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Alliance for Smiles

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Alliance for Smiles (AfS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2004 by six members of the Rotary Club of San Francisco. [1]

AfS provides free surgical repairs for cleft cleft lip and palate anomalies in countries in Asia and Africa. They also work to develop treatment centers where continuous follow-up care can be provided.[2]

A cleft is a failure of the upper lip or roof of the mouth to come together in early fetal development. Children with clefts have trouble eating and speaking, and if not treated, permanent speech, hearing, and respiratory problems can arise. Although the causes are not fully understood, certain groups such as Asians and Latinos are genetically predisposed to the condition. [3]


Alliance for Smiles was created in 2004 by six members of the Rotary Club of San Francisco: Jim Deitz, Anita Stangl, James Patrick, John Goings, John Uth, and Burt Berry. Each of them had been involved with other cleft lip and palate organizations. Dr. Karin Vargervik, director of the Craniofacial Center at the University of California San Francisco, was chosen to lead the AfS treatment center program, [4] which aims to create international treatment centers that replicate the U.S. protocol of cleft treatment. [5]

The first treatment center was established in April 2007 in Jiujiang, China and the second one was founded in November 2009 in Wenzhou, China. In 2011, the third Chinese treatment center was opened in Harbin and the fourth was founded in Zunyi. [6]

Surgical missions[edit | edit source]

Alliance for Smiles organizes two-week surgical missions to provide free cleft lip and palate surgery in various under-served countries.[7] The team consists of about 12 medical professionals and 4 non-medical volunteers. [8] During a typical mission, 70 to 100 children receive surgical care. The AfS team collaborates with local medical practitioners to communicate on proper medical procedures and to give follow-up treatment. [9] [10] Follow-up care is often required because a patient may need follow-up surgeries, orthodontia treatment, speech therapy, and other medical care. [11]

Partners[edit | edit source]

In order to continue its mission, AfS partners with Rotary International and Rotary Clubs around the world. [12] [13] To help facilitate their work in China, AfS works with a Chinese NGO called The China Population Welfare Foundation.[14] Other valued partners include Stop Cleft-International Alliance [15] and Globus Relief [16]

Financial information[edit | edit source]

AfS complies with the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability established by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, which was developed to help donors make sound giving decisions and to provide public confidence in charities. [17]

According to AfS’s 2016 annual report, administrative expenses account for $75,077 (8.17%) of total expenses. $692,097 (75.33%) went to programs and $151,552 (16.5%) to fundraising. Total income for 2016 was $772,518. [18]

Recognition[edit | edit source]

• Alliance for Smiles was featured in the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco for being awarded a Certificate of Recognition for its contributions to providing free cleft lip and palate anomaly surgeries for families in China. [19]

• Alliance for Smiles was featured in Wenzhou Government’s Official Web Portal for changing the lives of 54 cleft lip and palate anomaly patients in 10 days. [20]

• Board Member and Founder Anita Stangl was featured in Arab America for her talk at the Commonwealth Club about Alliance for Smiles transforming the lives of children often left to die. [21]

• Board Member Dr. Karin Vargervik, DDS and Dr. William Y. Hoffman, MD were featured in The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery in the September 2009 issue for their cleft work at USCF. [22]

• Dr. William Y. Hoffman, M.D. was featured in the February 2012 issue of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal for his work in comparing fistula rates after palatoplasty on surgical missions in Ecuador. [23]

• Dr. Sally J. Peterson-Falzone was featured in ResearchGate for her various research publications at University of California, San Francisco. [24]

• Dr. Colin Wong was featured in China Daily for his 14-year volunteer work at Alliance for Smiles to brighten children’s smiles. [25]

