Smile Train, Inc.

Rating: 2.53 stars   77 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Health, International

Location: 41 Madison Ave 28th Floor New York NY 10010 USA

Mission: Smile Train is an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate. Millions of children in developing countries with unrepaired clefts live in shame, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. Cleft repair surgery is simple, and the transformation is immediate. Our sustainable model provides training and funding to empower local doctors in 85+ developing countries to provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery in their communities. We use the “teach a man to fish” model focusing on training local doctors to perform cleft repairs in their communities. Those doctors then go on to train other doctors creating a long-term, sustainable system. Patients see their smile for the first time, parents cry tears of joy, lives and communities are changed forever. As a result of our efficiency and with the support of our donors and partners around the world, Smile Train has transformed the lives of more than one million children by giving them the power of a smile -- that's roughly 350 surgeries a day and 128,000+ every year. Join us and change the world one smile at a time.
Results: Since its beginning in 1999 Smile Train has provided more than 1,000,000 free surgeries for children who would otherwise never have received it.
Target demographics: children suffering from cleft lips and palates
Direct beneficiaries per year: 127,000+
Geographic areas served: 85+ of the world’s poorest countries
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EIN 13-3661416
1-800-932-9541
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Community Reviews

Rating: 2 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

I have given to Smile Train for many years. Once you give to this charity you are antedated with mail asking for more money. The AIP gives them a B- rating which is not good. The reason for this rating is because a small % is actually used to help the children.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Spend less on VIP salaries/overhead and more to help the children with this defect.

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

What a privilege to support this AMAZING organization! It's amazing when you recognize the incredible impact this organization makes on the children and families they serve. The fact that they can have this sort of impact for an average of $250 per surgery is stunning!

Congratulations on your great success Smile Train! You make a meaningful impact on a daily basis to the lives of millions.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None, that I'm aware of.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 1 stars  

35 people found this review helpful

I have given over a grand to what I had considered a worthy cause. Pres. Brian takes almost 700 thou. from this charity, a ludicrous amount. 2,800 cleft repairs are denied to push Brian into the enviable 1% of top takers. I was suspicious of his constant fundraising and his long standing at the helm of a charity. He should have moved on by now, so I did some digging and learned why he stayed, Smile Train is a pork train to anyone taking outrageous "compensation". I am sure Brian never left the office exhausted nor did anyone else. Why are they not part of Operation Smile????? I am a retired attorney and I shall follow through with the appropriate NY authorities. All compensation for staff at non profits should be spelled out prominently on their web site and not require an investigative journalist to seek out unconscionable gouging. Everyone opens their hearts and minds to these deserving children. Shame and more shame on profiteers!!!!!!!!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have volunteer top managers from business and academia serve one year, unpaid terms and move on. No professional, non profit porkers need apply!!!!! Non profit salaries for top "executives" have become ludicrous almost without exception. The Salvation Army is almost without blemish and Jean Kroc rewarded their fine work with infrastructure bequests, not confiscatory salaries.

Was your donation impactful?

Unsure

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Unlikely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

#thepowerofasmile
Smile Train not only changes lives for people born with a cleft lip and palate it educates Dr.'s, Nurses, and the public on the stigma of being born with a cleft. Smile Train has created a model that gives back by empowering. I am honored to say that many of my family members and friends give to this organization.
I myself was born with a cleft palate and enjoy seeing the SMILES that are created by such a wonderfully powerful organization!
#thepowerofasmile

Sandy Kreif

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

16 people found this review helpful

I made a donation to Smile Train about 10 months ago. I have been bombarded with constant emails and mail requesting more donations. i took myself off of their email list but once in awhile still get an email but even worse is constant mail requests. I wrote them a letter asking them to take me off of their list and got another letter a couple of weeks later. This is a more than once a month, more like 3 times a month maybe 4 times request via mail for more donations. I wrote another letter to Smile Train asking that they take me off their list and hopefully this will work. I will never donate again to them fearing that this constant barrage will start all over again. I donated to St. Judes Children Hospital in Mephis and they are very respectful in sending me a once in awhile request for a donation. Smile Train would get a zero on the above rating if that was possible!

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Smile Train is a charity near and dear to our hearts. They do tremendous work around the world saving lives by providing free surgeries to children and adults suffering from clefts. I was just in NYC and was able to visit the office and meet the people behind the scenes. I was impressed with everyone I met and feel like these people are dedicated to such a great cause. My family and I are very excited about continuing to fundraise for the Smile Train and hope to become even more involved in the future. I highly recommend this charity!

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Rating: 1 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

I have been a contributor in to Smile Train in the past but now before I write a check to any non-profit I go to http://www.tampabay.com/charitychecker/ and look up the organization. Great Nonprofits is just one of the organizations that they report the reviews from. I share other people's feelings about the top one percent getting fatter and fatter while most of us are struggling to get by. I feel especially strong about the heads of non-profits getting obscenely high compensation. If they believe in the cause they should be content with a good but reasonable salary. Think how many children could be helped with the money they pocket.

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Rating: 2 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

I've been giving at least enough for one and often 2 surgeries each year to Smile Train. I'm very disappointed that the CEO receives too generous a package. I care about the children and think the idea is incredible and worthwhile, but slick ad's and dozens of written requests upset me almost weekly in the mail. I also give to Operation Smile, which I am checking out today, before I write any more checks. If the charity checks out to my satisfaction, I won't stop donating, but it will go with a letter stating my preference for funds to truly go toward surgeries and that the executives earn a reasonable salary for their efforts, but not so much that they live in the 1% bracket. If you do charity work, we should consider our jobs part of our charitable actions.

I do believe that spending on marketing is important and so long as the amount spent brings in large contributions exceeding other methods, practical.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would more carefully limit my mailings to keep from over saturation and making donors feel angry instead of pleased at their own efforts. I would make certain that when I sold the information of a donor that I did so with care. When I get dozens of requests weekly, I tend to toss everything. A few get my attention when they are not constant mailings and in areas of concern to me.

Was your donation impactful?

Unsure

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Unsure

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 1 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I have a problem with them calling me all hours of the day and night. I have a caller ID, so I just don't answer the phone. They are very annoying. After reading the reviews, I won't donate to them anymore. I think it is so sad that they aren't using all of the money for the children.

Was your donation impactful?

Unsure

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

All CEO's should not make more than our President. Talk about a hard job, a thankless job and a demeaning job, our U. S. President has it. Do a little research on the top 1% of our nation (which includes many of the leading CEO's, sports people, rock stars, ect. ) and you will find their investments increased by 17% where as the rest of us decreased in overall net worth in 2013. Anyone should be able to live on $400,000.00 a year don't you think? I have given faithfully to Smile Train for many years but with this new website and more information, my money goes to an organization that uses my gift for the people not the Staff.....

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

decrease salaries and become more responsible with other peoples money. Use my donation for the surgeries you advertise....

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Unlikely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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