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FAQ

Child and village sponsorship

What does my sponsorship provide for my child?

As a sponsor, you provide the critical essentials for a child: food, clothing, shelter and medical care. However, your gift does so much more—ensuring that a child grows up in a family surrounded by a loving caregiver and siblings. Children living in our children’s villages benefit from 75 years of our expertise caring for vulnerable children, including trauma support for children coming from difficult circumstances. Your sponsored child also receives a quality education and a tailored development plan so they can reach their full potential. 

Additionally, your sponsorship gift strengthens the child’s greater community. We have devoted decades to building lasting relationships with children, families and communities around the world. SOS Children’s Villages schools and medical clinics service children in our families as well as other children and families in the area. Additionally, vocational programs teach job skills to children, youth and adults from our children’s villages and the surrounding community so they can earn an income and eventually become self-reliant. 

Can I visit my sponsored child?

Yes, we encourage visits! We have recently implemented new visit policies and guidelines to ensure child safeguarding in our villages. Please follow these regulations when planning a visit:

  1. All visit requests must be made through the SOS Children Villages location you sponsor through. Since you sponsor through SOS Children’s Villages USA, you must reach out to us to help you with your request. (Please do not directly contact the village you wish to visit.)
  2. Contact SOS Children’s Villages USA (sponsors@sos-usa.org or 1 (888) 767-4543) 2-4 months prior to the visit so that staff have the time to properly prepare for the visit. We’ll guide you through this preparation process.
  3. Background checks are required for all visitors who want to visit a village.
  4. Read our four safeguarding policies and sign the visitor’s guide.
  5. Conduct a pre-visit phone/Zoom call with the Village Focal Point staff member at the children’s village you wish to visit to answer any questions or clarify our child safeguarding policies.
  6. Sponsors can only visit a village for which they are currently a sponsor.
  7. Villages have the right to decline visitors who have not properly organized the visit through these guidelines.

More sponsorship FAQs

Ways to give

One-time donations

To make a donation to SOS Children’s Villages, you can access our secure donation form here. Your donation will build families for children in need, help them shape their futures and contribute to the development of their communities.


Monthly donations

To make a monthly donation to SOS Children’s Villages, you can access our secure donation form here. Your committed support ensures that we can continue our programs that serve children and families in need without interruption, fund projects and remain prepared to respond immediately when emergencies arise. 

You can also make a monthly commitment to become a child sponsor or village sponsor

You can rush immediate, life-saving relief to children and families amidst conflict in places like Israel, Palestine and Ukraine or surviving natural disasters like earthquakes and floods. Your donation will support humanitarian crises with the most urgent needs at that moment, providing critical resources for survival and psychological support so children can heal from trauma.

Making honorary gifts

Is there someone in your life you want to recognize? Honor this person by making a gift to SOS Children’s Villages in their name. Your inspired gift will better the lives of vulnerable children across the world. Please visit our secure donation form here. 

You can also honor a loved one’s legacy by donating in their memory. Your gift will provide care, love and support to vulnerable children. To donate in memory of someone, please visit our secure donation form here.  

Create your own fundraiser with SOS Children’s Villages to raise awareness and support for vulnerable children around the world!

Whether you invite your friends to celebrate your birthday with a donation, host a bake sale, run, dance or bike for SOS Children’s Villages, you will be joining a passionate community committed to ensuring that every child has a loving home.

Include SOS Children's Villages in your will or estate plans

Your decision to remember SOS Children’s Villages-USA, Inc. in your will, estate plan or other long-term financial plan is a beautiful—and powerful—gesture of love. It gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your legacy will live on, helping children for generations to come. Learn more about the variety of ways you can make a planned gift to SOS Children’s Villages.


Giving to SOS Children's Villages USA through your IRA

Individuals over age 70 ½ can roll over, tax-free, up to $100,000 from their IRA to charity. Your gift will count toward your IRA’s Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). Click here to view a sample instruction letter that you can share with your IRA administrator. Our federal tax ID is 13-6188433.

