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General Frequently Asked Questions

Coptic Orphans

1. What Does “Coptic” Mean?

2. What is Different about Coptic Orphans?

3. Is Coptic Orphans a Religious Organization?

4. What are the Results of Coptic Orphan’s Approach?

5. What is Your Relationship to the Coptic Orthodox Church?

Financial Matters

6 . How Does Coptic Orphans Ensure Financial Efficiency and Accountability?

7 . Are My Gifts Tax Deductible?

8 . What are Your Administrative Costs?

9 . Are You Part of Consolidated Campaigns?

Getting Involved

10. What Is Child Sponsorship and How Does it Help?

11. I Don't Have Time to Develop a Relationship with a Child. Can I Just Donate?

12. Can I Volunteer in Egypt?

13. I Don't Have Any Money. What Can I Do?

For Questions about sponsoring a child, see our Frequently Asked Sponsorship Questions

Coptic Orphans

1. Q: What does “Coptic” Mean? A: “Coptic” is derived from the same Greek word as the English “Egyptian,” and originally referred the peoples who lived along the Nile river. Nowadays, the term refers most commonly to Egypt’s Christians, who trace their origins back to the first Christian communities that existed during the time of the apostles. Coptic Orphans is committed to all vulnerable children in Egypt, regardless of religious affiliation. However, the term Coptic does indicate that our Christian identity and our affection for the ancient Christian homeland of Egypt motivate us.

2. Q: What is Different about Coptic Orphans? A: Our partnership with the Coptic Church and our presence through indigenous volunteers and institutions in Egypt, the ancient homeland of the Copts where Jesus once took refuge as a child, makes us unique among Christian sponsorship organizations. The larger sponsorship organizations cannot work in Egypt, while our networks are nearly everywhere in the local fabric of each community. That we work in the homes and families of children rather than in orphanages that often take children out of their families and where there is a low caregiver per child ratio make us unique among organizations that focus on orphaned children. Our programs focus is on comprehensive child and family development where each children is: we don’t pull children out of their contexts because they are most likely to make an impact in the social networks they already have. Our dedication to the most professional level of effectiveness in everything we do, our partnership with 43 dioceses in Egypt, and our extensive network of 400 volunteers makes us unique among Coptic organizations working in Egypt.

3. Q: Is Coptic Orphans a Religious Organization? A: Our Christian identity motivates us in everything that we do, and our primary partner is the Coptic Church in Egypt. On the other hand, recognizing that every member of a body has its own specialized function, Coptic Orphans performs no religious formation or teaching, evangelism, or any other function traditionally associated with the Church. Also, while restricted in our flagship program to children from the Coptic Orthodox Church, we welcome children of all religious faiths in our other programs.

4. Q: What are the results of Coptic Orphans' Approach? A: Since 1988, Coptic Orphans has touched the lives of over 27,000 children in Egypt. We have had tremendous success helping children reach greater levels of self-sufficiency. One of our volunteer Reps who has worked with Coptic Orphans from the very beginning recently told us of participants who were part of the program 20 years ago: “their children are independent today, while the children of those who did not participate in a Coptic Orphans program are still on the church charity rolls."

5. Q: What is your Relationship to the Coptic Orthodox Church? A: The Orthodox Church in Egypt, by far the largest Christian body in Egypt, is our most important partner on the ground. While we are not administratively affiliated with the Coptic hierarchy, we are the fruit of the Coptic Church and work closely with her bishops and with the nearly 400 Reps who come to us from places of active service in their local churches. Read more about our partnership with the Coptic Orthodox Church.

About Financial Matters

6. Q: How Does Coptic Orphans Ensure Financial Efficiency and Accountability? A: Coptic Orphans is totally committed to earning the trust of our donors and sponsors. Integrity is not only a commitment, it is a value that drives our whole organization. Besides an annual audit of Coptic Orphans by an independent auditing firm, we regularly conduct our own audits to make sure that funds are properly received, dispersed, tracked, and used most effectively in every project for every child. Our rigorous efficiency structures have won the highest rating from Charity Navigator, North America’s largest independent charity evaluator. We cut corners wherever we can such as relying on many donated supplies and services.

7. Q: Is My Contribution Tax Deductible? A: Yes. In the U.S., Coptic Orphans has 501(c)3 status and the Employer Identification Number (EIN) is 54-1637257. Donations in Australia are tax deductible. In Australia, donations over $2 are tax deductible. The Australian Business Number (ABN) is 27 138 388 851. Donations made in Canada are also tax deductible. Canada's tax ID number is 879517712RR0001.

8. Q: What are Your Administrative Costs? A: Less than 10% on average. We work very hard to keep administrative costs to a minimum. An audited financial statement is available upon request.

9. Q: Are You Part of Consolidated Campaigns? A: Yes, Coptic Orphans participates in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) for Federal government workers in addition to other state government campaigns. Our CFC number is 12153.

About Getting Involved

10. Q: What is Child Sponsorship and How Does it Help? Poverty is more than a lack of material possessions. With poverty often comes a lack of hope that requires compassion, love, and encouragement to overcome. Even those of us who are comfortable materially may be just as vulnerable to falling into hopelessness when it comes to our desire to make a difference. Sponsorship is a relationship that aims to overcome this by pairing a sponsor outside Egypt with a child inside Egypt. Sponsors and children write letters to one another, and sponsors also may visit and designate special gifts that go directly to their children. Sponsors also commit to support the program from which his or her sponsored child and many other children benefit with a monthly contribution of at least $50 per month. Each child in the Not Alone program has the opportunity to be matched with only one sponsor, to increase the opportunities for a vital relationship to develop. This personal relationship between sponsor and child carries the potential to be transformational both in the child’s life and to the sponsor's. For more information about sponsorship, see our Sponsorship FAQ's.

11. Q: I Don't Have Time to Develop a Relationship with a Child. Can I Just Donate? Absolutely! The difference with sponsorship is the special relationship that a sponsor forms with a child, but there is no difference in the impact your contribution will make in the lives of the fatherless in Egypt. Donate here.

12. Q: Can I Volunteer in Egypt? A: You can volunteer in Egypt through Serve to Learn, a summer program in which volunteers from all over the US, UK, Canada, and Australia travel to Egypt for three weeks to teach English and witness the living conditions of children first hand. Now and then, groups from churches or universities also come to engage in projects of various kinds in Egypt. If you are interested in a project like this, contact us.

13. Q: I Don't Have Any Money. What Can I Do? A: If you can't sponsor, donate, or go to Egypt, don't worry! We appreciate volunteer help in any form, especially in your local country office. You may also donate items. Telling your friends and acquaintances about Coptic Orphans is a good start. And we love to hear from you. Even a little feedback can help us improve and expand our services.