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Direct Relief International
updated: May 14, 2011, 8:45 AM
Direct Relief International - California's largest international nonprofit - was
founded in Santa Barbara in 1948, and has been providing aid to help vulnerable
people in the 60-plus years since. From its origins in a Montecito kitchen to
its current 60,000-square-foot headquarters in Goleta, the organization has
always had at its center a hope for a better, healthier life for those less
Today, Direct Relief provides humanitarian medical aid for people affected by
poverty, civil strife, and natural disasters regardless of their race, religion,
or ability to pay. It delivers medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and equipment
to local healthcare providers in 72 countries, including the U.S.
Direct Relief supports more than 1,100 clinics in the U.S. that provide
healthcare services for low-income, uninsured patients, including Santa Barbara
Neighborhood Clinic facilities locally. Direct Relief also provides medical
supplies and personal care items to more than 32 agencies in Santa Barbara
County serving families and individuals with little or no resources, including
homebound seniors and the homeless.
Sometimes best known for its responses to emergencies like Hurricane Katrina and
the Haiti Earthquake, Direct Relief works in close collaboration with the
California Emergency Management Agency and the Santa Barbara County Office of
Emergency Services and Public Health Department to help its neighbors prepare
for and respond to emergencies. Direct Relief has outfitted the trained
volunteers of the Medical Reserve Corps in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties
with "grab-and-go" packs that equip them with the tools they need to provide
patient care if a large-scale disaster strikes.
During the Gap, Tea, and Jesusita Fires, Direct Relief staff distributed
protective masks to the community and emergency responders, as well as
establishing an acute-care shelter at UCSB during widespread evacuations in the
Thanks to generous support by some of the world's largest healthcare companies,
individuals, and foundations, Direct Relief has been able to provide more than
$1.2 billion in medical aid since 2000. Top supporters include FedEx, Covidien,
Johnson & Johnson, Teva, Abbott, Pfizer, and BD, to name a few. Direct Relief is
completely privately funded, relying on donations to continue its work.
Efficiency and transparency are hallmarks of Direct Relief's relationship to
donors, who appreciate that 100 percent of their donation goes to programs, not
to fundraising and administrative costs. Every $1 donated is leveraged into $25
in medical aid delivered. Charity Navigator named Direct Relief a "Four-Star"
charity, its highest honor, and Forbes ranked Direct Relief 100 percent
efficient in fundraising for the eighth year in 2010.
While these metrics are important, Direct Relief measures its bottom line by its
ability to help people in need to live healthier lives, both around the corner
and around the world. To learn more and to give your support, go to
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