About DCKH


Our aid for children with cleft lip and palate is based on strong structures in an international network. Our committed employees and many passionate partners drive our mission forward. In our project countries, more than 250 local doctors, therapists and project staff provide accessible medical care for patients in need, even in remote regions. German doctors support our local partners on a voluntary basis with their specialist expertise. Cooperations with international aid organizations enable us to substantially expand our projects worldwide. Numerous funding partners at home and abroad, committed companies and many private donors have supported us continuously and sometimes for many years, resulting in a sustainable aid effort.

Our association
Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe was founded in 2002. The non-profit association is located in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. Constituent parts of the structure are a team with eight permanent employees as well as the association’s organs: the executive board, board of directors, board of trustees and the general assembly.

Team Freiburg

Our charity is based in Freiburg im Breisgau. Eight permanent employees, some of whom work part-time, are responsible for the management, development and coordination of our aid projects, fundraising, communication and donor support.

Ulrike Claassens, Philip Hehn, Femke van Praagh, Stefan Rivald, Andrea Weiberg, Alexander Gross, Nicole Reinbold (left to right, missing: Stefanie Huter)
Your contact
Alexander Gross
Managing director
+49 761 137976-18
Ulrike Claassens
Donor communications / project supervision
+49 761 137976-11
Philip Hehn
Project support
+49 761 137976-0
Stefanie Huter
Project information
Femke van Praagh
Corporate donors
+49 761 137976-0
Nicole Reinbold
Institutional donors
+49 761 137976-14
Stefan Rivald
Project development
+49 761 137976-0
Andrea Weiberg
Communications / projects
+49 761 137976-15
Association organs


The board of directors of Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe consists of three members: Prof. Dr. med. Frank Feyerherd and Thomas Schneider, both volunteers, and Alexander Gross. The chairman of the board of directors and association chairman as per Section 26 of the German Civil Code (operational director) is Alexander Gross. The board members are elected with a three-year term, with their current terms lasting until the general assembly in 2023.
Prof. Dr. Frank Feyerherd
Frank Feyerherd was an anesthetist at the Greifswald University Clinic until his retirement and is now working in a private clinic. He led our Cameroon project in Ngaoundéré for over ten years. As an anesthetist, the improvement of the anesthetic conditions and thus the safety of the surgeries are of particular concern to him.
Alexander Gross
Alexander Gross, a founding member of Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe, manages the association’s operations in full-time in addition to his board work. The former Bundesliga professional ice hockey player studied sociology, education and politics in Freiburg. He started his professional career in Switzerland, where among other things he advised non-profit organizations.
Thomas Schneider
For entrepreneur and master tanner Thomas Schneider, corporate social responsibility is a personal obligation. As the founder ISA TanTec, a group of tanneries with locations in China, Vietnam, the USA and Italy, he advocates for environmentally friendly processes in leather processing. He has been a member of the DCKH board since 2018.


Ute Henninger-Sehling and Dr. Christian Rüsch were elected as the association’s auditors for a three-year term lasting until the 2023 general assembly. The auditors supervise the board financially and exercise control over the association’s asset management.
Ute Henninger-Sehling
Dr. Christian Rüsch
Economist and tax advisor

Board of Trustees

The board of trustees of Deutsches Cleft Kinderhilfe e. V. assists the board with specialist medical expertise. The six volunteer members have extensive experience in the field of cleft lip and palate treatment and are specialists in medical disciplines relevant to the treatment of cleft.
Dr. Dr. Oliver Blume
Specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery and dentistry
Dr. Ulrike Lamlé
Specialist in ENT surgery
Prof. Dr. Dr. Götz Ehmann
Specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery and plastic surgery
Prof. Dr. Dr. Jürgen Dieckmann
Specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery and dentistry
Gunther Au-Balbach
Specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery
Dr. Jos van den Hoek
Specialist in dentistry and orthodontics

Extract from the charter

  • Implementation and support of medical aid projects for the treatment of patients with cleft lip and palate in […] close cooperation with local doctors and therapists
  • Implementation and support of measures to improve awareness in the population
  • Implementation and support of training, further education and specialization measures […]
  • Technical, organizational and financial support for the establishment of a suitable technical infrastructure […]
  • Assumption of costs for free or inexpensive treatments for needy patients with cleft lip and palate, including […] aftercare, especially for children and adolescents
  • Strengthening of the general interest in working with and with cleft patients

You can download the complete charter here (only availabe in German).


Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe Foundation

Help and heal sustainably – that is the motto of the Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe Foundation, which supports selected projects of our charity. The foundation was established by the Stuttgart oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Dr. med. Heinz Lübbe, who was a board member of the German Cleft Kinderhilfe e.V. from 2005 until his death in September 2015.


