Every year an estimated 170,000 children are born with cleft lips or palates, or both — conditions caused by incomplete facial development in utero. Children with clefts may have problems eating, breathing or speaking properly. In poor countries, afflicted newborns can face a lifetime of shame and isolation. A simple surgical procedure costing $250 can correct most clefts — yet the operation is beyond the means of many families in impoverished nations.
That’s where Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity, is having a huge impact. The organization provides free surgery for about 125,000 afflicted children every year by empowering local doctors to perform cleft lip and palate repairs in their communities.
U.S. Trust is a proud partner of Smile Train, acting as a philanthropic advisor and providing investment management and consulting services. U.S. Trust has helped Smile Train develop a planned giving program and provided advice on developing new ways to create legacy gifts that support the organization.
U.S. Trust was a principal supporter of the “Power of the Smile” gala held on April 2 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., to celebrate two “smilestones”: Smile Train’s one millionth surgery and 15th anniversary.
Thomas Boehlke, managing director at U.S. Trust, was a co-chair of the event. “U.S. Trust is honored to collaborate with Smile Train and to help them continue to fulfill their mission of improving the lives of affected children and their families,” he said. “We are committed to advising Smile Train on philanthropic best practices and devising customized solutions to help them to pursue their goals each year.”
Smile Train CEO Susannah Schaefer discussed the organization’s relationship with U.S. Trust after the April event. “We are thrilled with our partnership with U.S. Trust and the many ways it supports our mission,” she said. “We recently celebrated two significant ‘smilestones’ but there are still millions of poor children with clefts who need our help. We look forward to working in partnership with U.S. Trust to help these children and their families.”
For more information on Smile Train, including ways to donate to help children with unrepaired clefts, please visit smiletrain.org.
Some of the featured participants are not employees of U.S. Trust. The opinions and conclusions expressed are not necessarily those of U.S. Trust or its personnel.
Smile Train was not compensated for their contribution to this article, which was published with client consent.