.
  • We provide personal attention and direct benefits to children, youth, aging and their families so they may live with dignity, achieve their desired potential and participate fully in society.
  • We invite people of goodwill to live in daily solidarity with the world’s poor through one-to-one sponsorship.
  • We build community by fostering relationships of mutual respect, understanding and support that are culturally diverse, empowering and without religious or other prejudice.
Grounded in the Gospel call to serve the poor, Unbound is a lay Catholic organization working with persons of all faith traditions to create a worldwide community of compassion and service.
Background Statement

Unbound is an international nonprofit founded by lay Catholics grounded in the Gospel call to put the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable first. We build relationships of mutual respect and support that bridge cultural, religious and economic divides. We invite all people of goodwill to join us.

Working side by side with people of diverse faith traditions in Latin America, Asia and Africa, Unbound brings people together to challenge poverty in new and innovative ways.

The vision of Unbound, formerly Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, began in 1981 with Bob, Bud and Jim Hentzen, their sister Nadine Pearce and their friend Jerry Tolle. Bob and Jerry were former missionaries who witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of poverty while working in Latin America. They met hard-working families struggling heroically to make a better life for their children.

The founders envisioned a program that would invite people to partner with these families to support and encourage them. Guided and inspired by their Catholic faith, the founders created a highly personalized sponsorship program. The goal was to empower families and connect the world with their struggles. The founders’ commitment to these principles and their passionate and dedicated example continue to inspire us today.

Impact Statement
2017 Accomplishments:
  • With the support of 260,000-plus sponsors, brought opportunity to more than 310,000 children, families, youth and elders in Latin America, Asia and Africa through benefits they selected to address their unique situations and needs. Provided scholarships to more than 7,900 youth pursuing secondary, university or vocational education.
  • Acquired nearly 19,000 new sponsorships as of Oct. 1, with projected 2017 revenue of more than $135 million.
  • Provided rewarding sponsor experiences, resulting in 91% retention rate.
  • Crossed into the fourth year of a six-year, mixed-methods, longitudinal evaluation, designed to understand how families’ economic situations change over time during participation in Unbound. Completed evaluation to better understand how mothers of sponsored children experience empowerment outcomes as compared with other families in a similar context. Expanded an evaluation to a third country to explore outcomes experienced by alumni of the Unbound sponsorship program.

2018 Goals:
  • Acquire 33,000 new sponsorships. By partnering with Unbound, families will be able to meet such needs as education, food and housing, and develop livelihoods that allow them to become self-sufficient while improving their communities.
  • Continue to expand and implement methods to measure and report accomplishments of families at local and global levels.
  • Implement improved onboarding and educational experiences for new sponsors with the aim of increasing retention rates during the first 18 months of sponsorship.
  • Continue building ambassador network, engaging and inspiring sponsors to share Unbound in their communities.
  • Support efforts in Kansas City to help children and families through partnerships with Operation Breakthrough, Cristo Rey High School and The Learning Club.
Needs Statement
  1. Expand our program to more families in need by identifying more than 33,000 people of goodwill who will commit to sponsoring a child, youth or elder by providing financial support and offering encouragement through letter writing.
  2. Donors who will contribute to and fully fund $3.6 million in scholarships through direct donations for education -- helping youth in developing countries complete their schooling. 
  3. Increased engagement from sponsors who will help Unbound promote sponsorship needs and donation opportunities, as well as raise overall brand awareness. 
  4. Volunteers in the Kansas City office to assist in multiple ways, but specifically to help process and deliver more than 1.5 million letters from sponsored children and elders to their sponsors. 
  5. Four new presenters who are committed to serving families working to overcome poverty and who are able to effectively communicate Unbound's mission with potential sponsors. Bilingual presenters are especially needed.
Service Categories
Children's and Youth Services
Youth Development Programs
Scholarships & Student Financial Aid
Areas of Service
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement On behalf of sponsors and sponsored, the governing board of Unbound rigorously monitors the integrity and accountability of the organization's operations. The board proactively defines the outcomes expected from the organization. Management must then produce verifiable data proving that the expected outcomes have been achieved. Management chooses the means to achieve the board’s ends. However, the board sets ethical and prudent limits on which means management may use to achieve the board’s ends. The board systematically monitors compliance with these executive limitations. As a result, the board confidently assures donors that their contributions achieve their promised objectives, and that the organization remains transparent and ethical.