 

Giving through your will or trust

Your will or trust can be a way to make thoughtful gifts to care for loved ones and support vulnerable children, in addition to being one of the simplest methods to distribute your estate. By naming SOS Children’s Villages-USA, Inc. as a beneficiary in your will or trust, you can continue to help children in need beyond your lifetime. Click here to download sample bequest language to share with your attorney. Our federal tax ID is 13-6188433.


Donating stocks or securities 

Because of tax considerations, you can often give appreciated assets and enjoy the tax deduction, rather than paying capital gains tax. Print our Stock Donation Form, which includes our brokerage and account information. 


Giving through your retirement plan

You may find that you can make the largest gift of your life from “what’s left” in your retirement account or pension plan. This allows you to provide for your retirement first, and then support charities like SOS Children’s Villages. Contact your plan administrator to update your form(s) and name SOS Children’s Villages USA, Inc. as a beneficiary of all, or a percentage of, your retirement plan. Our federal tax ID is 13-6188433. 


Giving through your life insurance policy

Do you have a life insurance policy you no longer need? Policies taken out to protect mortgages which have since been paid or educational plans that have been completed make excellent gifts. By naming SOS Children’s Villages USA, Inc. as a beneficiary of your policy, you can ensure that children for generations to come have a loving home. Our federal tax ID is 13-6188433.

Your contributions to SOS Children's Villages are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. SOS Children’s Villages USA, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) and our tax ID is 13-6188433. You will receive a receipt at the time of your donation and an annual tax receipt with your giving total from the prior year in the mail in February. If you would like an electronic statement or you need additional information to make a contribution, please email us at info@sos-usa.org.

General questions

What is SOS Children's Villages?

Established in 1949, SOS Children’s Villages is the world’s largest organization focused on ensuring that children and young people without parental care—or who are at risk of losing it—grow up with the care, relationships and support they need to become their strongest selves. We work in 138 countries and territories and reach more than 2.5 million people each year. 

Learn more about our work. 


Where is SOS Children's Villages?

SOS Children’s Villages works in 138 countries and territories around the world. Centered on our global mission, our model is locally adapted to the needs of individual communities. In fact, with over 99% of our global workforce hired locally, we support communities to solve problems and build brighter futures. 

Learn more about where SOS Children’s Villages works. 

The SOS Children’s Villages USA office is based in Washington, DC.


Who founded SOS?

Hermann Gmeiner founded the first SOS Children’s Villages location in Austria in 1949, following World War II. Hermann was committed to providing orphaned and abandoned children with a loving family, home and community in which to grow. 

Learn more about our history.


What does "SOS" stand for?

SOS stands for "Societas Socialis," which is Latin for "socially responsible society." SOS Children’s Villages founder Hermann Gmeiner and his friends only used the name Societas Socialis for a year before changing it to SOS Children's Villages.

What is the SOS Children's Villages model?

SOS utilizes a comprehensive approach of helping children, families and communities succeed long-term. Our innovative model helps children today and alters the course of their future: creating systemic change with lasting impacts for this generation and beyond. With over 99% of our global workforce hired locally, SOS Children’s Villages is uniquely positioned to tailor programs to the diverse needs and contexts of each community, country and region in which we work.


How does SOS strengthen families and communities?

SOS Children’s Villages partners with families who are at risk of losing their children, developing personalized care plans to improve conditions for the entire household, with a focus on vocational training, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Our work stabilizes childhoods, increases school attendance, raises household income and improves health outcomes for whole families—ultimately benefiting entire communities for generations to come. 


How does SOS provide long-term care for children?

We offer a variety of long-term homes for children who lack parental care:

Family-based care:
Children are cared for by a dedicated caregiver in small family-like groups in a home setting within a children’s village. Siblings are kept together whenever possible. Each child receives individualized support, education and training until they are ready to transition to adulthood and support themselves. 

Foster care: Children are formally placed in the care of one or two adults acting as foster parent(s). Foster families either live in their own homes or in a home provided by SOS Children’s Villages.

