Azimut|Benetti Group charity event. On the crest of a smile: a new future for 420 children

July 02, 2013


The Azimut Benetti Yachting Gala, the event that brought together more than 600 Azimut Benetti Group clients in the prestigious setting of Portofino was not only a grand celebration of the quality of output bearing the Made in Italy label.

It was also an extremely important charity event held in partnership with the Operation Smile Italia Foundation to raise funds to finance important reconstructive plastic surgery operations so that less fortunate children can smile again.

The partner of this event, Operation Smile Italia Onlus the Italian division of Operation Smile International, is a foundation consisting of volunteer doctors, nurses and health workers who carry out humanitarian missions in more than sixty countries around the world. Its mission is to provide reconstructive plastic surgery operations to correct serious problems such as cleft lip, palatoschisis, and the effects of burns and traumas. Every three minutes, the Foundation tells us, a child is born with these deformities. The task is enormous.

Since 2000, the year the foundation was established, up to now, Operation Smile Italia has been involved in medical missions and programmes in various countries, giving back joyful smiles to thousands of children, but most importantly giving them a future too, thanks to the collaboration with more than a hundred volunteer doctors, nurses and health workers.

The target that Azimut|Benetti Group set during the Yachting Gala which it hoped to achieve with the help of all its friends and clients attending the gala was to finance Operation Smile in a direct and transparent way, by raising enough funds so that at least 200 children can smile again and at the same time give them a bright future. But the result has far exceeded expectations: they will be 420 children who can access care through donations.

Santo Versace, the Chairman of Operation Smile Italia, said, "I am delighted to tell you how much I admire and sincerely appreciate the decision taken by the Azimut|Benetti Group, one of the very best Italian companies in the world, to support Operation Smile, and their commitment to give a future to and perceptibly change the life of children born with facial deformities that the organisation has been curing at no cost for more than 30 years.

The Azimut | Benetti Group, just like our clients, who have always taken an interest in philanthropic efforts, has been involved in various charitable works in the past, Paolo Vitelli, Azimut|Benettis President pointed out. This year we have decided to make the initiative known to the general public with Operation Smiles in the hope that it will encourage similar initiatives, and not only in our sector. What we particularly appreciated about Operation Smile was both the high level of transparency and the effectiveness of the use of the funds raised. Our minimum target for this initiative is two hundred smiles, but we are really happy we went much further.


Azimut | Benetti is  the leading  and most  prestigious  builder  of mega yachts in  the world. Operating in  68  countries
worldwide through a network of 138 sales offices, the Group includes the prestigious brands Atlantis, Azimut Yachts,
Azimut Grande and Benetti, with each one catering to a distinct segment of the yacht market. The Group also includes
Yachtique,  the  service  division  exclusively  dedicated  to  boat  owners,  headed  also  by  Fraser  Yachts  and  Lusben,  a
company specialising in brokerage, sales and refitting of large craft.

Established  in  Italy  in  2000,  Operation  Smile  Italia  Onlus  is  part  of  an  international  humanitarian  organisation
consisting of volunteer doctors, nurses and health workers who perform humanitarian missions at no cost in more than
60 countries around the world to correct serious face deformities such as cleft lip and palatoschisis with reconstructive
plastic surgery, as well as tending to the effects of burns and traumas during its medical missions. Since 1982, the year
the parent Foundation was established in the United States, more than 200,000 operations have been performed and
thousands of children have been operated on.
Labiopalatoschisis is  one  of  the  four most  important  birth  defects  and  children  who  suffer  from  this  deformity may
have difficulty feeding, talking and even breathing.  Every 3 minutes a child is born with a correctable facial deformity:
the average length of an operation to correct a cleft lip is around 45 minutes. Tens of thousands of children are still not
operated  on. Operation  Smile is  one  of  the  first  health  organisations  in  the  world  to  take part  in  the  WHO  “Save
Surgery  Save  Lives”  programme  whose  aim  is  to  reduce  the  effects  of  complications  in  surgical  operations  in
developing countries and to guarantee quality control in medical services provided in those countries.