Founding of UNICEF 

Tunisia #569 was issued for the 25th anniversary of UNICEF.

On December 11, 1946, the United Nations created UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund).

The United Nations itself was established just a year earlier, in October 1945. Shortly after, it created the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) to fight the famine and disease that spread across Europe in the wake of World War II.

Item #UN161-63 was issued for the 20th anniversary of UNICEF.

By the end of 1946, many of these nations were recovering and the UNRRA was planned to close. However, it still had funds, and there were still plenty of people in need of aid, especially as the approaching winter was expected to be one of the worst on record.

Item #UN466-67 was issued for UNICEF’s Child Survival Campaign.

Meanwhile, filmmakers with the U.S. Army had created a 19-minute documentary titled Seeds of Destiny, which showed children begging, searching for food in the garbage, and suffering in hospitals and orphanages. This documentary raised $200 million for children’s aid and was shown at the last meeting of the UNRRA. That day they decided that the remainder of their budget should be used to fund an organization that provided aid to children. They also received inspiration from the Save the Children International Union, which had been founded during World War I and adopted by the League of Nations in 1924.

The proposal for this new organization was submitted to the United Nations General Assembly, which accepted it and formed UNICEF on December 11, 1946. The task of this agency was to supply children with the necessities of life. Emergency supplies of food, clothing, and medicine were among its top priorities. Eventually the world recovered from WWII, but a new awareness of child welfare and basic rights had been accomplished through the U.N.’s effort. It was decided that the children’s fund would become a permanent agency in 1953. Although it was renamed the United Nations Children’s Fund, the original program was so popular that it is still called UNICEF to this day.

Item #UN688-89 features artwork by Disney artists of popular children’s stories.

In 1965, UNICEF received a high honor – the Nobel Peace Prize for “fulfilling the condition of Nobel’s will, the promotion of brotherhood among the nations” and serving as “a peace-factor of great importance.”

Today UNICEF is the largest international agency whose single purpose is to serve children. An executive board of thirty nations who meet once a year to discuss new programs and policies controls it. An executive director is in charge of the board, whose headquarters are located in New York City. Volunteer groups and other agencies give additional support.

Finland #443 – Issued for the 20th anniversary of UNICEF.

Seventy-five percent of UNICEF’s financial needs are met by the contributions of participating governments. Money is also provided through charities and fundraisers. Children in the U.S. often go door-to-door selling calendars and greeting cards. One of the organization’s most well known fundraising efforts is Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. This began in 1950 when a group of Philadelphia children donated $17 they got on Halloween to help victims of World War II. Since then, the U.S. alone has raised more than $132 million.

Item #MP1130 – Collection of 25 worldwide stamps honoring UNICEF.

UNICEF provides aid wherever it is needed, regardless of race, creed, religion, or geographic location. Special attention is given to programs that provide long-term benefits to as many as possible, and at little cost. Insecticides, vaccines, antibiotics, and basic medical supplies are used to fight disease. Powdered milk and food processing equipment are sent to battle malnutrition. Cash grants are given to support schools and day care centers. Training is provided for doctors, nurses, and health workers. Often children are saved from disease or starvation by a few pennies worth of medicine.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

Did you like this article? Click here to rate:
Share this Article


  1. When I was a child I became aware of what was a seasonal plea for funds from UNICEF and some kids that were from my neighborhood became involved in promotion of the cause and collection of donations. Sister Mary Brian, my teacher, acted as coordinator of collected funds and assured that they were properly appropriated. I, who was not involved in the program, selfishly stated to my parents that they would have more money for our Christmas if they didn’t just give money away. My father, in his infinite wisdom, volunteered my services to a girl who was going door to door for donations. I was appalled by what I had to do. Her sincerity won me over and I became proud to be an advocate for such a program. My father was so impressed with what he had achieved that he signed me up for an annual donation to Father Flannigan’s Boys Town. A dollar a year ,when your allowance is 50 cents a week and 11 years old really cut into the Christmas present budget. I hope my benefactors from UNICEF and Boys Town feel as good as I did for getting involved.

  2. Sorry to burst your bubble. Much of the UNICEF funding ad support has been siphoned away by corrupt governments and never reached the people who need it. Why do I say this? Because I have seen it personally, especially in Africa.

    1. Sorry for the late reply, Anthony. I have seen the same abuse by UNICEF in Africa during my eight year stay there. Many of the UNICEF personnel ride in chauffeured vehicles and the organization is filled with careerists with high paying jobs. Money can best be given to various missionary projects in you house of worship or the Peace Corps (I was a Peace Corps Volunteer). One can also “adopt” a child in a developing country to meet his/her personal and family needs with a modest monthly support via an organization. I support a child in the Philippines and hope to see him complete high school. Helping people on a person-to-person is much more effective!

  3. I am watching a past episode of Criminal Minds and the quote as they were flying to their new crime scene (paraphrase) “Nothing is so painful as a dream, fantasy, or ideal being dispelled for the sake of reality”. I would speak of intentions at the time but I already know where they lead. Can’t blame Anthony and Hans for the truth, in fact I thank them for their service. The words charity and defile should never appear in the same sentence. It’s obviously upsetting to realize one’s naivete, so I’ll have to find comfort in tax deductible. Damn it man!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *