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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Free to Smile Foundation Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Medical Disciplines, Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Charity & Voluntarism Promotion, Surgical Specialties

Mission: Free to Smile Foundation is dedicated to supporting and sustaining comprehensive, quality surgical and dental services to poor and underprivileged children and adolescents throughout the world. To this end, our volunteers and partner organizations will provide free surgical, dental and educational care for all that are served by the foundation across the globe.

Results: Free to Smile Foundation brings together individuals with a common vision who take action and do what we can to make the world a better place. We have worked hard to forge strong partnerships with local organizations at our mission sites in Guatemala, Tibet, Cambodia, and Niger, and look forward to expanding our reach through the support of friends, donors, and volunteers.

Target demographics: Free to Smile Foundation targets poor and underprivileged children and adolescents through comprehensive, quality surgical and dental services.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Free to Smile Foundation performs an average of 35-55 cleft lip or palate surgeries on each surgical mission, and provides dental care for 100-200 patients on each dental mission. From February 2011 to February 2012, direct beneficiaries exceeded 500 children and adolescents.

Geographic areas served: Current mission sites include Guatemala, Tibet, Cambodia,Ethiopia and Niger.

Programs: Our team of doctors and volunteers donate all services to patients at no charge. To ensure all donated money is used most efficiently to help the children in need, we pay our own airfares to our mission sites in Guatemala, Cambodia, Tibet, and Niger.

Community Stories

37 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the great fortune of being able to volunteer with FTS last April in Guatemala and found it to be tremendously rewarding. I learned so much from the caring and talented volunteers who came from all over the country to assist this organization in treating the immensely deserving and grateful people of Guatemala. I know that we were signing up to help the underprivileged people of Guatemala to receive the dental care and cleft palate surgeries that they needed so desperately, but I came away from the experience with so much as well. I plan to continue supporting Free to Smile for many years to come.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just went on a cleft lip/palate trip to Guatemala with Free to Smile, and was amazed at the work done by this incredible group of people. My role was photographer for the group, and I saw first-hand the joy on the parents' faces when they saw their child after surgery. To see them thanking the volunteers and telling them tearfully that they have changed their child's life and they can now have a future - it was an amazing sight to behold. As a mama of a cleft lip and palate child myself, I am so happy to see the dedication and love that goes into and pours forth from Free to Smile. So many thanks to all the volunteers for all that they do!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned of Free to Smile after I met the co-founders at our son's school. I will never forget how impressed I was to hear of their travels and works. Throughout the last five years, I've attended fundraisers and donated money to support their efforts. Last fall, I had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia on a mission as the administrative role. It's difficult to find the words to explain how the trip changed my life. The group of people that run FTS and those that attend FTS trips are so selfless, compassionate, generous and loving. I realize there are much larger organizations that fund cleft lip and palette surgeries, but FTS is different. The volunteers pay their own way willingly and don't expect any financial support from the FTS fundraising. If you're looking to help children have a new life by correcting their cleft lip or palette, this is the organization to donate to. Every dollar you give truly changes a life.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of volunteering on multiple medical missions with Free To Smile. I look forward to every one of them. These medical missions are what keep me going through the year at my job back home. The board members, who participate on and organize the medical missions, truly care about and have a passion for what they are doing and that translates to all of the volunteers. Whether you're a new volunteer or seasoned, everyone is friendly and welcoming. Stacy is amazing! EVERY trip is well-organized and she makes sure everything runs smoothly and we have what we need to take care of all the children. I have volunteered on medical missions with other organizations and none have topped the quality and caring I have seen with Free To Smile. I am proud to be a part of such a wonderful cause with a fantastic Foundation.

2 Carla35

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have gone on three mission trips with Free to Smile in the past year. This organization has truly changed my life along with the hundreds of children they help every year. Every trip has run smoothly and is adequately staffed. Free to smile truly puts forth its resources to make sure every child they serve has top notch care throughout the perioprative process. I can't say enough about Free to Smile. They are a cut above the rest!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered ,for the first time,with FTS this past September and cannot wait go with this organization again. They were organized with our transportation accommodation and meals. And more so, the organization on the ground with the hospital and Tess UnLimited was flawless. It made the work us volunteers had to do so much smoother and easier.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a registered nurse and I have traveled to Guatemala with Free to Smile for the last 7 years. This is an extraordinary group of talented and caring individuals who come together a week at a time to change lives. The work they do, and the caring they show to each person they come in contact with is cherished by those they touch. They do more than surgery. They give children a future.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love Free to Smile! I am a high schooler who loves the work FTS does to help children in third world countries. I can't go on a mission trip, but I still try to help with mailings and local fundraisers.

siacono

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer regularly with Free to Smile Foundation. They are the best. Everything on a mission runs smoothly and the environment is always positive and fun. The work done by FTS is amazing. To be able to be there personally to see the changes that are being made in the lives of those in need and to see the look on parents faces when their baby is finally repaired is an experience I will always treasure.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The work that Free to Smile does is life-changing and incredible. I have traveled 3 times with FTS and have seen the faces of the parents and children of Guatemala and experienced with them the joy of finally having a cleft lip or palate fixed. Free to Smile Foundation and it’s Founders, Byron and Stacy Henry, put their whole hearts into this foundation and the work they do. Traveling with FTS is easy because they are so well-organized. The planning and execution of trips is nearly flawless, so that everyone is able to focus on the purpose of the trip and accomplishing our goal of helping those in need in severely under served regions. I plan to return to Guatemala with FTS in February and I can't wait!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer surgeon with FTS for 3 years and multiple missions. Every time my respect and admiration of this organization, and the people behind it, continues to grow.

