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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Fresh Start Surgical Gifts

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Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Surgical Specialties


Fresh Start Surgical Gifts transforms the lives of disadvantaged children and young people with physical deformities caused by birth defects, accidents, abuse, or disease through the gift of reconstructive surgery and related health care services. Our vision is to build a community of volunteers committed to seeing that every child with a physical deformity is given the opportunity to have a positive self-image, thereby enriching the lives of both the receiver and giver.

Results: Since our inception in 1991 Fresh Start Surgical Gifts has provided over $30,000,000 worth of donated medical care to over 7,000 children.

Target demographics: children and teens suffering from physical deformities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 408 children and teens were served through 1,175 treatments

Geographic areas served: United States and International

Programs: Surgery Weekends provide free reconstructive plastic surgery and related medical services to disadvantaged children and young people with physical deformities. Fresh Start hosts six to seven Surgery Weekends a year where some of the most knowledgeable experts in reconstructive surgery donate their time to transform the lives of over 500 children with deformities. Services are provided at the Fresh Start Clinic at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego to children from the US and internationally by an all-volunteer team of surgeons and medical professionals. Some of the conditions treated include: Microtia, Hemangioma, Neurofibromatosis, Hairy Nevus, Cleft lip and Cleft palate, Treacher Collins Syndrome, Portwine Stains, and Hemifacial Microsomia. In our continued effort to offer holistic care to every child we serve, our Surgery Weekends also include a Laser Clinic and speech therapy.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 5

Fresh Start is an outstanding charity. One hundred percent of the donations it receives are used to improve the lives of the children it serves. There are very few charities in the world that can make that claim. When my wife and I donate to a worthy cause, it is important to us that our donation be used in an appropriate manner rather than consumed in administrative costs. With Fresh Start, we know that our wishes in that regard are always fulfilled.

Review from Guidestar


Rating: 5

Fresh Start is one of the most amazing organizations in this field. From a donor point of view this is a dream come true. all financials are made available for public inspection and all questions are answered promptly. The attention and care the kids and families recieve is second to none. I have been involve and exposed to many children's health care charities and I highly recommend Fresh Start Surgical Gifts both as a resource for kids in need and for potential donors looking to make a meaningful investment in a child's future.

Review from Guidestar


Rating: 5

I work for a hotel company that has assisted Fresh Start Surgical Gifts with lodging for their families coming for Surgery Weekends since the end of 2008. In addition I have attended a couple of their fundraising events and have loved meeting their volunteers and their staff. Lupita and Mimi are truly dedicated to the Fresh Start mission and continually show that through their energy and positive outlook. Fresh Start makes a difference in children's lives that far surpasses any tangible measurement.

Review from Guidestar