Operation Smile's New York Smile Event took place Thursday May 1st at Cipriani Wall Street.
New York City’s finest gathered to honor those who have supported Operation Smile, the world’s largest medical charity of its kind providing free cleft surgery and care. The Smile Event raised $1 million dollars for the charity. NBC NEWS’ Natalie Morales served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening with a special appearance by television personality Michael Strahan made a special appearance.
Other notable guests included honoree Sharif Atkins (White Collar), Gabriela Isler (Miss Universe), Erin Brady (Miss USA), Elvira Devinamira (Miss Indonesia), Jay Manuel (Stylist/Producer), June Ambrose (Stylist), Nicole Murphy (Model), Sessilee Lopez (Model), Alisyn Camerota and Bianca Ryan (America’s Got Talent)
The Smile Event honored actor Sharif Atkins with the Universal Smile Award for his work as an official Smile Ambassador. Since 2011, Mr. Atkins has been a Smile Ambassador strongly supporting the organization’s global efforts. He has raised countless dollars to heal smiles through Crowdrise as well as National Smile Month in 2012, which helped provide life-changing surgery for 50 children. He also volunteered on a mission in Ecuador in 2013.
The evening also honored Lisa and Mat Lori, along with Kathy Van Zeeland and her husband, Bruce Makowsky, with the Founders Circle Award. The Lori’s, Mrs. Van Zeeland and Mr. Makowsky have helped Operation Smile share the joy of a simple smile through their many fundraisers and initiatives. Most notably, they launched an extraordinary project called, The Three Little Bears, named after the Lori’s three sons, Zachary, Luke and Griffin, who were all born with facial paralysis. The Three Little Bears initiative was developed, designed and co-created by childhood friends, Lisa Lori, a writer, and Kathy Van Zeeland, a handbag designer.