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2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Smile Train, Inc.

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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: 90+ 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

445 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

16

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: 5

Smile train has helped my nephew so much. They are amazing, professional, and so compassionate! Thank you for all that you do!

Donor

Rating: 5

Excellent cause; Easy to donate ... high impact charity.
SMILE your donation gets more bang for your buck!

Donor

Rating: 5

YOU ARE AN EXAMPLE OF HUMANITY, LOVE AND DIGNITY, A BUNCH OF GOLDEN HEARTS. THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU DO, AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

Donor

Rating: 5

This was the first time i donated to this organization. I found them on the BBB list of accredited charities. Children should have a face they can love themselves first. We all know how people can be mean.

Barbara Lepak G.

Donor

Rating: 3

I support the work that they do but wish less was spent on fund raising and more on operations that improve children's lives. It was easy to donate online.

Donor

Rating: 5

Smile Train does so much good for children around the world born with a cleft lip and/or palate. In this holiday season, Smile Train provides HOPE and JOY all year long for these children to live a happy and productive life. It is my honor to be a donor and be a small part in helping this organization achieve their goal: "Changing the World One Smile at a Time!!

Donor

Rating: 5

Small cash all I have, big difference to someone's life

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is the fourth year in a row that we have donated to your wonderful charity, hoping we are able to continue giving each year.

Jeffrey W.6

Donor

Rating: 5

EASY TO DONATE QUICK AND EFFICIENT. A CHARITY MY LATE WIFE AND I HAVE SUPPORTED OVER MANY YEARS

Donor

Rating: 5

Just search for Smile Train on social media and see for yourself the good this charity is doing. With so much pain in the world right now, you can bring some healing to a stigmatised child. Today I have just doubled my monthly giving.

1 Doris Bryant P.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My gift to myself every Christmas is a smile--on the face of a child somewhere who needed help to have one. A lifetime gift that has the power to change a life. I smile myself, every time I imagine seeing theirs.
Smile Train gives the babies and little ones what they can get no other way--a beautiful smile.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a retired Neonatal Nurse who spent hours helping our littlest blessings begin their lives.
Being blessed myself with healthy children and grandchildren, it was time to give back. The surgery supplied by Smile Train makes such an impact in these children's lives. No more, unable to eat properly, no longer shun by their communities, and no longer on the sidelines watching kids play and not being allowed because of their looks. My heart said it is time to help these little ones. Thank you for the opportunity.

Donor

Rating: 5

A wonderful gift to children in need. This non-profit is a godsend to many children who need surgery that might never have an option.

Donor

Rating: 5

Life changing for recipients , really that simple. Wonderful people who make that happen

1 Susan S.23

Donor

Rating: 5

As a retired family nurse practitioner, I understand how this can change the life of a family. I donate thru Amazon as the organization I support and have sent money to Smile Train for many years. I'm happy to know that everyday they are improving the lives of all these families.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Yo tuve la experiencia y la fortuna de encontrar el apoyo de operación sonrisa en ese entonces, hace 45 años, cuando mi hijo mayor nació. Fue realmente traumático para mi darme cuenta que mi hijo había nacido con labio y paladar hendido, pero como lo digo afortunadamente encontré esta organización que me dió el apoyo necesario para que mi hijo pudiese avanzar en la vida sin problema gracias a las cirugías y tratamientos que recibió en su niñez. Siempre estaré agradecida con estas organizaciones que hacen posible que los niños con este tipo de problemas tengan una vida perfectamente normal y puedan desarrollarse humanamente acordeones principios cristianos. Gracias por su labor

Rosemary M.5

Donor

Rating: 5

I give to Smile Train in thanks because one of my great-grandsons was born with cleft lip and palate here in the UK where we are lucky to have the NHS to treat our children. He is a happy lively smart and well balanced beautiful child. I wish I could help all children born like this but will give what I can manage and be thankful

1 Michelle S.29

Donor

Rating: 5

Smile Train is one of my favorite organizations.

There's a Buddhist teaching that says a smile is like shining a light in the darkness.

It makes my heart smile to support Smile Train! They send me pictures, stories, and updates. They save lives and bring big smiles to people all over the world!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The smiles on the parents says it all, but seeing the childs wish before surgery and afterwards and undoubtedly this is Life Changing Work that needs to keep helping others for free.
Will remember to donate every year, as long as I can.

Learned about this via Smile Pinki, the 2008 Academy Award winning short documentary.

