Transforming Faces provides free, local, and ongoing multi-disciplinary cleft care for children and adults in developing countries.

Beautiful Before & After – May 17th

March 13th, 2017 by

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BB&A logo

It’s that time of year again! Our annual Beautiful Before & After event is taking place on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at the BMO Conference & Event Centre in Toronto. This is our biggest night of the year to raise funds in support of comprehensive cleft care for children and their families around the world!

Join us for:

  • A silent auction featuring AMAZING items up for grabs (including Disney World park passes, spa packages, and more!)
  • Open bar and canapés
  • Hosted by Beverly Thomson of CTV News
  • Great music, great people and great fun
  • And 100% of all proceeds going directly to our international cleft care programs!

Tickets are now available online.
Space is limited, so be sure to get yours today!


Transforming Faces - BMO - 2016-170

Help Fund-A-Need:

This year, we are also raising funds for a nasometer for our partners at Fundacion Gavina in Argentina, through our Fund-A-Need initiative. If you are not able to attend the event but would still like to support our work, please consider making a small donation towards the nasometer by sending us an e-mail, giving us a call (416 222 6581), or donating online.

See you there!

– The TF Team

Attendees at last year's event!

Attendees at last year’s event!


The TF 2017 Partner Summit

February 28th, 2017 by

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Following a productive few days at the International Cleft Congress in India, our partners participated in a special two-day TF Partner Summit.

- TF partners share ideas and expertise at the 2017 Partner Summit.
– TF partners share ideas and expertise at the 2017 Partner Summit.

We wanted to make the most of this unique opportunity to have representatives from each of our projects together in one place! Our Board Members led discussion sessions that centred around topics like:

  • innovative approaches to providing cleft care
  • program sustainability
  • struggles and successes in accessing rural and remote communities
  • lessons on working together as multidisciplinary teams

A Valuable Opportunity to Connect

"It's very good for me to come here and to learn from you and orthodontists from around the world, and learn how you think." - Nan from Thailand tells Rocio from Peru.

“It’s very good for me to come here and to learn from you and orthodontists from around the world, and learn how you think.” – Nan from Thailand tells Rocio from Peru.


The TF Partner Summit offered our partners the opportunity to connect with each other, share lessons and ideas, come up with solutions to common challenges and form lasting relationships. Our partners provided feedback that will help shape our collective vision and strengthen TF’s work moving forward, and we are so grateful for their invaluable insight and expertise.

TF Board Member, Dr. Ronald Zuker, summed up the experience beautifully:

“It is a great pleasure for us to bring together our partners from projects
all over this world, to share in our knowledge of cleft lip and palate,
to interact with one another, and to learn from each of our strengths and challenges.
Only in this way can we advance the care of our patients.”



– Board Member Dr. Zuker shares a smile with Phanomwan from Thailand.


You can read more about the great work our partners are doing by checking out our blog!



Highlights from the 2017 International Cleft Congress

February 24th, 2017 by

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TF Partners, Board & Staff.

If you’ve been keeping an eye on our blog or social media over the past few weeks, you will already know that the International Cleft Congress took place in Chennai, India this February.

Once every four years, the world’s leading cleft professionals convene at this prestigious international event to share their expertise and learn from each other. TF partners, Board Members and staff played an important role at the Cleft Congress, and we are thrilled to share their accomplishments with you!

  • Bringing together 28 delegates from 12 countries across 5 continents 

– Delegates from Thailand present our Board with hand-drawn pictures from children who TF has supported.

  • Our delegates made major contributions to the Conference, including 6 oral presentations, 7 free paper sessions and 11 poster presentations!

– Orthodontist  Dr. Rocio Lu Chang Say is all smiles as she reports on successes in Peru!

  • TF honoured for our contribution to cleft care

Jackie and Jill honoured at the Opening Ceremony.

– Founder Jackie Elton and Board Member Jill Martin honoured at the Opening Ceremonies.

  • Friend of TF, Dr. Dale Podolsky wins the Congress’s coveted award

Canadian Dr. Podolsky was awarded the Owen Cole Memorial Scholarship for his development a high-fidelity cleft palate simulator. Read more about the simulator and his work with TF in Chile here.

Dr. Podolsky and Program Director Abdon

  • TF’s longtime partner in India hosts this prestigious event

We are so proud of our longtime partner, Sri Ramachandra University (SRU), who organized the International Cleft Congress this year. We applaud them for all the time and hard work they put into hosting nearly 1,000 delegates from across the globe (and we truly believe it was the best Cleft Congress yet!).

