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Our Board

Smiles Change Lives … Helping Families With The Cost Of Braces &
Changing Lives One Smile At A Time

Smiles Change Lives is governed by a dedicated volunteer board of directors who provide governance and leadership to ensure the long-term health and vitality of the organization. It is these individuals who set the direction for our growth, sustainability and national expansion.

Mrs. Virginia L. Brown, Founder

virginia brown founder of smiles change lives

A Kansas City native, Mrs. Virginia L. Brown founded the Virginia Brown Community Orthodontic Partnership in 1997 with the intent of filling the unmet need of providing braces for low-income children. After serving the first 48 children in Kansas City in 1998, Mrs. Brown’s vision and generosity grew into a national nonprofit organization named Smiles Change Lives (SCL). To date, SCL has changed the lives of thousands of children nationwide. Mrs. Brown retired from the board in 2015. She continues to support the organization as a member of the board of directors. She enjoys reading notes of gratitude from the kids and families touched by SCL.

Mr. Thomas C. Brown, President

thomas brown president of smiles change lives

Mr. Brown co-founded SCL along with his mother. He serves as president and chairman of the board of directors. Mr. Brown is an attorney with Brown Law Firm, LLC and has provided legal and business counseling services to organizations and individuals in the Kansas City area for more than thirty years. As an entrepreneur himself, Mr. Brown has proven instrumental in business management, matters of financial sustainability and the development of key partnerships for SCL.


Dr. Kelly Toombs, Orthodontist

dr kelly toombs orthodontist of smiles change lives

Dr. Toombs has been an SCL board member since the organization’s inception as the Virginia Brown Community Orthodontic Partnership. In addition to serving as one of SCL’s directors, Dr. Toombs has many professional memberships including the American Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, Southwestern Society of Orthodontists, Kansas Association of Orthodontists, Kansas Dental Association, Greater Kansas City Society of Orthodontists, Fifth District Dental Society (Johnson County) and UMKC Orthodontic Alumni Association. Dr. Toombs attained his Certificate in Orthodontics from UMKC School of Dentistry in 1984. Much of SCL’s program model has been developed and refined over the years under Dr. Toombs’ leadership.

Dr. Frank E. Egan, Orthodontist

dr frank egan orthodontist of smiles change lives

Dr. Egan, now celebrating his 20th year in practice, graduated with High Honors from the School of Dental Medicine, SUNY at Stony Brook, and received his Orthodontic Certificate from SUNY’s School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Egan was certified, in 2000, as a Diplomate by the American Board of Orthodontics. Dr. Egan’s professional memberships include College of Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics, American Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, Northeastern Society of Orthodontists and New York State Dental Association. Dr. Egan has had his research published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, and is responsible for spearheading the wildly successful SCL Turkey Trot in Long Island, NY that takes place annually.

Dr. Jess Kane, Orthodontist

dr jess kane orthodontist of smiles change lives

In addition to establishing two practices in Natick and Walpole, MA, Dr. Kane is a staff orthodontist at Tufts Dental Facility for the Handicapped and is Associate Clinical Professor of Orthodontics at Tufts Dental School, where he received his Master’s Degree in Anatomy and Certification in both pediatric dentistry and orthodontics. Dr. Kane is a member of the American Dental Association, Massachusetts Dental Society and American Association of Orthodontics. His extraordinary enthusiasm for SCL stems from his passion for children. In addition to his board affiliation with Smiles Change Lives, he is a co-founder of Project Stretch, which provides free dental care for indigent children worldwide, and has spearheaded the establishment of the SCL program in Boston, MA.

Dr. Stephen Litton, Orthodontist

dr stephen litton orthodontist of smiles change lives

Dr. Litton is SCL’s Minnesota program champion. He has been instrumental in recruiting volunteer orthodontists and expanding SCL’s reach throughout the state and nationwide. Dr. Litton received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1967, his Certificate in Orthodontics in 1970 and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1972, all from the University of Minnesota. Throughout his career he has received a variety of honors, including recognition from the Minnesota Association of Orthodontists, the Minnesota Dental Association and Midwestern Society of Orthodontists. He has served in a variety of leadership positions for organizations including the American Association of Orthodontists and The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. Dr. Litton is currently a delegate to the American Association of Orthodontists House of Delegates.

