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 offering.

Our association
Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe was founded in 2002. The non-profit association is located in Freiburg im Breisgau. Constituent parts of the structure are a team with eight permanent employees as well as the association’s 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 executive board of the Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe consists of two honorary members – Prof. Dr. med. Feyerherd as CEO and Tom Schneider in the role of assessor. Alexander Gross is the third member of the board and also full-time managing director of the association. The executive board and the managing director periodically brief the board of directors on finance, personnel and project development.
Prof. Dr. med. 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 and CEO of 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.

Board of directors

The board of directors of Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe consists of three people who work on a voluntary basis. This organ, whose composition and responsibilities are defined in the charter, advises the board and controls the annual budget compliance and financial management of the charity.
Ute Henninger-Sehling
Dr. Christian Rüsch
Economist and tax advisor
Dr. Dr. Oliver Blume
Specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery and dentistry

Board of Trustees

The board of trustees of the Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe e.V. acts as a medical specialist commission. Its four volunteer members have extensive experience in the area of cleft lip and palate treatment and cover several relevant specialist disciplines.
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. med. dent. 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.


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 fission 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

In accordance with our statutory purpose, we act as a health insurance for needy patients with cleft lip and palate. With our donations, we finance the treatments carried out 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 surgeries carried out in our project countries. We have been fortunate to see a robust increase in the number of operations we have been able to fund in the past two years. This inevitably goes hand in hand with an increase in costs.

A detailed financial overview is available in our annual report. We will publish the annual financial statements for 2019 in October 2020 (only in German language).

Number of Operations
1,354,499 €
1,615,931 €
1,714,500 €
2,350,000 €

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. Overall, the share of spending on fundraising, advertising and administration in 2018 was under 20 percent.


DZI Seal of approval

A token of dependability: Since 2012, we have been proud to bear the DZI Donation Seal 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 donation seal certifies that the organizations bearing it are responsible and careful in their use of the donations entrusted to them.


Nonprofit status

As a promotor of charitable purposes and public health, Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe eV 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.