Thursday, 29 November 2012

History of UNICEF greeting cards

In the late 40s, when UNICEF was established,  unlike other UN organizations funded with compulsory contributions from member states, the Fund received just voluntary donations from people and governments.
Maurice Pate, first UNICEF's Executive Director and his assistants were always working on new ideas to raise money and expand the net of donors for the Fund. (information excerpt from the book "The children and the Nations" published by Development historian Maggie Black at: )

The first design for the cards, shown below, was a picture of a maypole painted on glass by a seven-year-old Czechoslovakian girl Jitka Samkova. Jitka and her classmates were regular drinkers of Unicef milk, and the paintings they produced were a 'thank-you', sent off to UNICEF's bureau in Prague by their teacher.

The picture from Prague was sent to the office in Vienna directed by Al Davidson, who asked Grace Holmes Barbey, Executive Director Assistant in an information mission in Europe, to bring the painting, first to Paris and then to the HQ in New York. Once arrived in New York, Ms Barbey in collaboration with Gil Redfern, Helen Matousek and Mrs Edwards and with the support of the Executive Director decided to publish a small amount of greeting cards based on the May pole painting to fund a small project (excerpt from an interview of Ms Holmes Barbey).

Nowadays, UNICEF greetings and Christmas cards are printed in the hundreds of millions.  In 2010 the sales of Cards and Gifts amounted to US$15.5 million a bit lower than expected due to the global recession, but still representing an important financial source for the work of the Fund.

Don't forget to buy UNICEF cards and gifts for a good cause!!!!!