Smile Network International is a non-profit organization that provides free life-changing to surgeries to children born with cleft lips and palates in developing countries. In the timespan of 45 minutes and for just $500, Smile Network is able to give a child the gift of a new smile through a life-altering surgery. Since 2003, Smile Network has completed more than 70 missions and operated on over 3,000 patients in 11 countries around the world. For more information please go to smilenetwork.org
Tom Mayer, founder of Direct Benefits, understands the importance of giving back to the community. In particular, he's a big fan of teaching entrepreneurship. This comes as no surprise after having founded five companies, the first being a Kid for Rent lawn service. Junior Achievement, Direct Benefit's main charity is Tom's passion. This non-profit organization works with local businesses to create programs that focus on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship to students in kindergarten through high school.
"I have long supported Junior Achievement's mission of fostering a culture of entrepreneurship in America," Tom said. His first JA connection was teaching a class of 2nd graders. More recently, he presented and shared his small business stories with over 100 4th graders. Tom said, "their questions were some of the toughest I've ever faced." Direct Benefits also hosted a job shadow class in 2013 for a middle school class from Mounds View and donated $500 to the JA annual programming challenge grant. "I think the future success of the United States is going to depend on small businesses for its continued growth and JA is a great vehicle for kids to learn about entrepreneurship."