Mr. Reuben Paulsen, Treasurer

reuben paulsen treasurer of smiles change lives

Mr. Paulsen serves as treasurer for the SCL board of directors. He earned a Bachelor’s in Accounting from Washburn University in 1968. Since that time, Mr. Paulsen has worked in various companies until beginning his own accounting firm in 1997, specializing in small business accounting. Mr. Paulsen is also the Coordinator of the American Baptist Disaster Relief Team in the East Central Region of Kansas. In addition to his meticulous attention to detail, Mr. Paulsen is critical to the organization’s budgeting process.

Ms. Phyllis Nolan, Community Volunteer

phyllis nolan community volunteer of smiles change lives

Ms. Nolan has significant experience in business management, product and program development and consulting. She most recently worked as President of Peruvian Connection, a privately held knitwear and accessories company that markets to an international clientele. Her civic leadership includes five years on the Kansas Board of Regents, including a term as Board Chair. Ms. Nolan has also served on the board of a number of nonprofit organizations including the Kansas Policy Institute, the Kansas Civil Rights Commission and Heshima Kenya. She received her B.S. from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and her MBA from Rockhurst College.

Ms. Susan Schmelzer Ph.D., Community Volunteer

susan schmelzer community volunteer of smiles change lives

Ms. Schmelzer’s professional background includes a range of experience in non-profit administration, education administration, consulting, and teaching. She received her B.S. from the University of Missouri, her M.A. in Public Administration from Central Michigan University and her Ph.D. in Administration of Higher Education from the University of Missouri. Ms. Schmelzer has more than 25 years of experience in volunteer community service. She has previously served on the board of directors for a number of organizations including Planned Parenthood of Greater Kansas City, Missouri Citizens for the Arts and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Mr. Alex Brown, Lathrop & Gage

alex brown attorney of smiles change lives

Alex Brown is an attorney at Lathrop & Gage, specializing in complex policyholder and insurance coverage litigation. Prior to joining Lathrop, Mr. Brown worked as an attorney in Chicago for Dentons LLP in the litigation and arbitration practice group. Mr. Brown has a political science degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from the University of Michigan. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Brown provided finance and business advice to low-to-middle income entrepreneurs in the KC metro area with the Missouri Women’s Business Center.


Changing Lives… One Smile At A Time...
  • "Our son would have gone without braces if it wasn't for SCL! Thankful for this program and staff that care. We are currently in treatment. It is already making a difference. "

    - Alice W.

    5 star review
  • "Amazing program that has truly changed my life. Once I was accepted it was such an easy process. Thank you so much!! I would recommend any one with low income and bad teeth to go through the process."

    - Alexandria W.

    5 star review
  • "Just had our last appointment. Being a school teacher I didn't make a lot of money. This program allowed me to give my daughter a smile that she shares with everyone. Thanks."

    - Tiffany L.

    5 star review
  • "I just had not one but two daughters finish having their braces on through Smiles Change Lives and we are so happy with the results. Thank you for providing this service!"

    - Daya G.

    5 star review
  • "This is an incredible organization with Orthodontists donating their skills to change children's lives. More people in need should know about this fantastic program"

    - Judith W.

    5 star review
  • "My son has finally been accepted, approved, and assigned an orthodontist. He goes tomorrow for his first appointment to start getting his braces. Thanks SCL, you have made my son very happy."

    - Alan P.

    5 star review
  • "I am so thankful for smiles change lives for helping a struggling mother out. What an amazing program that helps families."

    - Joy S.

    5 star review
  • "I cannot say enough GREAT things about this program! They have given both of my daughters a new outlook on life, & self confidence that I could never teach."

    - Shelly P.

    5 star review

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Smiles Change Lives
Helps Families Across the
United States & Canada

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