Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Smile Train, Inc.

59,011 pageviews

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Birth Defects & Genetic Diseases, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Health, International, International Development

Mission: Smile Train is an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate. Many children with clefts around the world live in isolation, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking. Cleft repair surgery is safe, and the transformation is immediate. Our sustainable model provides training, funding, and resources to empower local medical professionals in 85+ countries to provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities. We use the “teach a man to fish” model focusing on training local medical professionals to perform cleft repairs in their communities. Those medical professionals then go on to train others creating a long-term, sustainable system. Patients see their forever 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. 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 living with cleft lips and palates

Direct beneficiaries per year: one child received cleft surgery every five minutes.

Geographic areas served: 85+ of the countries around the world

Programs: Children born with clefts need more than just surgery. They may also need dental care, orthodontic treatment, and speech therapy. Where these services are available, we do everything we can to make them available to our patients. While our cost per cleft surgery varies across the 85+ different countries we have worked in, our contribution per surgery is as low as $250. This amount reflects the contribution per surgery that we provide our partner hospitals. They also cover a significant portion of each surgery as part of our cost-sharing agreement. Most children who are born with a cleft lip and/or palate develop normal speech once their palate is closed, but a significant amount will need further surgery or speech therapy. Communication problems that are addressed include language delay, articulation problems, and hypernasality. In the developed world, cleft repair is typically provided by multidisciplinary cleft/craniofacial teams comprised of professionals from a variety of healthcare backgrounds including surgeons and orthodontists who work on the child’s total rehabilitation. Smile Train provides vital dental and orthodontic treatment in countries where they are available. Smile Train provides essential free training and education to cleft surgeons and related medical professionals around the world. Since 1999, we have provided more than 66,000 free scholarships, surgical training resources, workshops, and symposiums for doctors and medical professionals from 140+ countries. Smile Train provides financial support that has been used for a wide range of applications, including new operating rooms, cleft surgical instruments and supplies like scalpels and sutures, crucial safety equipment like pulse oximeters, and much more. All of these investments make not only a significant number of incremental cleft surgeries possible, but also make these surgeries safer and of higher quality. Smile Train has played an integral role in developing some of the most cutting-edge advances in cleft care, including the award-winning Virtual Surgery Simulator, which makes complex cleft surgical techniques seem simple to understand, and our Speech Therapy App, which helps children gain confidence in their verbal abilities in their own language. Smile Train's Medical Advisory Board (MAB) is comprised of the best and brightest cleft experts in the world, from maxillofacial surgeons to anesthesiologists to speech pathologists. The MAB compiles information for Smile Train to disseminate in an effort to raise awareness and change public attitudes about clefts. Smile Train is active in launching patient outreach campaigns in an effort to reach patients even in the most remote of areas. These include radio advertisements and programs, fliers, print advertising in local newspapers (with pictures so that even people who are unable to read can be reached), collaborations with other organizations for patient referrals, SMS/text message alerts, and much more. Some of our patients are so malnourished they are not healthy enough to receive cleft surgery. In these cases, they are provided with food for one to two weeks before surgery. We also have patients that are so poor they have no money to get home after surgery. We have special programs that give small stipends to the poorest of the poor that allows them to receive their cleft treatments.

Community Stories

361 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experiences witnessing the barriers to dental care motivated me to become involved with the organization Smile Train. I have fundraised for treatment for children with clefts and provided literacy to the community about cleft conditions. My involvement with this organization not only fulfilled me deeply, but also gave me a background in oral and maxillofacial terminology while also improving my communication and teamwork skills. This experience will inevitably prepare me for a career as a dentist and help me reduce health-care disparities.

Donor

Rating: 3

I love the work they do. I have contributed for several years.
They do not publish an IRS 990 form with useful information. The salaries of management are not even listed.
I'd like a simple summary of (%) of donations used for programs. ($programs/$donations).
They seem to make it too hard do discover. Are they hiding something?
You can check the 990T at:
https://apps.irs.gov/pub/epostcard/cor/133661416_201806_990T_2019061016396533.pdf
ST is a terrific charity. I don't know about the organization.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been donating to Smile Train for a couple of years, and have visited some of the hospitals they support in Mexico and Central America. I must say it is an amazing job they do, they have created a Cleft Community: doctors, patients, families, donors and staff, they are all a big family changing the lives of the children, their families and their entire communities.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

