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Operation Smile closes office and lays off staffers at others

SHARE Operation Smile closes office and lays off staffers at others

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A charity that sends surgeons around the world to fix the cleft palates and lips of poor children has closed one of its chapters and laid off paid staffers at two others, citing a decline in donations.

Operation Smile's Philadelphia chapter was shut down Monday. The Boston and Baltimore chapters will switch to all-volunteer status Aug. 1, Lisa Jardanhazy, a spokeswoman at the charity's Norfolk headquarters, said Wednesday.

The nonprofit organization relies on field offices to help raise donations and recruit volunteer physicians and nurses. Officials say it has performed 59,000 surgeries worldwide since its founding in 1982.

Last year, the organization investigated anonymous e-mails accusing it of poor surgical procedures and mismanagement. The board has since released a statement saying no willful misconduct was found and pledging to tighten Operation Smile's medical and financial controls.