When a tsunami struck 15 countries surrounding the Indian Ocean in Southeast Asia the day after Christmas in 2004, the management, employees and affiliated dental providers of Smile Brands Inc. (“Smile Brands”) knew that they needed to help. Through staff donations and company matching funds, they raised nearly $100,000 to help the victims of this catastrophe that took nearly 200,000 lives and caused incalculable damage to the economies and environments of the countries affected. In recognition of their contribution, the Orange County chapter of the American Red Cross presented Smile Brands (f/k/a Bright Now! Dental, Inc.) with its Circle of Humanitarians award.
A few months later in September 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf States, and once again Smile Brands’ people and the company donated generously, raising nearly $90,000 to aid in the rebuilding of New Orleans and surrounding areas. These events were the impetus for the company establishing the Smiles for Everyone Foundation (“the SFE Foundation”), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, to help individuals in need due to natural disasters or personal hardship.
In December 2011, Smile Brands sponsored its first “dental mission trip” to Asunción, Paraguay, where Smile Brands affiliated dentists, supported by company executives, donated their time and energy to provide dental care at orphanages and nutrition centers to 300 people, mostly underprivileged children, who desperately needed dental treatment. The success of the trip, and the feedback from Smile Brands employees and affiliated providers, inspired the SFE Foundation’s Board of Directors to change the SFE Foundation’s focus and direct its efforts to supporting communities in a way that only dentists can: by providing dental services to underserved populations both domestically and abroad.
Since 2012, the SFE Foundation, supported by Smile Brands, has assumed sponsorship of international trips and the ongoing efforts of the International Outposts that have grown out of them. Smiles for Everyone Foundation sponsored the next dental mission trip to Thailand in May 2012, a third mission to Ghana in November 2012, and a fourth to Nicaragua in July 2013.
Inspired by these international trips, the SFE Foundation helped Smile Brands affiliated offices in the United States launch Community Smile Projects to offer complimentary dental care to people in need that could not afford these services. The first Community Smile Project took place in Aurora, Colorado, followed by others in California and Texas. Since then, the SFE Foundation has assumed sponsorship of all Community Smile Projects in collaboration with Smile Brands affiliated offices across the country. New initiatives recently launched by SFE Foundation are bringing Community Smile Projects to all Smile Brands affiliated offices, helping to provide free dental care for those in need nationwide.
The SFE Foundation is proud to be continuing the charitable work of Smile Brands. Through SEAL Teams trips, International Ambassador trips, International Outposts, and Community Smile Projects, the Smiles for Everyone Foundation is able to continue delivering smiles to those in need both at home and around the world.