By Kate Andrews, ChildFund Staff Writer
On Oct. 6, 1938, our founder, Dr. J. Calvitt Clarke, received a charter for China’s Children Fund Inc. from the State Corporation Commission of Virginia. Through the course of the next 75 years, the organization would evolve to become ChildFund International, which today serves 17.8 million people in 30 countries.
Among the officers on CCF’s board at the time of the charter were three Richmonders: President Eudora Ramsey Richardson, Vice President T. Nelson Parker and Secretary and Treasurer Clarke.
Richardson, who was born in Kentucky and moved to Richmond as a child, was full-time director of the Virginia Writers’ Project, which sent clerks, writers, editors and others who had been without work during the 1930s to gather life histories, social-ethnic studies and interviews with 50 former slaves. It was part of a federal project, which fell under the umbrella of the Works Progress Administration and employed 8.5 million people during the Great Depression.
Parker was a former Richmond mayor and insurance commissioner for Virginia.
Richardson served as president of the executive committee until 1944, and Parker succeeded her, staying in the post for 30 years.
In part, the 1938 charter reads:
“To solicit and receive voluntary contributions in and on the North American Continent and transmit such funds … to China for looking after, caring for, and rehabilitating the poor and indigent children of China. … To cooperate with and assist responsible child welfare institutions and agencies in China and to establish orphanages, homes and other agencies throughout the country of China.”
It was the beginning of an organization that would make reaching the hardest-to-reach children its mission.