Take care of yourself. And take care of somebody else.
- George Carlin

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband received a donation request from Smile Train, Inc. years ago. I read the literature and thought what a great non profit org this is and we've been making donations every since then. You receive literature informing what your donation added to other donations does for these children. Its a good feeling knowing how we help a child grow healthier and healthier by having the surgery to correct clefts.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Very helpful l God Bless you
All !ce esto por un programa que vi en la televisión mientras estaba encarcelado
Pero Dios me dio la visión de cómo ayudar al prójimo sin nada a cambio es un largo testimonio pero para Dios nada es imposible ❤️

Donor

Rating: 5

Donating was easy and felt secure. Smile Train, Inc. appears to be a highly-rated and worthwhile place to make a charitable donation.

Donor

Rating: 3

I do pray all proceeds go to help them.
Our little intervention can make a life changing difference to the afflicted.
May our endeavours be rewarded.

Kate S.9

Donor

Rating: 5

As a nurse, I know the devastating consequences of an unrepaired cleft palate to the lives of children around the world. A cleft repair is a life-changing event for every child who receives one in countless ways, sometimes life-saving. Every time I give a monetary gift to Smile Train, I am enriched by having done so for the benefit of these children.

Lawrence M.1

Donor

Rating: 5

Great charity! I give monthly but you can give just once or as many times as you want! Give a kid a !

Luis Capri D.

Donor

Rating: 5

I love everything about this organization. Smile Train you are truly doing an awesome job. Thank you for all your do.

Donor

Rating: 5

I support this charity because it is a priveledge to be able to help these children have a chance at a normal life and to eliminate any suffering they may go through because of this deformity.The medical teams involved are amazing to give of their time and expertise at no cost to the families. God bless all of them!

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a very nice charity. I would encourage you to give monthly. It can make a big difference in a child's life.

Veronica C.3

Donor

Rating: 5

No experience, just seem such a wonderful charity of kindness, care and love. That is why I decided to donate.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am so excited to help. This organization is life saving.

Dianne Drummey M.

Donor

Rating: 5

I got an illness (not cleft pallet) and it feels good to help these children so they don't get teased and bullied like I did.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been wanting to give to this organization because they do so much with so little and just a little is all I am able to give. They made it easy to do online, too. Thank you for helping these precious children smile! :)

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Longtime great charity! Well worth supporting! You can donate part of your ebay sales to Smile Train, too!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I was moved by the advert on TV showing those sweet kids who, hopefully, soon, through donations, will be able to smile.

Yosvaldy F.

Donor

Rating: 5

Thanks for such amazing work! We, all parents in the world, give you a big thank you. God bless you.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I’ve supported smiletrain for over 12 years and love the way they operate- one child’s corrected palate changes the life of that child and their family. My own child has a a medical condition that currently isn’t “curable” but I’m at least living in a country where we have a hope of getting the cure if it becomes available. I cannot tell you what joy that would bring and what a difference it would make to our daughters life. Smiletrain try really hard not to waste a penny, ensuring they work with, rather than overlap existing medical care, making it possible for local professionals to do the work where this can be achieved, whilst monitoring quality and safety and keeping staff count low.

Donor

Rating: 5

A fantastic way to help kids go through life without this unfortunate burden that thankfully can be fixed relatively easily.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I Love what they do; beautiful people helping those WHO CANT HELP THEMSELVES!❤

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had a child 50 years who was born with cleft palate who unfortunately died
as a baby and have supported Smile Train now for many years in memory of him and I think what this charity doing is amazing

Mary L.10

Donor

Rating: 5

Smiletrain does such amazing work, giving young people confidence in themselves and opening up a whole new world for them

Donor

Rating: 5

This is by far, one of the most rewarding charities in the world. Knowing that a life can be changed forever, is such a wonderful gift to give. Thank you for making it possible for those people who dearly need it.

1 Ronnie L.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a speech pathologist in training I learned about the challenges children born with cleft palates face. Surgical intervention can be life saving for infants who may not be able to suck. Surgical repair can give a child the gift of living a normal life.
SmileTrain provides this service to children who would not have access to this help otherwise. I am impressed with the wonderful work it does.




Donor

Rating: 5

Good cause and simple website. I don’t know much about this field of work but I know they are changing lives for the better.

Donor

Rating: 5

Just want to give back! Stay Blessed. I don't know what else to say, because that's all there is to it. But I needed at least 50 characters!

Ok, so I found out you guys want a story.
Hope this motivates someone to give back even if it's just a dollar!

All my life I've wanted lots of things. I'm obsessed with how things look, I've always had my sister giving me all I've ever wanted. And over the years I've tried to give as much as I can. But there were times where I didn't necessarily do it with what some may call "good intention".
Someone once taught me to pay it forward. And ever since then It took a while for it to stick. But it's all about giving, without requiring anything in return. I hope this really helps someone it's a bit vague, but it's the truth #Life
Peace and Love Kings and Queens!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Amazing to receive a photograph today of the "before and after" surgery of the child in Cambodia, who you used our donation to treat. It's made everyone here happy - thank you for your work and we will continue to support you.