• Dr. Colin Wong was also featured in the Marin Independent Journal for organizing two-week missions to Chinese cities to perform operations on children with cleft palates and lips. [26]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Buchleitner, “SF-based organization provides ‘smiles’ to youth born without one,” Western Edition HP Journal, 2010, http://thewesternedition.com/admin/files/magazines/WE-June2010.pdf.
  2. Buchleitner, “SF-based organization provides ‘smiles’ to youth born without one,” Western Edition HP Journal, 2010, http://thewesternedition.com/admin/files/magazines/WE-June2010.pdf.
  3. Pratt, “Ambitious program brings advanced care for clefts to China,” The Rotarian, 2009, https://books.google.com/books?id=18YOtenWo5wC&pg=PA16&lpg=PA16&dq=ambitious+program+brings+advanced+care+for+clefts+to+china&source=bl&ots=3PKdHgan8R&sig=GjTIKJZvHDfa3iVjSVVhP381W0c&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiN3r7IkMzbAhXSNn0KHcsxDDIQ6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=ambitious%20program%20brings%20advanced%20care%20for%20clefts%20to%20china&f=false.
  4. Jun, “Alliance for Smiles doctors ‘invaluable assets of humanity,’” China Daily, 2016, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2016-03/22/content_24072274.htm.
  5. Jun, “Dentist’s volunteer work transforms lives with a smile,” China Daily, 2018, http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201804/28/WS5ae34e7ba3105cdcf651b058.html.
  6. Pratt, “Ambitious program brings advanced care for clefts to China,” The Rotarian, 2009, https://books.google.com/books?id=18YOtenWo5wC&pg=PA16&lpg=PA16&dq=ambitious+program+brings+advanced+care+for+clefts+to+china&source=bl&ots=3PKdHgan8R&sig=GjTIKJZvHDfa3iVjSVVhP381W0c&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiN3r7IkMzbAhXSNn0KHcsxDDIQ6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=ambitious%20program%20brings%20advanced%20care%20for%20clefts%20to%20china&f=false.
  7. Vahl, “For the Smiles,” Rotary District 7090, 2018, https://www.rotary7090.org/stories/olean-news-16.
  8. Buchleitner, “SF-based organization provides ‘smiles’ to youth born without one,” Western Edition HP Journal, 2010, http://thewesternedition.com/admin/files/magazines/WE-June2010.pdf.
  9. “Alliance for Smiles,” Matteson Rotary Club, 2018, http://www.mattesonrotary.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=693749&module_id=159871.
  10. Buchleitner, “SF-based organization provides ‘smiles’ to youth born without one,” Western Edition HP Journal, 2010, http://thewesternedition.com/admin/files/magazines/WE-June2010.pdf.
  11. “Rotary Members Change the World with Alliance for Smiles Missions,” Lake Oconee Breeze, 2017, http://www.lakeoconeebreeze.net/community/rotary-members-change-world-with-alliance-for-smiles-missions/article_44e08fa2-5682-11e7-acfa-5bd7d0a15cc0.html.
  12. "Rotary on January 8th-Barbara Fisher and Alliance for Smiles," The Rotary Club of Hall County, 2013, https://rotaryclubhallcounty.org/stories/rotary-on-january-8th-barbara-fisher-and-alliance-for-smiles.
  13. ”Rotarian Carl Vahl Shares Recent Alliance for Smiles Myanmar Service,” Club of Olean, 2018, https://portal.clubrunner.ca/344/stories/rotarian-carl-vahl-shares-recent-alliance-for-smiles-myanmar-service.
  14. Jun, “Dentist’s volunteer work transforms lives with a smile,” China Daily, 2018, http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201804/28/WS5ae34e7ba3105cdcf651b058.html.
  15. "Grants and Other Assistance to Organizations, Governments, and Individuals in the United States," Stop Cleft-International Alliance, 2014, http://www.brightfaces.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/STOP-Cleft-International-Alliance-FY-2015-990.pdf.
  16. "Recipients," Globus Relief, 2009, http://www.globusrelief.org/file/8778228e-fdec-449b-be2a-67aa8aa37ff1.
  17. “Alliance for Smiles,” Better Business Bureau, 2018, https://www.bbb.org/greater-san-francisco/Charity-Reviews/charity-health/alliance-for-smiles-in-san-francisco-ca-879325.
  18. “Alliance for Smiles International, Inc,” GuideStar, 2016, https://www.guidestar.org/profile/80-0119414.
  19. “Consul General Luo Linquan hosts a reception for Alliance for Smiles.” Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco, 2016, http://www.chinaconsulatesf.org/eng/tpxw/t1391592.htm.
  20. “2016 ‘Alliance for Smiles’ Activities Ended in Wenzhou,” Wenzhou Municipal People’s Government, 2016, http://english.wenzhou.gov.cn/art/2016/11/21/art_1231337_3999927.html.
  21. “Alliance for Smiles,” Arab America, 2018, www.arabamerica.com/events/alliance-for-smiles/.
  22. Vargervik, Oberoi, and Hoffman, “Team Care for the Patient With Cleft: UCSF Protocols and Outcomes,” The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, 2009, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19816331.
  23. Maine, Hoffman, Palacios-Martinez, Corlew, Gregory, “Comparison of Fistula Rates after Palatoplasty for International and Local Surgeons on Surgical Missions in Ecuador with Rates at a Craniofacial Center in the United States,” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal, 2012, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22286446.
  24. “Sally J. Peterson-Falzone's research while affiliated with University of California, San Francisco and other places,” ResearchGate, 2018, https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/2035801905_Sally_J_Peterson-Falzone.
  25. Jun, “Dentist’s volunteer work transforms lives with a smile,” China Daily, 2018, http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201804/28/WS5ae34e7ba3105cdcf651b058.html.
  26. Gurewitz, “Tiburon dentist leads face surgery program for children in China,” Marinij.com, 2014, http://www.marinij.com/article/zz/20140718/NEWS/140718320.

Alliance for Smiles[edit | edit source]

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