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Actress Lauren Graham Hosting Operation Smile’s Annual Grin Gala in D.C. on May 7 to Help Children Born with Clefts

Grin Gala VIP event to feature D.C.’s top Chefs Todd Gray, Victor Albisu and Peter Smith; Event benefits Operation Smile’s commitment to build sustainability in partner countries

Washington 4/22/2011 01:56 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)

Operation Smile is proud to announce that actress Lauren Graham will serve as the honorary host for this year’s 4th Annual Grin Gala in Washington, D.C. on May 7. The Grin Gala is designed to raise awareness and funds for Operation Smile, an international children’s medical charity dedicated to providing free reconstructive surgery for children around the world who suffer from cleft lips and cleft palates.

Every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft. One in 10 of those children will die before their first birthday. Operation Smile works to build sustainability in its more than 60 partner countries, to ultimately treat more children who desperately need our help. The Grin Gala is a premier event, attended by business leaders and humanitarians who are committed to helping Operation Smile provide hope and healthy futures for children around the world.

Lauren Graham is best known for her current role as Sarah Braverman on the critically-acclaimed series, Parenthood, and her former role as Lorelai Gilmore on the series Gilmore Girls. Her film roles include The Pacifier, Because I Said So, and Evan Almighty. In 2009, Graham made her Broadway debut in the revival of Guys and Dolls. As a native of Northern Virginia, Graham is returning to her childhood roots to serve as honorary host for the Grin Gala.

Exclusive to the Grin Gala’s VIP event are appearances from D.C.’s top chefs, including Chef Todd Gray and Mixologist Simo Ahmadi from Equinox; Chef Peter Smith from PS 7; Chef Victor Albisu and Mixologist Troy Bock from BLT Steakhouse; and Mixologist Stephen Warner from Columbia Firehouse. During the event, each chef will prepare specialty dishes to be paired with tempting offerings from their mixologist. Since opening Equinox with his wife, Chef Todd Gray has risen to the top of D.C.’s vibrant culinary scene, and remained committed to seasonality and sustainable farming. At PS 7, Chef Peter Smith creates a restaurant where he can express his creativity and flair for taking one ingredient and extrapolating as much from it as possible. BLT Steakhouse presents its interpretation of the American steakhouse, elevating it with signature style and integrating traditional elements of a cozy French Bistro with those of a stylish, urbane boite. Columbia Firehouse stands as a historic, beautifully preserved piece of Old Town’s heritage.

WHAT: Operation Smile’s fourth annual Grin Gala captures the spirit of giving during a fabulous evening of cocktails, bite-size delights, dancing and a silent auction hosted in one of Washington's most stunning venues, just steps away from The White House. VIP guests will enjoy an intimate, formal rooftop reception, featuring famous D.C. chefs. A cocktail and dessert main event will follow.

WHO: More than 400 professionals from the greater Washington, D.C. area join Operation Smile volunteers, donors and advocates to celebrate and provide support.
Honorary Host: Lauren Graham, Actress (subject to professional availability)
Honorees: Frank and Juliette Reidy

WHEN: Saturday, May 7, 2011
VIP Reception: 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Main Event: 8 – 11:30 p.m.

WHERE: U.S. Chamber of Commerce
International Hall of Flags
1615 H Street NW; Washington, D.C. 20062

TICKETS: $120 per general admission ticket. $240 for VIP tickets to include intimate roof-top reception. Sponsorship opportunities are available. To purchase tickets and find more information, visit www.operationsmile.org/gringala.

DRESS: Formal; black tie optional

About Operation Smile (www.operationsmile.org)
Operation Smile, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, is an international children’s medical charity whose network of more than 5,000 medical volunteers from 76 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children and young adults. Since its founding in 1982 by Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee, Operation Smile has provided free reconstructive surgery for more than 160,000 children born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities and the organization has a presence in more than 60 countries. In addition to contributing free medical treatment, Operation Smile trains local medical professionals in its partner countries and donates crucial equipment to lay the groundwork for long-term self-sufficiency.




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