The Anderson Family Foundation started by Grace Abigail Custodio-Bagatsing worked with Smile Train Philippines to provide life-changing medical procedures.
PITTSBURG, CALIFORNIA — Philanthropist Grace Abigail Custodio-Bagatsing credits her faith with providing the inspiration for many of her decisions regarding charitable contributions and outreach via the Anderson Family Foundation.
Among her proudest moments was the foundation’s partnering with Smile Train Philippines to provide free cleft palate surgery to children in her native country. For families living in poverty, the free cleft-palate procedures were a life-changing event that kept children from falling behind.
Grace Abigail Custodio-Bagatsing’s contributions toward cleft palate care
Cleft palate is one of the most common birth defects and craniofacial conditions on the planet and requires consistent management and, often, surgical intervention from childhood through young adulthood. When a child has a cleft palate, the two sides of the palate do not meet and join during development in the womb. It sometimes accompanies a related condition known as cleft lip where the two sides of the lip and, frequently, the upper jaw and gums, are separated.
Grace Abigail Custodio-Bagatsing understood how poverty impacts access to medical care for many families and realized a partnership with Smile Train Philippines would broaden the impact of the Anderson Family Foundation.
Over 4,000 children are born with cleft palate in the Philippines each year. Through the surgeries provided via Smile Train, a new generation of children were able to navigate through life in the Asian nation without facing the stigma of a cleft palate and the limiting impacts it has on social life, education, and career opportunities.
By receiving corrective surgery early, children navigate through school more freely and experience fewer hardships related to their appearance. While some may require additional procedures, Smile Train trained local doctors to perform the necessary procedures and provided adequate funding and high-quality equipment, increasing long-term access for those with future needs.
As a giving opportunity for the Anderson Family Foundation, Smile Train was a wise investment for Grace Abigail Custodio-Bagatsing as the organization is a top-rated non-profit with a perfect 100 out of 100 rating on Charity Navigator, meaning the non-profit invests the largest percentage of its donations back into programs and is laser-focused on financial accountability.
Future giving opportunities for Grace Abigail Custodio-Bagatsing
While there will always be a need for cleft palate surgeries, long-term the need for the procedure declines as more children receive corrective surgery than are born with the defect.
With an eye toward the future, Grace Abigail Custodio-Bagatsing is looking for new charitable opportunities and ways to live her Christian faith through action.
Long-term plans include combining her logistical experience in business and management with social justice efforts designed to break the cycle of poverty via a multi-point approach including financial literacy, personal empowerment, and greater self-care