Padre Umile founded the Sorriso Francescano in Genoa in 1946 to "to train children without the assistance and education of the family to the Christian life",
by building two complexes for rapid reception services for minors.
Padre Dionisio Mazzucco in 1957 did the same in La Spezia by founding La Casa del Fanciullo.
The Sorriso Francescano is presented today as a socio-educational welfare foundation that addresses child hardship also at the service of migrants, in its locations in Genoa and La Spezia.
On 9 February 1969 Padre Umile from Genoa died. From 1969 to 1999 the Director and Legal Representative of Sorriso was Father Vittorio Bonicelli. From 1999 to 2018 the Director and Legal Representative was Father Giampiero Gambaro. From 16/04/2018 to the present, the Director and Legal Representative is Father Francesco Rossi; Vice Director and Spiritual Father is Father Biju James. With the beginning of his mandate, Father Giampiero, repenting the need to standardize the institution to new, growing and differentiated needs social actions brought about by globalization, gave birth to a profound both infrastructural and educational modernization, through a radical redevelopment of both the institutional buildings and the teams educational. This path led the Foundation - according to the new dictates legislative in terms of social assistance - to set up and manage several services aimed at targeted assistance according to age groups e classification of discomfort.
In 2004, to complete the redevelopment process, it was entered into a "deed of commitment" with the Municipality of Genoa which has codified and regulated the collaboration with the Sorriso Francescano for the daytime and residential reception of minors sent by the Municipality itself. Over the years, the growing difficulties encountered in managing some structures mentioned above due to the continuous rise in costs of management, the tax burden and above all the inadequate response of the educational staff, have burdened the activity and have made it impossible to continue independently and individually. Careful market research led to the identification of the Consortium of Social Cooperative “Obiettivo Sociale” (OSO) of Alba (CN), operational for years on a large part of the national territory; in the growth phase and animated by a strong innovative and alternative spirit with respect to professional dynamics typical of our territory. A strong communion of purpose and ideological affinity was confirmed and proven operational. The agreement between the parties was found in 2014, based on a lease agreement of a company organized for the purpose of the exercise of non-profit activity.
At present, the Religion Foundation Sorriso Francescano operates on the Ligurian territory with its historic locations of Genoa and La Spezia.
The aim and mission is “to assist and educate all the minors who come in an integral way welcomed in the communities of the Sorriso Francescano” by offering the possibility of growth harmonic of their person, alleviating the causes of social and family discomfort and promoting an adequate insertion in the family of origin, in the territorial society and in the world of work.