There are many charities doing amazing work in the world, but I believe this to be one of the best.
I want to encourage any size donation no matter if its a $1 to a million whatever you can afford, this group will make the most of they money they are given.
But if you can donate $250 you have forever changed a life, more than just a meal or clothes, its lifetime of effects, its social acceptance, for friends, school, work opportunities. Also its about thriving, some of those children can feed properly and if every calorie counts this can be the difference between life or death.
There is no single gift of that amount that impacts a life long change in another human in all aspects of their life from how they feel to how they are treated, and the ability to live a normal life.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Nothing feels better that you are able to put a smile on someone's face.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a life-changing organization that gives the gift of a smile and social peace to every child it serves. It restores them as important members of their community and builds confidence to live with joy and enthusiasm. The doctors and medical staff that provide this care are brave, competent and selfless. The peace that these surgeries create is felt by all humanity. Smile Train is a fiscally responsible and transparent non-profit. Their website is user-friendly and it makes it easy to update information in seconds. I love this uplifting organization, the children they serve and the opportunity to give the gift of smiles of joy. Cheers to a lives of happiness and connection!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

"When you have done for one of these, you have done it on to Me" Smile Train might be secular but they make an impact on the lives of children that we will only know the true magnitude when we meet the Lord face to face. I can't imagine having a child with this condition and not been able to provide the means to change his/her life for the better. What a blessing is to live in the US. What a Blessing is to have organizations such as Smile a Train that have a commitment to do what ever is possible to give a helping hand and change a life for the better. May God Bless them always as they continue their work.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Smile Train is an incredible organization having helped provide over a million cleft surgeries to those in need. After seeing how their work can change a child’s life, it is impossible not to get involved. I have had the privilege of meeting some of their staff and their passion and dedication is infectious.

2 Ryan S.6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Smile train does so many nice things for people that would otherwise go untreated. The treatment they facilitate changes lives.

1 Chickie80

Donor

Rating: 5

Smile Train has literally transformed the lives of children the world over. It is because of Smile Train’s incredible work, my husband and I are proud to be members of the ‘Frequent Smiler’ program. There is no sweeter sight than the beautiful smiles on the faces of children; especially those who have been touched by the work and dedication of the doctors and medical teams of Smile Train. Since 1999, Smile Train has supported more than one million cleft surgeries. Translation: Over one million smiles of children the world over!

3 Phillip J.1

Donor

Rating: 5

Smile Train is one of the only not for profits that I've found which truly changes the life of the person helped - Donations are put to use in programs and you can see the end result so quickly, at least the smile! The long term effects have been proven to have very high and positive global economic impact, and that will surely only continue to grow! Definitely recommend supporting this charity.

3 Meredith P.1

Donor

Rating: 5

I am blown away by the work that Smile Train does. As a Registered Dietitian, it warms my heart to know that the free health care and surgeries that they provide allow children to properly nourish themselves through eating. That to me is one of the greatest gifts you can give to a child and that's what Smile Train does every single day.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The work that this great organization does around the globe warms my heart. Being able to give a child not only a smile, but to give them confidence is something that lasts a lifetime.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

The pictures tell the story- when you see the faces of the boys and girls with their new smiles - you feel good that you were able to help.

Tom M.5

Donor

Rating: 5

Great Charity that do important work, helping kids with Cleft palate . I've donated a few times (one off donations) and they've never nagged me or solicited for more donations, unlike other charities I've donated to in the past.

Smile Train get an A+ from me!

Donor

Rating: 5

Smile Train is doing great work for kids who are born with cleft palate. I recently came to know that one of dry wall guys who are working on our new home in India, has son born with cleft palate and he is 9 month old now. My dad told me about it, so I recommend that ask them to contact the Smile Train affiliate doctor in near town. With all my surprises, my dad told me that they already got in touch and the operation is scheduled later this month, and everything will be paid by Smile Train. I was very happy that someone like Smile Train is out there to make sure every child has a Smile on his/her face and making sure that poverty cannot be a reason for it.

Great work Smile Train and please keep doing it.

Donor

Rating: 1

I was told I would get an email notification after my first donation asking me to opt into monthly donations. I never got that email but they took my money monthly. This is a poor business practice.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Quite simply I think this one of the very best charities that a person can support. I can think of no other where you get so much satisfaction for your investment. The difference that these surgeries make in these peoples lives is beyond my comprehension.

tflood1431

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Deadbeat organization with past due bills of over two years. Keep demanding unnecessary documents to delay paying the past due bill. Over $30,000 owed . Shameful behavior.

Review from Guidestar

Previous Stories
4

Volunteer

Rating: 2

Smile Train has past due bills that are 2 years past due!!!

Review from Guidestar

5 Ellyn H.

Donor

Rating: 5

Smile Train is the largest sustainable children's cleft charity in the world. Smile Train permanently transforms the lives of poor children born with cleft in 85+ countries worldwide and I have witnessed their work first-hand in Mexico and Argentina. Smile Train is the real deal!

4 Lloyd N.

Donor

Rating: 5

This one of a handful of charities that I support. I have donated to them repeatedly. The work they they perform seems unmatched.

Previous Stories
3

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been a donor for many years. They perform a service that is second to none.