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Understand UNICEF USA’s Charity

When considering making a donation to a nonprofit, independent groups like GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance on can provide valuable information on charity ratings to help you determine the best charities to donate to.

For every dollar donated, 88 cents go directly to children
In most years, UNICEF USA has received the highest rating for charitable accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator. UNICEF USA was also awarded GlobalGiving Superstar status for demonstrating the highest level of participation and/or effectiveness. Our program expenditure ratio of 88.4 per cent means we are a highly qualified charity.

For every dollar spent, about 88 cents go directly to helping children, 8 cents cover fundraising costs and about 3 cents cover administrative costs.

To get the most out of charity assessments like these, it's important to understand how charity assessment methodologies work and how they apply to the unique structure, governance and operating conditions of assessed nonprofits.

Sometimes a combination of factors can cause a disconnect between the metrics Charity Navigator uses to evaluate nonprofits and their commitment to their missions and values.

Liquidity and UNICEF's mission in the United States

A measure of a charity's financial health is whether it has the liquidity to deal with an economic downturn. This is one of the important metrics Charity Navigator uses to rate nonprofits like UNICEF USA.

But when millions of the world's children are at risk from war, disease, poverty and climate change, UNICEF in the United States looks at its cash reserves differently; If the choice is between keeping the money in the bank and sending water, food and medical supplies to the ground, the children will always come first. This approach is at the core of UNICEF's mission in the United States. This means that in some years the cash in reserve is less than Charity Navigator's preferred ratio.

Fatima, 10 months, is examined by doctors and diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition, at Kishim District Hospital in northern Afghanistan.
UNICEF USA is committed to providing maximum support for UNICEF's work to save malnourished children. With UNICEF's help, severely malnourished children like 10-month-old Fatima, who lives in northern Afghanistan, can get the screening and treatment they need to make a full recovery. © UNICEF / UN0339434 / Dejongh

How UNICEF in the US looks at liabilities versus assets

Charity Navigator's preferred ratio of liabilities to assets is an important metric. It cannot fully measure the value of two critical strategic decisions UNICEF USA has made in recent years that have significantly improved its capacity and sustainability.

Running a nonprofit in New York is very expensive. The price of office space per square meter is among the highest in the country. To reduce monthly costs and build long-term capital, UNICEF USA financed—through bond financing—the purchase of the three floors it occupies in lower Manhattan.

The bond of the UNICEF USA office in New York is a liability on its balance sheet. Owning real estate in Manhattan is one of the main assets used by UNICEF in the United States in order to work more efficiently and effectively. Savings on renting expensive office space allowed UNICEF USA to free up capital for its children's mission.

UNICEF USA Children's Innovation Impact Fund

UNICEF USA is always looking for new strategic ways to generate flexible funding whenever and wherever children need help. UNICEF USA's Impact Fund for Children (IF4C) is just one tactic UNICEF USA has devised to address this need.

IF4C is a tax-exempt subsidiary (sub) of UNICEF USA - an impact investment group with two funds under management: Bridge Fund and Express Fund. IF4C is designed to remove financial obstacles when quick action means the difference between life and death.

That was the case when the epidemic occurred. IF4C was critical to UNICEF's rapid response to COVID-19, as it raised $10 million in funding to accelerate the procurement and supply of PPE to frontline health workers globally, before UNICEF received the donations . Before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, and even before the declaration of an international emergency, UNICEF had already shipped 6 tons of medical supplies to China to fight the outbreak. IF4C continues to help UNICEF rapidly deliver services, supplies and vaccines to the world's most remote areas. Furthermore, every $1 invested in I