Human Services

Smile Train, Inc.

Changing the world one smile at a time

aka Smile Train

New York, NY


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 simple, and the transformation is immediate. Our sustainable model provides training, funding, and resources to empower local doctors in 85+ countries to provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities.

Ruling Year


Executive Vice Chair, President & Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Susannah Schaefer

Main Address

633 Third Ave 9th Floor

New York, NY 10017 USA


cleft, lip, palate, cleft lip and palate, smile, train, surgery, children, poverty, medical, health, international, operation, free surgery, partners, doctors, global, kids, Pinki, international





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Birth Defects (G20)

International Development, Relief Services (Q30)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014.
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Social Media


Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Many children around the world are living with untreated clefts. Most have difficulties eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of Smile Train partner hospitals

Population(s) served

Infants to preschool (under age 5),

Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,

People with physical disabilities

Related program

Cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Smile Train's goal is to provide free, quality, and safe cleft surgeries to those in need. The organization partners with hospitals around the world and leverages technology and innovation to train and utilize local partner hospitals and doctors, providing them with the resources, knowledge, and skills to enable long-term sustainability.

Smile Train's local partner surgeons use the training and resources to provide 100% free cleft repair surgeries for children in need. Local doctors are empowered to help their own communities with Smile Train's training on the latest cleft techniques, while ensuring they abide by our strict standards. After surgery, our local medical professionals evaluate whether or not additional dental, orthodontic, and therapeutic care is needed. Our speech therapy programs ensure each child gains confidence with their smile.

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 surgeries possible, but also make these surgeries safer and of higher quality.

Smile Train uses all kinds of proprietary technology to save money and do things faster, cheaper and smarter. Instead of mailing patient charts all over the world we built a digital patient database called Smile Train Express that's on the Web. Our partners upload all of their patient records to us via the Web, which not only saves millions in shipping, handling and storage costs, but also allows us to review and monitor the quality of their work.

Smile Train has provided more than 1,000,000 free cleft surgeries to children in the developing world since our founding in 1999. Our network of 1,100+ partner hospitals with 2,100+ partner surgeons, has helped children in more than 85 countries. When Smile Train was founded we were only able to offer the initial surgery, but as we have expanded and our resources have grown, we are very happy to be able to provide not only free follow-up surgeries, but also speech therapy at a number of our partner hospitals as well as orthodontics programs. In many countries we work in, the amount of surgeries we provide annually, has now surpassed the estimated annual number of cleft births. We are still working tirelessly to ensure that every child born around the world has access to free, safe cleft treatment.

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance - Organization

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance - Organization



Smile Train, Inc.

Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

Need more info on this nonprofit?

Need more info on this nonprofit?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to view a Sample Report.


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable