NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 12/17/12 -- WonderWork, an innovative new charity that provides free, life-changing surgeries for children in the world's poorest countries, announced today that it has raised over $12 million from more than 25,000 donors in just its first year of operations. This impressive growth represents a significant accomplishment for a charity getting off the ground in 2012, a year in which continued economic stagnation has made charitable fundraising extremely difficult.
The surgeries WonderWork provides are true modern-day medical miracles. For instance, one of WonderWork's miracle surgeries can restore the vision of someone who is completely blind in 5 minutes and for $35.
WonderWork also provides surgeries for children who have been severely burned, crippled with clubfoot, or are dying from water on the brain or hole in the heart. More than 24 million children are waiting to be helped, but most will never receive the surgery that they need simply because they are poor.
"We've been overwhelmed by the avalanche of support we've received from donors from all over the world," said Brian Mullaney, co-founder and CEO of WonderWork. "For a new charity to raise an average of $1 million a month in this tough economy is incredible. I believe this shows that WonderWork is exactly the kind of charity donors are looking for these days. Most donors are tired of charities that spend huge sums on overhead and administration. At WonderWork, 100% of our donations goes toward programs. Our overhead and administrative costs are paid for by our Major Founding Donors. We also keep our overhead extremely low so there's more money for more surgeries. Donors want their donations to have an impact and what could be more powerful than a surgery that can save a life?"
In contrast to traditional medical missions that send American surgeons to developing nations on two-week visits, WonderWork empowers local surgeons to perform safe, high quality surgeries for a fraction of the cost. WonderWork believes that this strategy is by far the best way to help impoverished communities become self-sufficient over time.
With 200 years of experience, WonderWork's management team is the same group that built Smile Train into the world's largest cleft charity, which has provided almost 1,000,000 free surgeries. Brian Mullaney, co-founder of both charities, stepped down as President of Smile Train to launch WonderWork and to extend the Smile Train model to even bigger problems and help even more children. Blindness, burns, clubfoot, water on the brain, and hole in the heart affect more people than TB and AIDS combined. The good news is that each of these problems -- like clefts -- can be solved quickly and inexpensively through surgery.
Mullaney is joined on WonderWork's Board of Directors by J.J. Coneys, former Vice Chairman of PriceWaterhouseCoopers; Theodore Dysart, Vice Chairman of leading executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles; and Ravi Kant, Vice Chairman of Tata Motors. WonderWork has also assembled a world-class Advisory Board, which includes David F. Chang, MD, renowned ophthalmologist and President of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery; Freakonomics author and noted economist Steven Levitt; Tamsen Ann Ziff, Chairman of the Metropolitan Opera; Ken French, noted economist and Dartmouth professor; Clark Kokich, Chairman of the leading digital marketing firm, Razorfish; former Blackstone private equity executive, Garrett Moran; Bradley Thomas, Hollywood producer; Richard Price, CEO Asia Pacific of CBRE; Richard Steele, Partner at the Bridgespan Group; Mark Atkinson, photographer and documentarian; and Anjali Sastry, professor at MIT Sloan School of Management.
"It is absolutely shameful that there are 24 million children in developing countries who are suffering -- and dying -- because they are too poor to afford the miracle surgery that could save them," added Mullaney. "None of these children will ever receive surgery unless someone helps them. Now that we've launched WonderWork, anyone can now be that someone! Even a small donation can save a child's life. I think that next year we will grow even faster as people find out about these surgeries and a totally new kind of charity that makes them possible."
To learn more about WonderWork or to make a donation, visit http://wonderwork.org/.
WonderWork is the world's first major charity to tackle the problem of the lack of access to surgery in the developing world. WonderWork provides free, life-changing surgeries for children who are blind, severely burned, crippled with clubfoot or dying from water on the brain or hole in the heart. Instead of sending American doctors on missions, WonderWork empowers local doctors through free training, free equipment and financial aid. WonderWork has programs and partners in 50 countries and currently helps provide more than 26,000 surgeries a year. Yet, more than 24 million children are still waiting for these surgeries and the vast majority of them will never receive them unless someone helps them.
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