The Unbound sponsorship program helps families in Latin America, Asia and Africa overcome poverty by connecting them with individual sponsors. Participating families utilize financial assistance to help achieve their personal life goals through education, assistance with basic needs, and leadership and economic development programs (e.g. financial literacy, youth programs and skill development for parents). Sponsorship requires active participation from families as they take a central role in selecting benefits for their children and building stronger communities. Sponsors — through letters, concern and a monthly financial contribution — experience a true exchange of cultures, understanding and love. Sponsors who travel on Unbound awareness trips may meet their sponsored friends, learn about their lives and see how contributions are used.

Program Budget $106,400,000.00
Category Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens, Families
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success

Sponsored members partner with Unbound to make program and benefit decisions that are unique to their situations and develop their potential over the course of their time in the program, sometimes 18 years or more. Outcomes vary by location and may include educational attainment, leadership, improved health and nutrition status, dignified housing, skill development and increased income through livelihood opportunities for families. Through Unbound’s sponsorship program, families have more choices in their lives and are empowered over time to break the cycle of poverty.

Long-Term Success

Unbound seeks to build a worldwide community of compassion made up of self-sufficient, empowered families where all people live with dignity and have the ability and opportunity to achieve their potential.

Program Success Monitored By

Program and financial audits of projects are conducted at least every other year to ensure financial resources provide intended benefits and sponsored members are empowered to direct their development. Unbound collects educational attendance and performance data and documents final education levels achieved by sponsored members leaving the program. Projects conduct evaluations in local contexts to determine outcomes for sponsored members and families. Methods include analysis of journals to document goal achievement, focus groups on best practices of leaders in mothers groups and surveys to improve personalization of program benefits. Organization-wide program evaluations focus on four key domains: education, economic status, community participation and personal agency. A mixed-methods longitudinal evaluation is being conducted over six years to understand how families’ economic situations change over time with participation in Unbound. A global evaluation measuring the empowerment of mothers of Unbound sponsored children was conducted in 2017. And an evaluation exploring the outcomes of former Unbound sponsored children was expanded into a third country.

Examples of Program Success

In 2017, more than 310,000 sponsored members and their families used sponsorship assistance to address their unique situations and needs. Families used assistance for education, food, housing and other needs, and to develop livelihoods that allow them to become more self-sufficient and better their communities. Evaluations in recent years show the impact. In Trichy, India, 74 percent of mothers of sponsored children reported having felt an improved economic status within their family since gaining access to mothers groups loans. Mothers of sponsored children in Unbound around the world have higher levels of empowerment than mothers outside of Unbound. Thirty percent of mothers of sponsored children are highly involved in community decision-making processes compared to 16 percent of mothers who are not involved in Unbound. Sponsorship helps children achieve education levels that prepare them to compete for jobs and be educated community members and leaders. At a global level, 75 percent of former sponsored members achieved education levels comparative to or better than national averages for their age group, at the point of leaving the program. 

Description The Unbound service-scholarship program helps dynamic, talented older students who, because of economic circumstances, are struggling to continue their educations. The program is founded on principles of perseverance, leadership and service to the community. Scholarships are used for secondary and post-secondary tuition, vocational training, transportation, school supplies and books. Recipients are selected by local program staffs 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. The scholarship program complements the Unbound sponsorship program and has allowed thousands of students in communities around the world to see their dreams become reality.
Program Budget $3,600,000.00
Category Education, General/Other Education, General/Other
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, Adolescents Only (13-19 years), Adults
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success

Money is available to support students pursuing their educations. Students are in school and doing well. Scholars are graduating from the program and finding jobs, helping to support their families. Many are making a difference by working in their home communities.

Long-Term Success

Students are able to complete their educations, follow their chosen career paths and be of service to the larger community.

Program Success Monitored By

Scholars are required to maintain good grades and perform service projects in their communities. Local Unbound project staffs monitor students to make sure they are fulfilling program requirements, and projects provide annual reports on their scholarship programs. In 2013, Unbound also initiated qualitative evaluation with alumni of the scholarship program, utilizing a group mind-mapping process and individual interviews to explore long-term outcomes.

Examples of Program Success

In 2017, more than 7,900 youth pursuing secondary, university or vocational education received scholarships through Unbound. Scholarships helped with needs such as tuition, transportation, books and supplies. Scholarship recipients also had opportunities to give back through service to their communities, and develop their potential as role models and future leaders of the community.  A 2013 qualitative evaluation of the Unbound sponsorship and scholarship programs conducted in the Philippines found that alumni, on average three years out of the program, were pursuing careers from teaching to nursing and accounting to architectural design. Most were employed on a full-time salary basis. They self-identified the most significant outcomes of the program as education, leadership and spiritual/holistic development. A central theme in the evaluation findings was the significant internal drive toward giving back to their communities. Examples included teaching formation classes for current Unbound sponsored members, preparing supplies for disaster relief, mentoring, and offering computer skills and resources to community youth.

Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. Scott Wasserman
Term Start Dec 2013
Compensation $200,001 - Plus
Scott Wasserman became president and CEO of Unbound in late 2013. Prior to accepting this position, Scott was a guiding presence on the governing board for 15 years, the last 14 years as board chair. He and his wife, a native of Guatemala, have sponsored children through Unbound for more than 29 years.
Scott holds a law degree from Harvard and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and history from the University of Kansas. He practiced commercial and child advocacy law for 28 years.
He serves on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops National Review Board. The board advises the bishops on policies to prevent the sexual abuse of minors in the United States by persons in the service of the Church. He also chairs the Independent Review Board to advise on response to allegations of sexual abuse for personnel in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
Scott lives with his wife, Anabella, in the Kansas City area. They have three grown children.
Working out of Unbound’s Kansas City headquarters, Scott spends much of his time traveling to visit families served by Unbound around the world.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start 0
Compensation Last Year
Senior Staff
Title Director of Finance and Service Center

Martin Kraus joined Unbound in 2009 as director of finance. He leads a dedicated team that ensures the transparency, accuracy, timeliness and openness of Unbound's financial information. He also directs Unbound's service center, which handles much of the correspondence from sponsored friends along with other building-related responsibilities at the Kansas City office.

Previously, Martin worked in various financial roles in the accounting, health insurance and transportation industries.

Martin graduated from Rockhurst University with a degree in accounting, and he is a certified public accountant. He belongs to the the American Institute of CPAs and the Missouri Society of CPAs.

Martin is married with three grown children and is enjoying his new life as a grandparent. 
Title Director of International Programs

As the director of international programs, Dan Pearson leads the international programs department in its role to monitor the effectiveness and fiscal credibility of Unbound programs overseas. He and the other department members travel extensively to support and evaluate Unbound projects around the world.

Dan has a passion for program evaluation and working with stakeholders to identify goals and measure the impact of the program. He has more than 15 years of experience working with development programs around the world, and has lived and worked in South America, Europe, and Western and South Asia.

Dan has a master’s degree in international affairs from the University of Denver and a master’s in public administration from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He lives in the Kansas City area with his wife, Kristina, and their three children.

Title Director of Sponsor Experience

As director of sponsor experience, Mary Geisz leads the sponsor experience teams in their role to advance the quality of experience Unbound sponsors and supporters have with the organization, and with their individual sponsorship of a child, youth or elderly friend in the program. Mary is responsible for the structure, staff, programming and operation of the sponsor experience teams.

Mary joined Unbound in 2014 after more than 25 years working in marketing, communications, client experience and project leadership roles, at times coordinating team members based in places like The Netherlands, Australia, India and Malaysia. Having worked on client experience and loyalty initiatives, she brings an informed perspective to her role at Unbound.

Mary is a graduate of Kansas State University and holds an MBA from Rockhurst University. She and her husband, Owen, live in the Kansas City area.

