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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Smiles Lure New Support for Charity

Pictures of smiles have the staff of one local nonprofit organization grinning. Operation Smile, which provides health care for Russian children with cleft palates, wanted to target Russian corporations. For local charities, the biggest donors are mostly Western companies based here. In an effort to lure Russian companies into the act of philanthropy, Operation Smile decided to target children -- and the response was fantastic.

Pryamaya Rech, a public relations agency working for Operation Smile, held an art contest for children around Russia to bring name recognition to the charity. Louise Newey, a spokeswoman for the PR agency said, "People are more likely to donate if they know about the charity."

The theme of the contest was smiles. More than 2,000 drawings of smiles from children around Russia were submitted since June 1. Last Friday evening, the drawings were judged, and prizes donated by companies like Sony were awarded.

On Nov. 2, the charity holds a masked ball where an auctioneer from Sotheby's will sell Russian art and maybe, some of the children's drawings.