Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Grantmaking


aka GFC

Washington, DC


Global Fund for Children partners to build a world where all children and youth enjoy equal resources and opportunities in society, and live free from violence, discrimination, and exploitation. To that end, we invest in innovative grassroots organizations, helping them deepen their impact and build their capacity for social change. Together with our grassroots partners, we advance the rights of children and youth facing poverty and injustice, and equip them with the tools and skills to reach their full potential.

Ruling Year


President and CEO

John Hecklinger

Main Address

1411 K St NW Suite 1200

Washington, DC 20005 USA


Education, International, Grantmaking, Publishing, Children





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Public Foundations (T30)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (Q12)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (O12)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

The dangers of growing up in an unstable world multiply every day. Millions of children and youth live in places like refugee camps, slums, and isolated villages where they are denied their most basic rights and must fight to survive. Governments and large aid organizations struggle to reach them with essential services. As a result, children experience poverty, violence, abuse, exploitation, and discrimination with little or no reprieve.

Not on our watch. The Global Fund for Children supports and strengthens local, lasting solutions to the world's most pressing problems. We identify and invest in small grassroots organizations with bold ideas and life-changing programs. With support from our donors, we help these organizations to realize their capabilities, scale their efforts, and reach even more children and youth in need.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GFC Programs

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Advancing the rights of children and youth—particularly those of girls and young women—is at the core of everything we do. We are driven by a deep commitment to the world's most vulnerable children and the courageous organizations that change their lives. Our goals can be summarized in the following focus areas:

• Education: We work to secure equal educational access and high-quality education for all children, no matter what obstacles stand in their way.

• Gender Equity: We defend the right of all children and youth to enjoy equal resources and opportunities in society and work to define new social and cultural norms that do not discriminate based on gender identity.

• Youth Empowerment: We prepare young people to shape their own futures, advance their rights, and lead healthy, productive lives.

• Freedom from Violence & Exploitation: We seek to prevent and end the many forms of violence that keep children and youth from reaching their full potential and heal those who have been adversely affected by these destructive practices.

To achieve these goals, The Global Fund for Children uses four core strategies:

1) We specialize in identifying the most promising grassroots organizations in the developing world. Using our global grassroots network and our reputation as an investor in early-stage organizations, we seek out innovative, high-potential groups working with children and youth. Once possible partners have been selected, we perform due diligence to ensure careful investments, and visit the organizations to witness their work in the community and assess their impact and growth potential firsthand.

2) We provide flexible funding to support life-changing programs for vulnerable children and youth. We develop long-term partnerships and provide yearly, renewable cash grants to support our partners' critical programs and services. Over the course of the partnership, we closely monitor the use of funds and increase the size of our grants to keep pace with each organization's growth and development.

3) We help our partners grow stronger and more effective in their work. We provide our partners with customized capacity-building support that multiplies the impact of every donated dollar. We serve as coaches and mentors, providing them with strategic inputs—support in areas like fundraising, financial management, information technology, and more—to help them grow and improve their vital work with children and youth. We also open doors to the broader philanthropic world, connecting our partners to other people and institutions to help them gain outside funding, awards, and recognition.

4) We create powerful networks and help build movements of social change. We bring our partners together for regional Knowledge Exchanges—professional, GFC-run conferences where grassroots leaders share best practices, forge strong networks, discuss organizational challenges and methodologies, and learn about broader issues affecting children in their communities. We also connect our partners to national and regional networks, empowering them to share knowledge, fuel advocacy, and build movements of social change.

For the last 20 years, The Global Fund for Children has transformed millions of children's lives by supporting meaningful change where it stands to do the most good: in the heart of the community. Our unique approach—to identify, invest in, and strengthen small, innovative, grassroots organizations that serve the world's most vulnerable children and youth—delivers powerful returns in the fight for international human rights.

We employ a diverse, motivated team of experts in a variety of fields, including international development, community-based development, international public policy, grassroots capacity-building, child protection, youth development, finance, fundraising, and grants management. Our geographic portfolios are led by regional experts, each of whom serves as a coach and mentor to our local partners in the field. Collectively, our small but dedicated team speaks more than 20 languages.

Our global grassroots network, comprising over 600 organizations around the world, serves as a dynamic resource, enhancing our capability to identify and invest in the most promising community-based organizations in nearly 50 countries worldwide. This network also serves as a resource for locally-based knowledge to help improve the effectiveness of our work and that of our partners, and to help build wider movements of social change. In addition to its global headquarters in Washington, DC, GFC has offices in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.

We evaluate and measure our impact in a variety of ways, including:
• Number of children and youth served
• Number of grassroots organizations supported and strengthened
• Budget growth of our grassroots partners during their GFC partnership
• Regional, national, and international awards and recognition received by our partners in the fields of human rights, child protection, innovation, etc.
• Increase in our partners' organizational capacity, as demonstrated through GFC's unique tool, the Organizational Capacity Index (OCI). The OCI is a self-assessment tool that helps grassroots partners to measure changes in their capacity to plan, fundraise, manage human resources, implement financial oversights, monitor and evaluate programs, manage community and external relations, and secure and maintain information technology. Our regional program officers use the OCI to evaluate the growth of each partner and to design customized capacity-building services to address organizational capacity challenges.

Programmatically, we evaluate our partners' progress toward GFC's visions for social impact, including:
• ensuring access and high-quality education for children and youth
• amplifying the agency, decision-making, leadership, voice, participation, civil/political rights, and access to opportunities for children and youth.
• advancing the rights of all children and youth to live free from harmful gender attitudes, norms, and practices, and the right to non-discrimination based on gender or sexual identities.
• advancing the rights to maintain one's physical safety and bodily integrity, as well as one's psychosocial well-being.

Since 1997, The Global Fund for Children has invested in 646 grassroots organizations, strengthening thousands of communities and improving the lives of more than 10 million children and youth worldwide.

Through our local partners, we empower some of the world's most vulnerable children and youth—refugees, orphans, trafficked children, young people living with HIV, and many more—and bring dignity and opportunity to their lives. We are growing a global network of change agents who advocate for children's rights and ensure that children have what they need to thrive.

We measure our partners' progress as we help them grow their visibility, strengthen their organizational capacity, and boost their budget size. Roughly 91% of our graduating partners meet or exceed our expectations for growth and success. On average, our partners' budgets triple during their GFC partnership, enabling them to expand and improve their programs for greater impact on children's lives.

Our partners become national leaders in children's rights, and influence government policy to defend and protect hundreds of thousands of children worldwide. They have been recognized with numerous prestigious awards and honors, placing them in a distinct class of global leaders and social entrepreneurs, including nearly 40 Ashoka Fellows; 7 CNN Heroes; 7 Vital Voices Global Leadership Awardees; and 10 World's Children's Prize Laureates.

External Reviews



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable