Virginia Brown Community Orthodontic Partnership dba Smiles Change Lives
2405 Grand Blvd Ste 300
Kansas City MO 64108-2545

Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 421-4949
Fax 816- 421-3008
Mission Statement

Smiles Change Lives provides access to life-changing orthodontic treatment for children from families unable to afford the full cost of braces.

CEO/Executive Director Mr Thomas C Brown
Board Chair Mr Thomas C Brown
Board Chair Company Affiliation Brown Law Firm LLC
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2001
Former Names
Virginia Brown Community Orthodontic Program
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer
Donations of checks may be sent to our office.  You may call 816-421-4949 x226 to donate with a credit card.  Volunteers at our international office are always welcome.  To volunteer, please call 816-421-4949 x234
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement

Smiles Change Lives provides access to life-changing orthodontic treatment for children from families unable to afford the full cost of braces.

Background Statement

In 1997, Virginia Brown founded the Virginia Brown Community Orthodontic Program to help low-income children who needed – but could not afford – orthodontic care. Mrs. Brown remembered suffering through her own adolescence with misaligned teeth; she experienced difficulty chewing food and she was bullied and teased (called “snaggletooth"). As a result, she was painfully shy and withdrew from friends, family and activities. Mrs. Brown was fortunate enough to eventually obtain treatment, but even then she knew that most other adolescents did not have this option. As Mrs. Brown has stated in recent years, “Some people think braces are a luxury, but they’re not. When you need braces, you need them now, not when you can afford them.” So she put her money where her mouth was and, with help from the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, formed a partnership with UMKC School of Dentistry to start the unique program now known as the Virginia Brown Community Orthodontic Partnership d/b/a Smiles Change Lives (SCL).

SCL now has thousands of community partners across the country and Canada who refer children and provide treatment. SCL  celebrated its 20th year in 2017.  Since its inception, SCL has brought beautiful, healthy smiles to more than 11,000 children.

Impact Statement
In 2017, Smiles Change Lives (SCL) provided orthodontic treatment for over 1,000 new patients, bringing the total number of kids treated through SCL to over 11,000+ in our 20 year history.  Orthodontic providers donated $6,000,000 in orthodontic care to these qualified, motivated patients in 2017.  Canadian providers joined us in 2013, making SCL an international organization. The SCL program has virtually no attrition, meaning 99% of the children entering the program have a successful outcome.
Goals for 2018 include: 
  1. Generate and process 5,000+ applications across the U.S. and Canada.
  2. Approve 1,300+ more children for treatment within the program. 
  3. Recruit additional orthodontists to meet the needs of children to reach a total provider pool of 900+ doctors. 
Needs Statement
  1. Funding needed to upgrade technology - approximately $75,000.
  2. Funding to maintain website - $20,000.
  3. Volunteers - episodic, weekly or one time volunteers welcome.
Service Categories
Human Services
Children's and Youth Services
Community Health Systems
Areas of Service
Geographic Area Served Narrative The continental United States and Canada.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

We employ an entrepreneurial model choosing to emphasize function over form. Our management team draws heavily from for-profit experience as we are of the philosophy that “not-for-profit” is a taxation issue, not a business model. We emphasize high efficiency per unit of person-hours worked and have been able to limit the number of employees by efficient program design and innovative use of technology and volunteers.

