NEW YORK, May 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Just in time for Mother's Day, Smile Train today announced a partnership with Mars Retail Group (MRG), a division of Mars, Incorporated. This multi-year effort will support surgeries for children in Ghana, Ivory Coast, China, India and Brazil. The initial goal of MRG is to support a surgery for each one of the company's 725 associates. The countries where surgeries will be funded are locations where Mars has a large presence and/or where cocoa is grown.
"Announcing this program in time for Mother's Day is important because both Smile Train and Mars continuously work to bring smiles to families," said Priscilla Ma, Executive Director of Smile Train. "With this partnership we will be able to help hundreds more children in poor communities around the world."
MRG will leverage the Mars Volunteer Program (MVP), which allows associates to take one paid day off a year to volunteer with local organizations. As an example of the MVP reach and influence, in 2010, Mars associates around the world spent more than 30,000 hours improving their local communities.
"We are very proud to support Smile Train and the organization's very worthwhile efforts to change children's lives," said Susan Saideman, President, Mars Retail Group. "Our associates are very passionate about Smile Train and are planning internal and external events and promotions to generate donations."
About Smile Train
Founded in 1999, Smile Train is the world's largest cleft charity with over 2,200 partner surgeons operating in over 1,100 partner hospitals, and has helped children in over 80 countries – many of the world's poorest. Smile Train provides free cleft lip and palate surgery to children from poor families that give a child not just a new smile, but also a chance at a new life. For additional information, please visit www.smiletrain.org.
About Mars Retail Group
Headquartered in Mt. Arlington, New Jersey, U.S., the Mars Retail Group creates and builds retail businesses that build the brands of Mars, Incorporated. The iconic M&M'S World stores, located in New York City, Las Vegas, Orlando, and London, currently represent Mars largest retail business. MRG also operates the company's Licensing business, as well as the gourmet chocolate business that is sold under the ETHEL M brand name.
About Mars, Incorporated
In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars' roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the philosophy of a "mutuality of benefits" for all stakeholders – this vision serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $30 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and approximately 70,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.
Mars brands include: Petcare – PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, KITEKAT®, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital and NUTRO®; Chocolate – M&M'S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Wrigley – DOUBLEMINT®, EXTRA®, ORBIT® and 5™ chewing gums, SKITTLES® and STARBURST® candies, and ALTOIDS® AND LIFESAVERS® mints. Food – UNCLE BEN'S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS®, SEEDS OF CHANGE® and ROYKO®; Drinks – ALTERRA COFFEE ROASTERS™, THE BRIGHT TEA COMPANY™, KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience – COCOAVIA™, WISDOM PANEL™ and SERAMIS®.
Veronica Bufalini / FRANK PR
SOURCE Smile Train