A popular form of giving for many Americans and Europeans is international child sponsorship, with over $3 billion contributed every year to support kids in developing countries. Until now, however, little was known about the long-term efficacy of such person-to-person aid. Thanks to a new study led by Bruce Wydick of the University of San Francisco, sponsors can take heart that their donations are making a difference. Wydick’s team surveyed 10,000 individuals in six countries where Compassion International, one of the leading sponsorship organizations, has an active presence. The survey found that, compared to their peers, adults who had been sponsored as children were 27-40 percent more likely to graduate from secondary school, 50-80 percent more likely to graduate from university, and 35 percent more likely to obtain professional employment. In interviews, formerly sponsored individuals most commonly mentioned the educational support that they received as the most valuable aspect of the program—but second to that they ranked “spiritual and character development,” rating it more than three times higher than economic assistance or other benefits.