Our program is a community-based partnership. We are supported by a variety of public/private foundations, philanthropic organizations, industry partners, business partners and, most importantly, our orthodontists. Our mission is foremost over the perpetuation of our organization and thus we strive to put as many dollars to work directly providing treatment to children as possible. We have a relatively small overhead as compared to other nonprofit organizations, and given that we do change the lives of the children in our program, we provide an attractive option for the receipt of donations. Our staff is extremely dedicated and provides us with a high percentage of quality work for the salaries they receive. We have an extremely high success rate. In 2017, 99% of our patients completed their treatment successfully. These numbers translate to an extremely high return on investment.
Description Smiles Change Lives delivers life-changing orthodontic treatment to children ages 7-21 from families unable to afford the full cost of braces throughout the United States and Canada. This is accomplished through community partnerships with: orthodontists, dentists, dental schools and universities, volunteers, business partners, referral sources and donors.
Category Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served US& International, Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Short-Term Success Our success can be measured in multiple ways. First and foremost, it's the physical and emotional progress achieved by participants throughout their 18 - 30 month treatment process. In addition, it's the satisfaction experienced by our partner orthodontists who want to provide their care to qualified, motivated and appreciative youth but have no way to connect with them without SCL. Finally, it's the overall program growth marked by continued funding and new patient applications.
Long-Term Success Long term success would mean that every youth with moderate to severe malocclusions – misaligned teeth and/or jaws - has access to high quality orthodontic treatment without regard to their socio-economic status. Ultimately, that means: the elimination of bullying/teasing; changed and much improved health of the individual; and the joy of a smile on the face of a patient who has completed their treatment regimen.
Program Success Monitored By Pre- and post-surveys of patients as well as annual surveys of orthodontic partners help ensure continued program satisfaction and success.
Examples of Program Success
The best evidence of our success are the smiles on the faces of over 10,000 youth who have benefited from our program. Another are the pre- and post-treatment photos of each patient and our survey results showing that 99% of all patients complete their treatment and are satisfied or very satisfied with the results, as are their families. The 2014 endorsement by the California Association of Orthodontists as their primary access to care program and the overwhelming demand for our program from thousands of orthodontists across the country, as well as Canada, is another indicator of the success of our program.
CEO Comments
The nation’s economic woes have marked an amazing turning point for Smiles Change Lives. We took the initiative to make a few substantial changes to our model that will help us become nearly, if not fully, self-sustaining.
We implemented an application fee of $30 and increased the program fee for approved applicants to $650, while still maintaining a significant reduction in cost from the national average cost of $6,000 to $7,000 for braces.
The other major change is that we no longer require local advisory boards or local fundraising infrastructure in the way of local "chapters." Orthodontists from every state and Canada join our program with the knowledge they will be sent qualified, motivated kids for their pro bono care. As one of our NY doctors likes to say, “SCL is pro bono without the hassle!”
Our biggest challenge at this time is finding enough providers for the number of applicants reaching out to SCL for treatment. We are working to contact oral health and youth service providers in every state, as well as working with trade organizations, corporate partners and existing providers to recruit more doctors to meet the needs of each community.
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr Thomas C Brown
Term Start Jan 1997
Experience Tom Brown and his mother, Virginia Brown, founded the organization in 1997.  Tom is the board chairman and acts, in a volunteer capacity, as the organization's Chief Executive Officer.
Senior Staff
Title Executive Director of Administration
Title Legal Counsel
Paid Full-Time Staff 7
Paid Contractors 0
Volunteers 50
Retention Rate 95%
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation No
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Our model is based on collaboration—this program would not exist without our orthodontic providers and dental schools. In addition, Smiles Change Lives collaborates with a variety of national oral health organizations, dentists, health clinics, business partners and other community providers as well as volunteers in many states.  SCL collaborates with the families that it assists in that each child who participates "pays it forward" to the next child.
Golden Apple AwardAmerican Dental Association2002
Endorsement as access providerAmerican Association of Orthodontists2005
Give Kids A Smile Program ChampionAmerican Dental Association2010
Endorsed as CAO's preferred program for donated careCalifornia Association of Orthodontists2014
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
CEO Comments 2017 was a milestone year for Smiles Change Lives as we celebrated our 20th anniversary and over 11,000 children having received treatment through our program.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr Thomas Brown
Company Affiliation Brown Law Firm LLC
Term May 2001 to Dec 2018
Board Members
Mr. Thomas C BrownThe Brown Law Firm LLC
Mr. Alex Brown
Dr. Frank EganEgan Orthodontics
Dr. Jess KaneDental Associates of Walpole
Dr. Stephen LittonRetired Orthodontist
Ms. Phyllis NolanCommunity Volunteer
Ms. Susan OswaldCommunity Volunteer
Mr. Reuben R PaulsenCPA
Dr. Susan SchmelzerCommunity Volunteer
Dr. Kelly ToombsToombs Orthodontics
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 10
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 7
Female 3
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 50%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 2
Standing Committees
Advisory Board Members
Dr. Dustin BurlesonBurleson Orthodontics
Ms. Jan TracyTracy Design Communications
CEO Comments

Smiles Change Lives has an international governing board which is responsible for all aspects of organizational governance and fiscal matters. In addition, we use a National Orthodontic Review Panel to determine the functional need of children applying to the SCL program.

Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2018
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2018
Projected Revenue $1,340,000
Projected Expenses $1,340,000
Spending Policy Percentage
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2016, 2015, 2014: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990.
  • Foundations/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$0$3$101
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$12,048$17,836$14,027
Revenue In-Kind$69,980$39,000$231,458
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$552,745$629,676$782,446
Administration Expense$304,574$238,422$207,310
Fundraising Expense$3,768$3,579$9,153
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.001.031.00
Program Expense/Total Expenses64%72%78%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$156,793$177,410$163,840
Current Assets$139,023$153,284$127,745
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$0$18,570$27,569
Total Net Assets$156,793$158,840$136,271
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities--8.254.63
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Comments With the model changes made, SCL is on its way to becoming nearly self-sustaining through program fees and that support will grow over the next few years as the number of youth in our program increases.
Other Documents
Gratitude Report2016View
Gratitude Report2015View
Gratitude Report2014View
Gratitude Report2013View
Organization Name Virginia Brown Community Orthodontic Partnership dba Smiles Change Lives
Address 2405 Grand Blvd Ste 300
Kansas City, MO 641082545
Primary Phone (816) 421-4949
CEO/Executive Director Mr Thomas C Brown
Board Chair Mr Thomas C Brown
Board Chair Company Affiliation Brown Law Firm LLC
Year of Incorporation 2001
Former Names
Virginia Brown Community Orthodontic Program