The story of Unbound

How it all began

"Since the very beginning, the founders of CFCA dreamed of freeing God’s people from hunger, from slavery, from pain. Our calling at this historic moment is to be gentle, balanced leaders in our world."

Meet the founders and listen to them describe the early years of CFCA
in their own words.
In November 2013, the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA) changed its name to Unbound. It was an historic event and one that came at a time of profound loss.

Bob Hentzen, the last surviving member of the group of family and friends that founded CFCA, passed away unexpectedly on October  8, 2013. Though he had been an integral part of the process leading up to the name change, Bob did not get to see fulfilled the plan he helped create.

A commitment to serve

The original idea for CFCA was born in the hearts and minds of the Hentzen and Tolle families. Jerry Tolle and Bob Hentzen were both missionaries who had witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of poverty. Together with Bob’s siblings – Bud, Jim and Nadine – they committed themselves to find a way to help.

CFCA was officially incorporated November 20, 1981. The founders all gathered their Christmas card lists and sent a mailing to hundreds of relatives and friends asking them to sponsor. As Bud said, "The letter fell flat on its face."

Despite the disappointing results, the founders didn’t give up. Each founder brought a special gift to the creation of CFCA, and they used these gifts to keep the dream of CFCA alive. 

One day, one sponsor

At first, one sponsor a day was cause for celebration. The sponsorships trickled in, gaining the first 100 sponsors, then the next 100. After four years, the group had managed to gather 1000 sponsors. Then, the group reached its current size of more than 250,000 sponsors serving over 300,000 children, youth and aging.

Over the years, more than 625,000 children, youth and aging persons and their families have been served through the sponsorship program.

Guided by their faith and rooted in Catholic social teaching, the founders created a highly personalized sponsorship program. The goal was to empower families and connect the world with their struggle.

The legacy of Bob Hentzen, Jerry Tolle, Nadine Pearce, Bud Hentzen and Jim Hentzen continues to inspire us today.

"CFCA was born in the heart of each one of us, and in the hearts of the poor whom we are called to serve," Bob Hentzen once said. "I consider myself only one of the founders of CFCA, including each one of you."

CFCA was indeed our foundation. Unbound is our future.

*mouse-over to pause

Bob Hentzen and Jerry Tolle sharing a light moment in their basement office. Bob Hentzen visiting a sponsored child and her family. Jerry Tolle with sponsored children in Honduras. Bud Hentzen visiting Colombia. CFCA staff photo circa 1985. Bob Hentzen on the road sleeping in the airport. Early CFCA staff photo circa 1987. Nadine Pearce visits a CFCA program serving children with special needs. Bud Hentzen with a sponsored friend. CFCA's first mission awareness trip to Guatemala in 1988. Jim Hentzen with friends in the Dominican Republic. Staff sending child letters to sponsors. We have been blessed with many dedicated volunteers. Jerry Tolle in Africa. Bob Hentzen visits with a field staff member. Bud Hentzen visits sponsored children. Nadine Pearce with sponsored children in Guatemala. Jim Hentzen was especially dedicated to children with special needs. Jerry Tolle visits children in the Philippines. Jim Hentzen visits the elderly. Our Sponsor Services team circa 1993. Nadine Pearce in Guatemala with a sponsored family. Bob Hentzen on his 4,000-mile walk - Pilgrimage of Faith CFCA walks with the poor and marginalized of the world. Bob Hentzen's shoes tell the tale.