Brenda H.9

Donor

Rating: 5

I'd love to hope I made a difference to the life of a child.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have lived in Africa for many years and seen first hand these poor children and their unneccessary suffering. Please good people, donate a sum every month to help put the smile back on that sweet little face. Bless you Mike

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I recently found out about Smile Train through a mail package I received in my mailbox. The non-profit organization's mailing brochure was well-presented, telling the Smile Train story quite easily and thoroughly, and, since I'd not heard of Smile Train prior to receipt of their mail piece, i decided to dig deeper and see what has been published on their performance and delivery of
surgically corrected smiles. what I discovered was enough to convince me that Smile Train is a
well-run, highly effective, and committed organization that does what they say they do. I am pleased to have received the information on Smile Train, and I look forward to supporting this wonderful organization for many years to come. I just gave Smile Train a $1000.00, first time gift. Won't you join me? You can give as little as $25.00. Please join me in bringing smiles to the faces of children born with a cleft condition, children who would not otherwise have had the opportunity to look in the mirror and see their own smile . Thank you, Smile Train, for introducing your organization to me this morning.
Thomas Kemper
Dallas, TX

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Having been born with a severe cleft palate in 1950 and with the help of wonderful doctor's who at the time used experimental procedures. Over years of operations and dental procedure I can say that I went on to become a teacher for over 40 years with out a severe speech impediment. I am forever grateful for their great vision.

1

Donor

Rating: 4

I've been supporting SMileTrain for some time now, because what they do is really quite simple surgery, but which has a huge beneficial effect on the person and their friends and family. The cleft-lip is a really awful thing, and one would hope studies are being made into its cause, although I suspect it is genetic, like haemophilia.
So in the absence oF a cure for children yet unborn, SmileTrain offer the next best thing.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been donating to Smile Train for about two years. It is very heartwarming to see the smile of the children on their website who have had a cleft operation. Donating just $25/month is about the easiest way I know to spread love and goodwill to children and their mothers around the world. These children can be quite sad and lonely because of their affliction and I am grateful to be able to help.
Cheers

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My donation to this group has everything to do with my dad. He was a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who repaired many cleft palates for children during his career. Every time I donate, it is for James W. Kelley, M.D. He has been gone for years, but the memory of his work and his empathy for others will always live on.

Donor

Rating: 5

smiletrain does an excellent job helping children around the world
GOD BLESS!

Donor

Rating: 5

I am grateful that I'm able to donate and help even if it is in a small way. What Smile Train does for kids around the world is inspiring.

Donor

Rating: 5

After viewing the photos of these beautiful children on with this facial disfigurement my heart was broken. I knew I needed to reach out and help them receive the surgery they need to live a normal and functional life. The results of these life-changing surgeries it's amazing. Truly a worthwhile and deserving cause. Tony R.

Jim H.9

Donor

Rating: 5

Very worthwhile donation. All children with disabilities need and deserve our help.

1 Jonathon D.

Donor

Rating: 5

I was offered an extension of %80 discount on high-priced sound equipment and the savings are now the childrens

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Wonderful charity, easy to donate, doing an amazing job, thank you on behalf of the children.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Easy process to donate to a highly rated charity (Charity Navigator).

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Smile Train is very generous about matching and do one of the most essential humanitarian missions in the world. It was perhaps the NYT who said that they were "the most productive charity, dollar for deed." Paypal partnered with them. That makes me trust that they are not just legit but exceptional in their desire to provide unselfish care. I've supported them for years and they have mailed me follow up photos of the surgeries I helped provide.

2 Oliver C.

Donor

Rating: 5

I don't have a lot of money, but to know that my $250. donation can make such an amazing difference in the life of one person is really rewarding. That such a simple operation can mean so much to someone is awesome. It's so simple; it's brilliant.

Donor

Rating: 5

It breaks my heart to see this children with this type of problem, I can't imagine how much they suffer at home, school and in the community.
I wish I could donate even more, but I wish that even this small amount will make a difference in the life of a child.

I hope that everyone reading this review can feel the urge to donate to help on, two, three or even many children that have this problem.
Thank you Smile Train staff and volunteers for the great job you're doing.

Oscar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My children and I have always saved money as a family to give to Smile Train as often as we can. There is nothing more beautiful than a Childs smile. Thank you for all you do!

Sandra Fair

Donor

Rating: 4

I would be grateful if you could furnish me with the % that is attributed to back room/administration and directly to helping patients.
I ask this of all charities I contribute too, also the salary of the chief executive?
Many thanks Seán Higgins