Small group homes: Small groups of children are cared for by youth care workers, professional child care workers, or dedicated caregivers on a rotational basis. In small group homes, there is a focus on reintegration with the child’s family of origin or preparation for older children to transition to adulthood.


Who cares for the children?

Each SOS Children’s Villages family is headed by at least one “parent,” a dedicated caregiver who devotes their career to raising children. All of our caregivers are specially trained to help children heal and thrive and give the children in their care the love and support they need to become their strongest selves. 


How does SOS provide educations and empower young people?

We educate and empower children to reach their full potential and provide coaching and vocational training to youth entering the workforce. Every child and young adult supported by SOS Children’s Villages receives a quality education, either at an SOS Children’s Villages school or a local school in their community. By enabling access to education and training, and encouraging individual achievement, SOS Children’s Villages provides life-changing opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable children.  


How does SOS advocate for children's rights?

Children who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care are among the most vulnerable to violations of their human rights. We advocate for children’s rights in a variety of ways at the local, national and international levels—and encourage children to advocate for themselves.


How does SOS provide care in emergency situations?

Our programs support children and families in crisis through initiatives like emergency response, preventing violence against children, ending child trafficking, empowering women and girls, and childhood trauma recovery.

Because SOS Children’s Villages is rooted in local communities in 138 countries and territories, we are on the ground when disasters strike or conflicts unfold, and we remain there long-term to help communities rebuild and become more resilient.

 
How does SOS advance gender equality?

SOS Children’s Villages targets the specific needs of women and girls in communities around the world. We provide women of all ages with education, market-relevant skills and the self-confidence to become independent role models and leaders in their communities. Our work with women and girls focuses on the areas of prevention of domestic violence, education, gender equality and economic empowerment.

Child safeguarding

SOS Children’s Villages does not tolerate any form of child abuse, exploitation, neglect or violation of a child’s privacy and rights. We work in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.


Our Child Protection Policy focuses on four key action areas: awareness, prevention, reporting and responding. We place special emphasis on awareness and prevention to safeguard children and improve the quality of the care they receive. In the case of a reported child safeguarding concern, it is taken seriously and addressed without delay. This means that:

– We build the capacities of co-workers, children, young people and families to recognize signs of abuse and how to prevent it.

– We teach the use of techniques such as positive discipline.

– We work to eliminate harmful cultural practices.

Any reported child safeguarding incident or concern is carefully assessed, and based on the results of the assessment, concrete actions are decided and put in place.

As the key stakeholders, children are also attending trainings to understand their rights to participate in the decisions that concern their lives and to be a stronger voice in safeguarding.


Child privacy

Protecting the rights, dignity and privacy of the children in our care is of paramount importance. In our communications, we change children’s names to protect their privacy or, when it is appropriate, identify them by their first names only. We do not provide sensitive information about the ethnic or religious backgrounds of children in our care. We comply with the European Union General Data Protection Regulation law, which went into effect in 2018. 


Financial transparency

At SOS Children’s Villages, transparency and accountability underlie everything we do. We are committed to using all of our funds and resources wisely, ensuring that they are being utilized and accounted for appropriately.
Read our most recent financial statements and annual updates.

Internship opportunities

We have year-round internship opportunities available on the careers section of our website. Learn more about interning with SOS Children’s Villages USA and  view our open positions. 


Careers 

All open positions are listed on the careers page of our website. 


Volunteering

All volunteer opportunities are exclusively allocated by the national SOS Children’s Villages associations. Please contact the office of the SOS Children’s Villages program you wish to volunteer at if it is outside of the United States. 

To learn more about opportunities to volunteer in our children’s villages in Illinois and Florida, please contact their offices directly: 

SOS Children’s Villages Florida

SOS Children’s Villages Illinois


International opportunities

Please visit our international careers page to view find all available positions at our international offices or villages. Each of our villages and offices are independently operated. If you have further questions about any open positions, please contact the SOS Children’s Villages International office here.

Additional Questions?

Please contact our team at info@sos-usa.org or (202)-347-7920