News Release

Church Makes Significant Donation to Operation Smile

Operation Smile, an international children’s medical charity, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a news conference to thank the Church for its recent $927,000 donation.

Funds will support medical missions over the next year to help a combined 3,800 children in Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt and Jordan who are afflicted with cleft palate and other facial deformities.

“There’s no such thing as any one person doing anything in life. There is no one hero,” said William Magee, cofounder and CEO of Operation Smile. “Without so many people [working together], no job would get taken care of. There’s never one person that does it. The Church is a great example of that. … We want to say thank you for sharing your love. God bless you.”

According to Operation Smile, every three minutes a child is born with a cleft lip condition that will go untreated. Furthermore, one in 10 children born with a cleft will die before their first birthday.

“We are grateful for members of the Church who have so freely donated financially to the Church’s Humanitarian Fund,” said Fred Riley, Church project manager for Humanitarian Services. “It is through such donations that this partnership with Operation Smile can come to fruition.“

“We know that much good will come from this partnership and look forward to helping to increase the good work that Operation Smile provides,” Riley said.

The Church is a longtime supporter of Operation Smile and including today’s financial commitment has donated nearly $1.2 million to the organization since 1991. Most recently, the Church supported Breakfast for Smiles, a yearly Operation Smile event.


Download these sound bites from the news conference:

Michael Nebeker — Board of Directors, Chair of Major Gifts Committee of the Utah Chapter of Operation Smile

Mike Nebeker lays out the mission of Operation Smile

“Operation Smile appreciates the partnership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”


Fred Riley — Manager of Special Projects for Church Welfare Services

“The Church has a strong presence in these countries”

“The Church’s aim with this donation is to help the developing become self reliant”


Dr. William Magee — Founder of Operation Smile

“Operation Smile is an organization of many people”

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