Smiles Charity’s Mission: bringing the community together to change the world one home, one family at a time.
Smiles Charity is a 501c(3)non-profit organization founded to benefit charitable organizations that build homes for deserving families.
Smiles Charity utilizes a unique fundraising concept of bringing an entire community together for a concert and family festival. Generous local and corporate businesses sponsor the annual concert event held over Memorial Day weekend in McKinney, TX. Thousands attend the charity concert donating even more money and raising even more awareness for the designated beneficiary. 100% of the net profits from the annual event are then donated to build the designated home.
In its first three years, Smiles Charity benefitted Habitat for Humanity and helped build three homes for three amazing McKinney families who are beating the odds and now living the dream of home ownership. Since 2011, Smiles Charity has been building homes for severely wounded Military heros. Smiles Charity will continue to help Operation Finally Home and America’s war heroes in 2012.
The concept works: The community centered concert events allow the entire community to come together to enjoy a family friendly event, learn about the families that Smiles Charity benefits, and then gives the community the opportunity to participate in honoring these beneficiaries by donating on the spot during the concert event. The concert event, which drew 6,000 fans in its first year and grew to 15,000 fans in 2011, allows local businesses to provide goods and services to the community thus helping to spur economic stability in the area. And finally, all net proceeds raised during the concert event go towards helping deserving families realize their dream of home ownership.
Smiles Charity’s History: The History of a Dream Come True
Dr. Jennifer Buchanan’s orthodontic practice has been in McKinney, Texas for 13 years. In 2001, she began hosting an annual “Smiles” party to benefit the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. In 2008, Dr. Buchanan took her Smiles Charity project to the next level by organizing a free outdoor concert open to the public.
In its first four years, Smiles Charity has helped build five homes through private contributions and corporate sponsorships for its headlining event, the Smiles Charity Concert and Family Festival which is held annually over Memorial Day weekend. The concert and festival underscore Smiles Charity’s mission of bringing the community together to change the world one home, one family at a time..
The Smiles Charity Concert and Festival features an outdoor concert on the main stage, a family friendly festival, a flyover by WWII airplanes, and a spectacular fireworks display at its conclusion. The main stage features 3 bands over the course of the five hour event, presentations to the families receiving homes, raffle drawings, and entertainment by celebrity emcees.
The festival includes a children’s area, food vendors, games and activities, and a VIP party for the top corporate sponsors. The children’s area contains bounce houses, face painting, and child appropriate video games.
Although there is a small operating fee is charged for admission to the children’s area, there is no admission charged to the general public for the concert which is held at the Adriatica Outdoor Concert Venue in McKinney. Local restaurants vie for limited but valuable space at the festival to sell their delights to concert goers.
The VIP Party, which takes place inside Dr. Buchanan’s spacious office located directly in front of the concert and outdoor stage, is organized to show appreciation for all Smiles Charity local and corporate sponsors. All local and corporate sponsors who donate money, goods, and/or services to Smiles Charity are provided with tickets to the VIP party. The number of tickets each sponsor is given depends on the level of their donation. The VIP party is catered by food and beverage vendors who donate their goods and services
The inaugural Smiles Charity Concert and Family Festival in 2008 benefitted the Habitat for Humanity home of Glenda Alons and her three children. The concert entertained 6,000 people and featured local sensation Maylee Thomas Band and country and western singer Chris Cagle.
The 2009 Smiles Charity Concert and Family Festival, featuring the Maylee Thomas Band who returned to open the festivities followed by local sensation Lone Star Attitude and country super stars Little Big Town, drew 8,000 fans benefitted the Habitat for Humanity home of McKinney resident Roberto Osornia and his family. The Osornias, who are very grateful for the opportunity provided by Smiles Charity to become homeowners, moved into their new home just two months after the concert.
The 2010 Smiles Charity Concert and Family Festival featured Gavin Degraw as its headlining act and drew 12,000 fans. Those fans contributed generously to the building of Tracy Sawyer’s Habitat for Humanity home. Tracy and her two sons moved into their new home shortly after the concert and have enjoyed their new life.
Dr. Buchanan, who was named McKinney Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year for 2009 and an HGTV Community Crusader in 2010, founded Smiles Charity in McKinney with the vision of building homes for deserving families. Dr. Buchanan hopes to be able to raise enough through Smiles Charity in the future to build several homes a year in the McKinney area. Further, it is Dr. Buchanan’s ultimate goal to bring Smiles Charity to several cities nationwide in order help hundreds realize their dream of home ownership.
The 2011 Smiles Charity Concert featured headliner Uncle Kracker and his appropriately titled single “Smile” and drew a record 15,000 fans. Stars Go Dim and The Maylee Thomas Band also performed. Net proceeds from the 2011 concert were donated to Operation Finally Home to directly benefit the homes of Sgt. Alan Hornaday and Sgt. Levi Wilson. Both of these heroes were severely injured while serving their country in Iraq. On behalf of a grateful nation, Smiles Charity donated its 2011 net proceeds to help provide them with mortgage-free homes.
Smiles Charity continues to make dreams come true for McKinney families aspiring to build their first home allowing them along with Dr. Buchanan, her Planning Committee, and local sponsors to… smile.