Frequently Asked Questions

What is "UNICEF"?

UNICEF is the United Nations Children's Fund.

When UNICEF was created in 1946 to help children in war-torn Europe, China and the Middle East, the acronym stood for "United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund."

By 1953, UNICEF's mandate was extended to address the needs of children in the developing world. At that time, the words "international" and "emergency" were dropped from the organization's name, making it simply the United Nations Children's Fund. UNICEF has helped save more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization.

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What is the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's mission?

We work for the survival, protection and development of children worldwide through fundraising, advocacy and education.

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What does UNICEF do?

UNICEF began in the aftermath of World War II, supplying dried milk, nutritional supplements, medicines, immunizations and other urgent assistance to help starving and ill children in Europe, the Middle East and China. Today UNICEF works in more than190 countries and territories to save and improve children's lives.

In cooperation with governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UNICEF saves and protects the world's most vulnerable children, working to ensure child rights and providing health care, immunizations, nutrition, access to safe water and sanitation services, basic education, protection and emergency relief.

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What does UNICEF do for children in the U.S.?

In the United States, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF engages American youth by providing opportunities for them to advocate, fundraise and volunteer on behalf of their peers around the world.

Through Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, the UNICEF Tap Project and a variety of volunteer clubs, initiatives and partnerships, hundreds of thousands of young Americans contribute to UNICEF's lifesaving work and learn more about the issues of child survival and international development.

UNICEF's emergency relief efforts are focused primarily outside of the U.S., in countries that are less equipped to meet the basic needs of children or that are affected by conflict or natural disaster. But when Hurricane Katrina left hundreds of thousands of children along the Gulf Coast without homes and schools, UNICEF responded by sending School-in-a-Box and recreation kits to the region.

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF also offers American teachers free multimedia resources and lesson plans covering a wide range of global topics of interest to educators. You can find these resources at Teachunicef.org.

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How can I volunteer for UNICEF in the field?

UNICEF secures volunteers, who must have at least a Bachelor's Degree and two-to-five years' experience in their field of expertise, through the United Nations Volunteers program.

If you are a citizen of the United States and meet the above criteria, send your curriculum vitae to the United Nations Volunteers program at the following address for more information: United Nations Volunteers, c/o Peace Corps, 1111 20th St. N.W., Washington, DC 20526.

If you are interested in volunteering within the United States, click here to learn how.

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What is UNICEF's position on international adoption?

As a global organization devoted to the survival and well-being of children, UNICEF is working to create a world in which no child is ever institutionalized, bought or sold, stolen from a family or otherwise victimized. UNICEF believes that every child deserves to grow up in a loving family and supports inter-country adoption when conducted ethically in accordance with prevailing law and best practices. At the same time, UNICEF works to support families in need so that no one ever feels forced by poverty or insecurity to give up a child. To focus on only one of those things, and not the others, is not in the best interests of children.

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Where does UNICEF get its funding?

UNICEF is supported entirely by the voluntary contributions of governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), foundations, corporations and private individuals.

UNICEF receives no funding from the assessed dues of the United Nations.

Most of the fundraising is done by UNICEF's 36 national committees, autonomous NGOs of which the U.S. Fund for UNICEF is the oldest.

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What portion of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's budget is spent helping children?

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF's spending practices meet the highest standards of Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau. Of every dollar we spend, 91.2 cents goes toward programs and services that directly help children; only 6.3 cents is spent on fundraising costs and 2.5 cents on administration. Our 990 tax forms are available online for viewing and downloading.

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Is it true that your CEO receives more than $1 million per year?

No. Anonymous emails claim that the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's CEO earns more than $1 million and has use of a Rolls Royce. These assertions are false. As President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Caryl M. Stern earns $476,011. She does not have a company car; she drives a 2007 Prius that she purchased in 2009.

At first glance, the emails that make these false statements may seem legitimate, which is why many people have forwarded them to friends and family. On closer inspection, you will notice that the email contains no signature, nor is an author or source identified. If the author made himself or herself known, we would be able to reach out directly to set the record straight.

Anonymous campaigns of misinformation can be damaging if left unchallenged, so we appreciate your taking the time to investigate erroneous information you may have received.

Please feel free to link to this page or refer friends here if you come across the email again. We appreciate your help in dispelling this falsehood.

Here are the facts about our executive compensation and excellent record of fiscal governance and efficiency:

  • The U.S. Fund's tax returns (called "990s") are published annually and are readily available to the public. Our financial statements are independently audited by nonprofit watchdog groups such as Charity Navigator and reported in our annual report, also available online (you can click to download the pdf at the bottom of this page).
  • The U.S. Fund for UNICEF meets Charity Navigator's highest financial standards for charities, receiving top scores for our low administration and fundraising expenses (10 out of a possible 10 in each category). We are also recognized for our excellent stewardship of donor funds by the Better Business Bureau, which gives us a Gold Seal for meeting all 20 of their standards for charity accountability.
  • Some versions of the "Rolls Royce" email interchange the U.S. Fund President & CEO with UNICEF's Executive Director. There is no Rolls Royce or company car provided for any staff member at UNICEF or the U.S. Fund, including the President & CEO of the U.S. Fund or UNICEF's Executive Director.
  • The salary information for UNICEF's Executive Director is also a matter of public record and can be viewed online here.

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How can I make a monthly donation?

By making a tax-deductible monthly donation of $5, $10, $15 or any amount to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, you can provide children with lifesaving vaccines and anti-malarial bednets, emergency relief following natural disasters and much more. To set up your gift today, visit our Monthly Giving donation page.

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How can I update my monthly donation?

To change your monthly donation options (amount and frequency), please log in to your user portal, call the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's Monthly Giving Team at 1-800-367-5437 or email monthlygiving@unicefusa.org. If you need to update your credit card information please call 1-800-367-5437. Please do not send your credit card number via email.

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How can I donate leftover foreign coins and currency?

You can help UNICEF save children's lives through the Change for Good program!

Donate your foreign currency on an American Airlines flight or at an Admirals Club or Flagship Lounge. Or send your donation to us at the following address:

Change for Good
U.S. Fund for UNICEF
125 Maiden Lane
New York, NY 10038

As donations of foreign coins are processed in bulk by a third-party vendor, please note that the acknowledgment you receive for your donation will not specify the amount of your gift.

Learn more about Change for Good.

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What is the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's tax ID number?

Our Federal Identification Number is 13-1760110.

The IRS letter confirming our 501(c)(3) status is available for downloading here in PDF format.

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How can I link to unicefusa.org?

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF welcomes links to its website from any website meeting the criteria specified in this agreement.

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