Nearly 3 years ago I wrote:

Many nonprofit charity groups are worthy of recognition, but Free To Smile stands apart from the rest. The people associated with this organization at every level exemplify selflessness and compassion, and it is evident in their work. They are focused and caring individuals who are driven to serve humanity on a global scale. I have participated as a surgeon on other mission trips, but my experience with Free To Smile has surpassed them all. I am proud of my association with this wonderful group of people, and look forward to many more opportunities to be a part of the Free To Smile team.

Those words are more true today than they were when I wrote them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went on my first mission to Guatemala in September 2013 as a non medically trained person. Each volunteer pays their own airfare, hotel and meals. Everything is well organized. The money you donate truly goes to the patient surgery and care. I have donated both time and money to Free To Smile and highly recommend them. Free to Smile changes the life of the patient, their family, the volunteer, making the world a little bit better.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been on several FTS mission trips as a translator. It has always been an honor and privilege to participate in the life changing procedures carried out by the FTS volunteers. I never imagined being able to use my language skills in such a meaningful way. I am grateful to have been involved with FTS, and look forward to my future involvement. I feel like I have gotten out as much or more than those that we have served. Dr. and Mrs. Henry are true heroes to the impoverished, and run a top notch organization with no agenda other than to serve those less fortunate. I thank them for the opportunity to help out.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a plastic surgeon and have been a volunteer with many organizations involved in repair of cleft lips and palates in Latin America and Africa. Free To Smile is unique in operating with the lowest possible overhead while recruiting the most enthusiastic volunteers that I have worked with and obtaining the best results that I have seen on any of my projects. It is a very special group with great leadership.

1 Lauren86

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a pediatric nurse and volunteered on a mission trip to Guatemala this past year. This experience with Free To Smile changed my life in more ways than one. It is hard to put into words what this organization does for those underprivileged and ostracized in this world. Free to Smile gives those in desperate need a chance to be part of their community and also gives them a second chance at life that they would not normally be granted. Their selfless giving shows such great compassion to these children and their families. To see the smiles on the children and their loved ones is one of the greatest gifts I've been given. Stacy and Byron Henry are truly great people who genuinely care to make a difference in this world. I am so privileged to be a firsthand witness to their unique gift to the world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Free To Smile Foundation is definitely a GREAT Nonprofit and an incredible organization! I have been a special event volunteer with FTS for the past four years. FTS provides life-changing cleft lip and palate surgeries and dental services/education programs, which are improving the lives of so many people and their families throughout the world! FTS has a special place in our hearts, as our daughter was born with a cleft lip and palate 15 years ago. We know, first-hand, how incredibly challenging this birth defect can be with regards to feeding, overall nutrition, many surgeries, and socially, as well. To hear the stories about how some of the children and adults are shunned in these impoverished, third-world countries because of their deformity, makes us very sad. At the same time, we are very grateful for the wonderful care our daughter received here in the US and we are extremely impressed with the work of FTS in other countries around the globe to help these individuals with our same challenges. We know how much it means to receive help in repairing the cleft lip and palate and the positive results that affect many areas of someone's life - especially a child's life! The FTS Co-Founders, the FTS Board, and the mission and event volunteers have a genuine passion for wanting to help others and make a difference. I am very proud to be involved with such a wonderful organization.

Simon2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm impressed by the efficiency with which donated resources and funds are delivered to the care of patients.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have now been on 3 trips organized by Free To Smile. I am honored to have been able to participate in the activities of this organization where very good quality medical care is provided in less than ideal situations, to people desperately in need of these surgeries and done so with an organizational structure that wastes nothing.
Beyond the reward of being able to help others it is also rewarding to be able to say thank you directly to a donor and know that what that generous person has decided to donate is respected by a body that uses these donations very efficiently.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Free to Smile in February, 2014 as a translator in Guatemala. What an amazing experience and organization. Free to Smile was well organized, communicated well, and took great care of patients, families, and volunteers. Being able to help the children and their families was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. Thank you Free to Smile for your work and for allowing me to be a small part of it!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I accompanied Free to Smile on a Guatemala mission and was impressed with how quickly the team became comfortable with each other and how wonderfully they worked together - you'd think they all worked with each other on a daily basis back home! Returning volunteers made the new volunteers feel so welcome and useful. Stacy and Byron did a great job at organizing all aspects and making each volunteer feel valued. Every team member worked so well with the families, too - such sincerity, love and compassion. It was a very inspiring week.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wow! Another awesome mission trip with the Free To Smile Foundation in February to Uspantan, Guatemala. This was my 4th mission trip as a surgical nurse to Guatemala with Free To Smile. We were able to change the lives forever of 39 beautiful children during our surgical mission in Guatemala. I feel Blessed to be involved in this mission, to be part of the change that will allow these children to look and feel whole. As always, the attention to detail and the organization of this trip excelled thanks to the many talents of Stacy Henry. I was honored once again to work side by side with Dr. Byron Henry in the operating room. His surgical skills are truly incredible! The entire team was very flexible and talented as well. Thanks for another memorable mission!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a Maxillofacial Surgery resident I had the unique opportunity to travel to Guatemala on a Free to Smile Trip in February of 2013. I was extremely impressed with quality and adaptability of the Free to Smile Organization. Stacy's team management, logistical coordination and support was the cornerstone to this uniquely well run trip. The team worked together extremely well and the efficiency of our time at the hospital surpassed that of the hospital that I work at currently in the United States. The team was curated tremendously well by Byron and Stacy. The mentorship I received from Dr. Henry inside and outside the OR has reinforced my passion for public health at a time in residency when it has waned. I value my experience in Guatemala as the single most rewarding experience, educationally and emotionally, that I have had since I began my residency.