Gertler Family Foundation Continues Support of Operation Smile

Jul 13, 2015, 13:23 ET from The Gertler Family Foundation

LUBUMBASHI, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

The Gertler Family Foundation is delighted to announce it has again supported Operation Smile with its missions in both Kinshasa and Lubumbashi from 5-12 July.

In addition to the continued financial support from the Gertler Family Foundation, following a direct request from the Fleurette Group (whose chief adviser is Dan Gertler, co-founder of the Foundation) which holds a minority stake in the businesses, both the Mumi and KCC copper mines in the Katanga region of the DRC also contributed $75,000 each to the Lubumbashi mission of Operation Smile. Alongside the Foundation's donation and other partners, this brings the total funding of the Lubumbashi mission alone to $162,000.

As a result, the 5th Operation Smile mission In Lubumbashi was able to screen 168 patients, with 87 patients subsequently retained to undergo surgery in the Jason Sendwe Operating Ward, part of the Sendwe Hospital, which itself now benefits from state of the art operating facilities following total renovation funded by the Gertler Family Foundation in conjunction with both Mumi and KCC. The Gertler Family Foundation was also able to work with TASOK (the American School of Kinshasa) during their annual gala.

Operation Smile is an international non-governmental organization that provides free cleft lip and palate surgeries to children and adults worldwide. Since 1982, Operation Smile has conducted more than 3.5 million patient evaluations and over 200,000 surgeries in more than 60 countries.

The Gertler Family Foundation started its support of Operation Smile in the DRC as a sponsor of a medical mission to Kinshasa in 2011. The Gertler Family Foundation's support to Operation Smile has since developed into a partnership that enabled Operation Smile to open a mission in Lubumbashi, the capital of Katanga Province, in 2012. Since first working with Operation Smile in 2011, the Gertler Family Foundation, together with its operating partners, has raised more than $1 million for the charity, supporting multiple missions in the DRC and transforming hundreds of lives.

The Gertler Family Foundation's partnership with Operation Smile in the DRC includes securing financial support, assistance with mission logistics, general fundraising and promoting missions. As part of its on-going partnership, the Foundation also organised a concert in 2014, headlined by renowned musician Lokua Kanza for Operation Smile volunteers, sponsors and patients in Lubumbashi.

Dan Gertler, co-founder of the Gertler Family Foundation commented:

"The Foundation has supported Operation Smile since 2011 and helped launch a new mission in Lubumbashi. We are committed to maintaining this support of Operation Smile which does such fantastic work in the country and indeed around the world. I am also delighted both Mumi and KCC in which Fleurette is a minority investor, were able to contribute to the mission in Lubumbashi - again highlighting their commitment to supporting the communities in which they operate, which is central to our philosophy." 

About The Gertler Family Foundation  

An initiative of the Gertler Family Trust, the GFF is committed to helping meet the needs of vulnerable Congolese people. Since its inception in 2004, the GFF has invested millions of dollars in health, education, emergency relief, infrastructure, culture and other projects across the DRC, helping to change the lives of countless Congolese.

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About Operation Smile 

Operation Smile is an international medical charity whose global network of thousands of credentialed medical volunteers from over 80 countries is committed to helping improve the health and lives of children from more than 60 countries. Since 1982, we've worked with local medical professionals, governments, hospitals and other NGOs to deliver the safest care to each of our patients, and have established care centers wherever possible to give children ongoing medical treatment. Operation Smile continues to provide training and education for local medical professionals so they can provide care within their own communities and share their expertise. To date, we have provided more than 220,000 free surgeries for children born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities.

SOURCE The Gertler Family Foundation