“We are very proud here at SRU. It is a big milestone for us to be able to host such an event.”
– Suraj Subramaniyan from Sri Ramachandra University

Suraj presents to delegates

-SRU & TF have been working together to deliver comprehensive care in India for 11 years!

Award of excellence goes to our partner, Fundación GAVINA

January 26th, 2017 by

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Award of excellence to our partners


We are very proud of our Argentinian partner, Fundación GAVINA, who has been awarded special recognition from the Tucuman Provincial Legislature for the second year in a row! The local provincial government praised Fundación GAVINA for their excellence in the non-profit sector and applauded the impact of their work.

Transforming Faces has been working in Argentina for over 15 years. Our current partner, Fundación GAVINA, provides comprehensive cleft care services, including surgery, speech therapy, dental care, nutritional support and counselling for family members.



   – Gaby Reinoso (left) and Monica Galvan (right)           accept the award.

Along with a certificate of distinction, they were awarded monetary support of 120,000 Argentinian Pesos (roughly $10,000 CAD) as a contribution to continue to provide multidisciplinary care for patients with cleft lip and palate.


Congratulations Fundación GAVINA!


Exciting updates from the TF Family – introducing our new Executive Director, Hugh Brewster

January 19th, 2017 by

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The new year at Transforming Faces is off to a great start, and we wanted to take a moment to update you on changes and new additions to our team in Toronto.

We are delighted to share that Hugh Brewster (M.Ed) has stepped into the role of Executive Director! Hugh most recently served as World Vision’s National Manager for Canadian Programs, leading a team that partnered with over 100 diverse non-profits through grants and capacity building. We know that Hugh’s passion for leadership, transformational development and organizational capacity building (not to mention his great sense of humour and knack for making brewed coffee!) will be an excellent fit for the team, and for this stage of TF’s growth.

Hugh Brewster

Check out our Q&A with Hugh below and get to know him a little better!

Welcome to the team, Hugh! Tell us a little bit about what drew you to Transforming Faces. 

Thanks! I am pleased to join such a strong and dynamic team. I am very impressed by TF’s holistic, multidisciplinary, and long-term approach to supporting children born with cleft lip and palate. TF’s commitment to true partnership with our local teams of professionals is also inspiring. It is hard to beat the motivation of stories of children experiencing marginalization due to their cleft palate, moving forward with confidence and good health! Coming to work each day is a joy.

What are some of the past experiences and learnings that you will be drawing from and bringing to the table in your new role? 

I loved collaborating with organizations that are passionate about the well-being of children across Canada. The international context of TF’s work poses unique opportunities and challenges, while some elements of effective partnerships are consistent around the world: demonstrating and sustaining impact with participants; growing organizational capacity; and effectively telling stories of transformation. I recently helped found a small non-profit that engages Indigenous youth in healthy and active living. The absolute necessity of earning a community’s trust and being responsive to local aspirations and solutions is definitely a learning that I treasure.

What are you looking forward to in these first few days in your new role?

I am grateful to be able to travel to the Cleft 2017 Conference in Chennai India. This is an important gathering of practitioners, academics and non-profit partners from around the world focused on the well-being of patients born with a cleft palate. TF is thrilled to have representatives from its international partners to join a strong contingent of Board and staff in this opportunity to learn, network, and plan for the future. I have already heard great things about our partner leaders, so I am looking forward to meeting them in person shortly. 

Finally, can you share with our partners and supporters a fun fact about yourself? 

I love keeping active through the sport of Ultimate Frisbee. I was privileged to join Canada’s contingent that competed for a World Championship last summer in London, UK.

Please join us in extending a very warm welcome to Hugh!

We also have a few other team updates to share:

  • Our talented Program Manager, Abdon, has recently accepted the role of Program Director. He is the primary contact for our partners in South America and brings years of experience (as well as fluency in many, many languages!) to the role. Congratulations Abdon!
  • Courtney, who started out at TF as our communications guru, has shifted to a full-time focus on programs! Relying on her extensive international experience and outstanding leadership skills, she will be working closely with some of our partners in Asia and Africa.
  • We also welcomed our new Communications Specialist, Cari, who started with us in January. You’ll be hearing from her a lot on our blog and social media channels in the future!
Abdon, Courtney, Cari

                                         – Abdon, Courtney & Cari –


We look forward to a bright year ahead with a strong, dedicated and talented team.