Heinz Lübbe was not only an excellent doctor – he was also a visionary and worked as an active manager for the charity. He was committed to ensuring that cleft children in developing countries have access to qualified and comprehensive treatment. The establishment of the foundation was his last major initiative, which he initiated despite a serious illness.


Partner associations “D-A-CH”

Therwil and Dornbirn – our two partner associations in Switzerland and Austria are pursuing a great goal with us: to give children with cleft lip and palate a chance in life. Our Austrian partner association was only established late last year under the name Austrian Cleft Children’s Aid and is currently still organizing itself. Further information will follow shortly.

Board of our Swiss partner association, the SHfS: Jos van den Hoek, Madeline Kummer, Brigitte Winkler, Angela Guldimann, Marianne Campiche, Sandro Negri, Alexander Gross (v. l. n. r.)

Partner association Switzerland

In cooperation with Swiss doctors, the board and employees of Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe founded a partner association in Switzerland in 2008. The Swiss Aid Society for Cleft Children (Schweizer Hilfe für Spaltkinder, SHfS), based in Therwil near Basel, was created to generate additional funds in Switzerland to aid cleft children. Since December 2013, the SHfS has financed more than 200 operations in our Indian treatment centers every year. This funding currently benefits the cleft center in Patna. The Swiss team works on a voluntary basis.

Finances and accountability
As advocates for children with cleft lip and palate in developing countries, we provide direct medical aid to children from needy families who would otherwise have no access to treatment. It is our utmost concern to handle the donations entrusted to us for this purpose with care. Your donation arrives where it is needed – with the affected children. The effort in our project countries is organized by our project partners independently. The patients are treated by local doctors and therapists. Here, we are particularly concerned with qualified training and further education, as well as the transfer of the latest specialized medical knowledge between our partners worldwide. The result is low treatment costs combined with high quality.

Sources and use of funding

As per our statutes, we act as a health insurance for needy patients with cleft lip and palate. With your donations, we finance the treatments and maintain our aid structures in the project countries. The senior surgeons are reimbursed for their work. Our partner hospitals often provide us with the necessary medical infrastructure at below the usual market rate. Every treatment is documented in our patient database by the doctors on site. After verifying the documentation, we reimburse the costs from Germany directly to our project partners every month.


Donation income and spending

We measure our success primarily by the number of operations carried out in our projects. In the past three years we have been happy to see a large increase in the number of operations. With 6,280 operations, 2019 was the most successful year in our history to date. Most of the money donated to us goes directly into our global aid projects. In 2019, 81.3 percent of our expenditure went into our projects: EUR 1.702 million for direct medical aid, EUR 307 thousand for project coordination and support, EUR 11 thousand for specialist information as per our statutes.

Number of Operations
1,354,499 €
1,615,931 €
1,714,500 €
2,020.300 €

Publicity and administrative spending

We can’t do our work completely without spending money on advertising and administration. Without, we would be unable to raise donations and organize their use. Nevertheless, we try to keep this spending as low as possible. We do not use giveaway items such as pens, stationery or other “incentives” in our fundraising that unnecessarily cause costs through their production and in postage. To win new supporters, our TV spot is an incredibly valuable tool. This spot is aired free of charge on various TV stations of the RTL media group, a huge gesture of support for which we are deeply grateful.

In 2019, the share of spending on fundraising and advertising was 15.4 percent, and administrative costs accounted for 3.3 percent of our spending.


DZI Seal of approval

A token of dependability: Since 2012, we have been proud bearers of the DZI seal of approval for our responsible use of our donors’ funds. The first award was based on an audit of our 2010 spending and the certification process is repeated annually. The seal is awarded by the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI), based in Berlin. The DZI seal of approval certifies that the organization bearing it is responsible and careful in the use of the donations entrusted to them.


Annual reports

Our annual financial statements are audited by an external company in accordance with the exacting DZI guidelines. This detailed financial report is published on October 1 of the following year in our online annual report, which you can also download as a PDF below. In the preliminary version, the focus is on a comprehensive review of the year with impressions from our project countries. You can also order this preliminary report from us in printed form. Simply use our contact form.

Only the annual reports since 2018 are available in English. You can download older reports in German from the German version of our site.

Annual report 2019
zum PDF-Download
Annual report 2018
zum PDF-Download

Nonprofit status

As a promotor of charitable purposes and public health, Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe e.V. is exempt from corporation tax in accordance with Section 5 (1) No. 9 of the Corporation Tax Act and exempt from trade tax in accordance with Section 3 No. 6 of the Trade Tax Act (exemption notice from the Freiburg-Stadt Tax Office, tax number 06469/47127, November 18, 2019 for the last assessment period 2016 to 2018).

Due to our nonprofit status, we can issue donation receipts for donations received. In order to reduce the administrative burden, these are sent out collectively at the beginning of the following year for all donations made by a donor in the previous year.