Title Director of Community Outreach and Media Relations
Andrew Kling is the director of community outreach and media relations at Unbound. He develops strategic partnerships and connects journalists, artists and other gifted storytellers with the people at the heart of our work.
Before Unbound, he worked throughout the United States on issues of justice and dignity for marginalized communities, working extensively with the faith community on campaigns for health care access, payday lending reform, immigration reform and racial equity.
Andrew spent more than a decade in civic engagement and strategic communication and has managed, staffed and consulted on dozens of electoral campaigns across the country. He studied science and religion at Columbia University, and later earned a B.A. in public communication from Truman.
He loves travel, live music and combining the two whenever possible.
Paid Full-Time Staff 173
Paid Part-Time Staff 8
Volunteers 30
Paid Contractors 56
Retention Rate 88%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
African American/Black 5
Asian American/Pacific Islander 3
Caucasian 119
Hispanic/Latino 54
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 119
Male 62
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance - Organization2015
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance - Organization2014
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance - Organization2013
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance - Organization2012
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance - Organization2011
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance - Organization2010
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance - Organization2009
External Assessment and Accreditations
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance2015
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance2014
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance2013
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance2012
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance2011
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance2010
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance2009
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance2008
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance2007
4-star CharityCharity Navigator2006
4-star CharityCharity Navigator2007
A+ CharityAmerican Institute of Philanthropy2006
A+ CharityAmerican Institute of Philanthropy2007
4-Star CharityCharity Navigator2008
4-Star CharityCharity Navigator2009
A+ CharityAmerican Institute of Philanthropy2008
A+ CharityAmerican Institute of Philanthropy2009
3-Star CharityCharity Navigator2010
A+ CharityAmerican Institute of Philanthropy2010
A+ CharityAmerican Institute of Philanthropy2011
4-Star CharityCharity Navigator2011
3-Star CharityCharity Navigator2012
A+ CharityCharityWatch (formerly American Institute of Philanthropy)2012
3-Star CharityCharity Navigator2013
A+ CharityCharityWatch (formerly American Institute of Philanthropy)2013
3-Star CharityCharity Navigator2014
A+ CharityCharityWatch (formerly American Institute of Philanthropy)2014
A+ CharityCharityWatch (formerly American Institute of Philanthropy)2015
3-Star CharityCharity Navigator2015
4-Star CharityCharity Navigator2016
A+ CharityCharityWatch2016
4-Star CharityCharity Navigator2017
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Catherine Crosby
Company Affiliation Educator, spiritual director
Term June 2015 to June 2018
Email c.crosby@mac.com
Board Members
Ms. Yessenia Alfaro (non-voting)Project Director
Ms. Alison Avayú Restaurant Owner
Ms. Vicki Berger Retired Museum Curator
Mr. Dennis Bernardo Information technology consultant
Ms. Catherine Crosby Educator, spiritual director
Mr. William Hansen (non-voting)Secretary and Finance Manager of Unbound
Mr. David Herbison Banking and Financial Services
Ms. Emma Higgins Marketing Manager
Mr. Martin Kraus (non-voting)Treasurer and Director of Finance of Unbound
Mr. Peter Ndungo (non-voting)Project Director
Rev Mike Reider (non-voting)Weekend Appeal Priest
Mr. Rich Swan Attorney, Sales Manager
Mr. Scott Wasserman (non-voting)President and CEO of Unbound
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 10
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 8
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 100%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Board Development / Board Orientation
Board Governance
CEO Comments

Unbound is in a strong position to challenge poverty in innovative ways. Our historically high sponsor retention rates demonstrate our sponsors’ loyalty and trust. We live our core value of transparency and accountability by evaluating our impact and publishing the results on our website. From January to December 2016, 92.2 percent of our expenditures supported our program. Unbound remains a highly credible way to send real help to a real person.

Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2017
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2017
Projected Revenue $135,383,394
Projected Expenses $128,320,837
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2015, 2014, 2013: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990. 
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$121,344,903$117,778,492$118,156,594
Investment Income, Net of Losses$773,001$1,582,730$1,394,204
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$0$10,468$11,426
Revenue In-Kind$206,996$96,633$147,650
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$112,978,583$113,984,898$111,916,705
Administration Expense$3,966,152$3,959,209$3,642,518
Fundraising Expense$5,029,681$5,334,478$4,221,504
Payments to Affiliates----$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.010.981.01
Program Expense/Total Expenses93%92%93%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue4%4%4%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$41,705,527$40,470,267$43,518,271
Current Assets$12,504,663$11,812,926$11,664,792
Long-Term Liabilities$501,084$498,917$468,135
Current Liabilities$1,294,164$1,108,236$1,366,133
Total Net Assets$39,910,279$38,863,114$41,684,003
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities9.6610.668.54
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets1%1%1%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountIndividual Donor $372,955Individual Donor $292,618Individual $681,635
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountIndividual Donor $255,812Charitable Gift Fund $202,000Charitable Gift Fund $308,000
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountIndividual Donor $130,824Individual Donor $200,000Individual $200,000
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Comments
Integrity and accountability are core values for Unbound. In light of these core values, we assign the highest reasonable amount of available resources to the direct benefit of sponsored children, youth, elders and their families in the countries where we work. Our solidarity with the sponsored persons and their families and the sacrifices of sponsors call us to an efficient use of resources. Given the nature of the sponsorship relationship, we make every effort to communicate to sponsors how these funds impact the lives of the sponsored. Sponsors walk a path into solidarity with families walking a path out of poverty, both as full partners in this community of compassion.
Organization Name Unbound
Address 1 Elmwood Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66103
Primary Phone (913) 384-6500
Contact Email mail@unbound.org
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Scott Wasserman
Board Chair Ms. Catherine Crosby
Board Chair Company Affiliation Educator, spiritual director
Year of Incorporation 1981
Former Names
Christian Foundation for Children
Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA)