We support those who are different enough to make a difference. Operation Kids and our key partners are measurably improving the lives of children all over the globe. But the true measure of effectiveness is not in what we do, but what they—the children and their families—are able to do as a result.
- Winston Churchill -
Since its inception in 1999, Operation Kids has measurably improved the lives of millions of children. Global in reach, ambitious in vision, Operation Kids created a "gold standard" of excellence for charities. We made it our mission to identify the most pressing issues, vet the most compelling solutions, and support the most effective organizations providing the most impact.
As one of the earliest OKCharity™, Forever Young Foundation was a natural and integral partner. Their unique touch when helping children with special needs and in hospital cancer wards represents the measurable impact Operation Kids seeks to achieve. To date Operation Kids has granted over $600,000 to this great organization.
With such urgent issues facing children around the world, sometimes it's easy to forget the needs in your own community. 100% for Kids became a worthy local partner that improves education for Utah's young students. As a Utah-based children's charity that enhances the individual classroom experience, 100% for Kids lived up to its name. Operation Kids has granted over $350,000 to this OKCharity™.
Christmas Box International fights everyday to prevent child abuse and to serve those children who have been abused or neglected. Offering a compelling solution for such vulnerable children, Christmas Box International was a key partner for Operation Kids to see that every child is safe and secure. To date Operation Kids has donated more than $550,000 to support this effort.
Safe, Hope, Grow
Since 1986, COTA has become the premier organization providing fundraising assistance to families facing a life-saving transplant. Thanks to their singular commitment, thousands of children have been saved. Operation Kids was proud to provide much-needed resources for these children. Over $250,000 has been donated to this OKCharity™.
For 25 years Best Buddies has provided love and support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. And even though Best Buddies has grown from one chapter to almost 1,700 chapters worldwide (all 50 United States and in 60 countries around the world) they haven’t lost sight of what makes them so special. This is one of those unique programs where the impact is internal and often goes unseen. But to anyone who participates, the growth is unmistakable. Operation Kids has donated over $400,000 to advance their extraordinary mission.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch received the Operation Kids Lifetime Achievement Award at its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Gala. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised for Operation Kids' growing community of children's charities.
It was Christmas 2004 and the world watched in horror at the images of destruction and devastation from the tsunami in Southeast Asia. Then the world responded. Billions of aid dollars were poured into the region. Sadly, much was wasted.
Operation Kids’ corporate partner, XanGo, and local partner, Farang Jai Dee ("Foreigner with a Good Heart") Foundation, were able to accomplish more with less than many of the large and well-meaning aid organizations. After assessing the needs and areas of high impact, Operation Kids embarked on an award-winning campaign to restore an entire fishing village in Phuket, Thailand. Over 600 homes were built, fishing boats and supplies procured, infrastructure installed, and an entire community could face the future with renewed hope.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee, founders of Operation Smile, received the Operation Kids Lifetime Achievement Award. The annual celebration gala raised $1 million for their industry-leading organization. To date more than $1.4 million has been donated for life-saving surgeries and over 200,000 children have received safe, surgical care that repairs smiles and restores hope.
Operation Kids awarded NFL Quarterback Steve Young, founder of Forever Young Foundation, with the Operation Kids Lifetime Achievement Award at Young's Hall of Fame celebration gala. The event raised over $1 million for Operation Kids' community of children's charities, particularly Right to Play.
Right to Play replaces rifles and machetes with a bright red ball. They believe even child soldiers in war-torn regions of the world need a chance to learn and grow – to be a kid again. Through innovative educational programs, each week over 1 million children get that chance through the transformative power of play. Operation Kids was proud to partner with a global organization that addresses this core need of every child. To date more than $650,000 has been donated to Right to Play.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees wanted to act. With his Brees Dream Foundation, Operation Kids sought to answer a question posed to survivors and community leaders: "What do you need most?" From that stemmed a $2 million rebuilding effort targeting 10 carefully selected projects deemed "high impact": new playgrounds, school yards, childcare facilities, hospital wards, and re-establishing the New Orleans Best Buddies chapter. The impact reached tens of thousands of children. By working closely with local partners to ensure each donor dollar went to complete these high-impact projects, Brees Dream Foundation and Operation Kids served as a catalyst for much of the rebuilding in their neighborhoods.
Former first lady of Massachusetts, Ann Romney, received the Operation Kid Lifetime Achievement Award at gala held in Boston. Ann Romney had served with a number of children's charities, including as a director of Best Friends, which seeks to assist inner-city adolescent girls; the Faith in Action Committee for the United Way, working with local religious establishments to assist at-risk children; and during the 2002 Winter Olympics effort she co-chaired Olympic Aid, a charity that provides athletic activities and programs for children in war-torn regions.
Recognized as the host of America’s Most Wanted, John Walsh received the Operation Kids Lifetime Achievement Award. He shared the tragic story of his 6-year-old son’s abduction, and how, from that loss, he found the inspiration to fight for and create the Missing Children Act of 1982 and the Missing Children’s Assistance Act of 1984. He and his wife Revé founded the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center in honor of their son. Over $800,000 was raised for organizations serving child safety initiatives, particularly the McGruff House Network and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
For 30 years the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has served as the nation’s clearinghouse on issues related to missing and sexually exploited children. Today, NCMEC is authorized by Congress to perform 22 programs and services to assist law enforcement and families to find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation, and prevent child victimization. Operation Kids was honored to donate over $500,000 to this leading organization because of their effectiveness: thanks to their efforts, the recovery rate of missing children has jumped from 62% in 1990 to more than 97% today.
One local success story occurred when Operation Kids donated $250,000 to Utah Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. This much-needed gift came during a time of budget restrictions to many state government agencies. Despite the cutbacks, the Task Force logged a nationally unprecedented 40% increase in arrests and convictions, due in large part to the dedication of ICAC investigators to protect children and families and to the additional staff hours funded by this donation.
With the additional resources from Operation Kids, the Task Force was able to achieve exceptional results, including a series of undercover sting operations that saw dozens of online predators arrested.
As we learned on the ground in Thailand and New Orleans, in the aftermath of a natural disaster sometimes the most aid dollars does not necessarily result in the most impact. Sometimes what is needed most is not what we think. Operation Kids supported various NGOs that understood this principle and their impact showed as a result. Two standouts were Hope for Haiti and NuSkin’s Force for Good Foundation that worked with local partners to aid in the long-term rebuilding effort.
On the heels of our local success with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Operation Kids partnered with Internet Keep Safe (iKeepSafe) Coalition. This international alliance is a leader that strives to see generations of the world’s children grow up safely using technology and the internet.
As one of Operation Kids’ newest partners, Rising Star Outreach has had a unique impact in the leprosy colonies of rural India. Their targeted approach has yielded remarkable results, particularly with world-class educational opportunities they provide to the children of the leprosy-affected. This organization is a shining example of what happens when a few passionate women and men dedicate themselves to break the mold and bring about lasting change. Now, Rising Star is an internationally recognized force in the fight against leprosy and its debilitating stigma.
Learn, Heal, Hope
The Academy is alleviating poverty by teaching students how to start and grow their own small businesses. These young men and women are what we call Necessity Entrepreneurs because they live in some of the most desperate areas of the world where there are no jobs. Micro enterprises and small businesses allow these students to become self-reliant and provide for their families. From the Phillipines and Mexico to Cambodia and Brazil, over 6,000 students have graduated from the Academy and are now on the road to self-sufficiency.
Anasazi Foundation is a world-renowned outdoor behavioral health program based in Arizona. It focuses on helping young people overcome depression, substance abuse, and other behavioral problems. Theirs is a unique approach that has seen measurable results. For 25 years they have served as an industry leader in helping teenagers and young adults find a way safely back toward faith and family.
Operation Kids was honored to sponsor FilmRaise – a unique charitable platform with a powerful message. By supporting the award-winning documentary "Beyond Right and Wrong", Operation Kids helped promote the message of peace and reconciliation while simultaneously giving to the organizations on the ground doing this vital work for families and children. Charity partners include Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Malala Fund, PeacePlayers International, and Free the Children.