NEW YORK, May 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Hundreds gathered Thursday night at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York to recognize those who have supported Operation Smile, the world's largest medical charity of its kind providing free cleft surgery and care.
Johnson & Johnson committed $25 million in financial and product contributions to Operation Smile over the next five years, an extension of the relationship that first began in 1988. Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky made the announcement at Operation Smile's 13th annual Smile Event, where the global healthcare company was honored for its long-standing support of the children's charity.
"Tonight marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our long-standing relationship with Operation Smile," said Alex Gorsky. "Through the passion of Johnson & Johnson's 128,000 employees, this partnership will help us realize our goal of caring for the world one person at the time."
Johnson & Johnson has already provided nearly $25 million in monetary and product donations to Operation Smile over the past 27 years, and is the exclusive provider of every suture used on Operation Smile surgical missions.
"Thanks to Johnson & Johnson and their continuing commitment to our work, we can reach out to children around the world waiting patiently for their new smiles," said Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee, Co-Founders of Operation Smile. "We applaud the global family of Johnson & Johnson employees who cannot stand idly by when a child is in need. Together we will work to give them the bright future they deserve."
To celebrate the announcement across its companies worldwide, Johnson & Johnson has designated the week of May 18, 2015 as "Smile Week" for all Johnson & Johnson employees. During this week, the company will mobilize its 128,000 global employees in 60 countries in grassroots awareness, advocacy and fundraising toward a goal of donating 6,000 smiles to Operation Smile.
Through the Johnson & Johnson Mobile App for Social Good – "Donate A Photo" – the company will contribute $1 to Operation Smile for every image donated from employees, families and friends.* Johnson & Johnson employees along with the general public will also be able to contribute to Operation Smile through Charity Miles, a free iPhone and Android app that enables individuals to earn contributions for charity while walking, running or biking,
Award-winning actress Kate Walsh, who recently returned from an Operation Smile medical mission in Mexico, served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning made a special appearance along with Operation Smile Ambassador and fashion and beauty expert, Jay Manuel. At the Gala, Jay debuted The Ultimate Lip Stain in "Smile" from his eponymous make-up line, Jay Manuel Beauty, announcing that a portion of proceeds would benefit Operation Smile. Other notable guests included actress and model, Maggie Q and talk show host Wendy Williams.
The Smile Event honored Johnson & Johnson and its Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky, with the Corporate Humanitarian Award in recognition of the global healthcare company's unparalleled dedication to improving the quality of life for children around the world.
Ten thousand Johnson & Johnson employees were recognized for their entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to fundraising with the first-ever Global Impact Award, presented to Gary Pruden, Worldwide Chairman of Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices. Money raised through voluntary, employee-driven fundraising campaigns, combined with product donations, has helped provide new smiles to more than 100,000 patients since the company's partnership with Operation Smile began nearly three decades ago. Employees have set a goal of raising an additional $1.5 million through their fundraising efforts this year.
The evening also honored philanthropist and entrepreneur Barbara Majeski and her family with the Founders Circle Award in recognition of their dedication and contribution to the work of healing smiles worldwide.
For more information about Operation Smile's global efforts, please visit www.operationsmile.org. Supporters can follow Operation Smile on Twitter @operationsmile and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/operationsmile.
About Operation Smile:
Operation Smile, headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is an international medical charity with a presence in more than 60 countries, whose global network of thousands of credentialed medical volunteers from more than 80 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children. Since its founding in 1982, Operation Smile has provided more than 220,000 free surgical procedures for children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. To build long-term sufficiency in resource poor environments, Operation Smile trains doctors and local medical professionals in its partner countries so they are empowered to treat their local communities. Operation Smile also donates medical equipment, supplies and provides year-round medical treatment through its worldwide centers.
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* Johnson & Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes, and you can donate a photo to one cause, once a day. Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal, or the donation period ends. If the goal isn't reached, the cause will still get a minimum donation.
SOURCE Operation Smile; Johnson & Johnson