Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness and Relief

Direct Relief

  • Santa Barbara, CA

Mission Statement

Direct Relief is a medical relief organization, active in all 50 states and 70 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations.

Direct Relief earns a 100% fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes, tops Charity Navigator's list of the “10 Best Charities Everyone's Heard Of" and is named among "the world's most innovative companies in not-for-profit" by Fast Company

Among other distinctions, Direct Relief received the 2014 CECP Director's Award, the President's Award from Esri for excellence in GIS mapping, and the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation.

Main Programs

  1. Strengthening Fragile Health Systems
  2. Maternal and Child Health
  3. Disease Prevention and Treatment
  4. Emergency Preparedness and Response

service areas


Self-reported by organization

Areas Served Narrative

Direct Relief's international medical assistance programs equip health professionals working in resource-poor communities to better meet the challenges of diagnosing, treating, and caring for people, without regard to politics, religion, gender, race, or ability to pay.

Direct relief runs the largest charitable medicine program in the US, providing free medications and supplies to safety-net clinics and health centers, to serve their ever-growing number of low-income and uninsured patients. Direct relief is the first and only nonprofit licensed to distribute pharmaceuticals in every state.

Self-reported by organization

ruling year


President and CEO since 2000

Mr. Thomas Tighe

Self-reported by organization


disaster relief, medical aid, international relief, humanitarian aid, U.S. safety net support, community health, disaster response

Self-reported by organization

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Physical Address

27 S. La Patera Lane

Santa Barbara, 93117 3214

Also Known As


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Disaster Preparedness and Relief Services (M20)

Health - General and Rehabilitative N.E.C. (E99)

Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash) (P60)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

Direct Relief is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that improves the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations by mobilizing and providing essential medical resources needed for their care. Thanks to generous material and financial contributions from individuals, healthcare companies, and foundations, Direct Relief is able to work with healthcare facilities in over 70 countries and in all 50 U.S. states and equip them with the essential medical resources they need to provide care to the most vulnerable people in their communities.

Direct Relief's programs equip health professionals working in resource-poor communities to care for people without regard to politics, religion, gender, race, or ability to pay. With the high level of in-kind contributions of medical resources, transportation, and other donated goods and services it receives, Direct Relief is able to leverage every dollar raised into $37 (wholesale) worth of medical supplies for healthcare professionals to use in caring for their patients.


What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Strengthening Fragile Health Systems

Direct Relief focuses on providing resources to strengthen fragile health systems and enabling health workers to address the tremendous needs of resource-poor communities. The effect is that healthcare providers can care for people who are sick or hurt, but simply cannot afford the treatment or care they need. By providing essential medicines, supplies, and other essential resources, Direct Relief and its partners around the world are giving men, women, and children in vulnerable situations the chance to receive healthcare and live healthy lives.

•Healthcare providers treating the medically under-served often do not have the resources to meet the enormous needs of the population. With Direct Relief’s material support, these organizations and their staff are able to shift limited time and resources away from procuring medicine and supplies, and towards providing expanded and improved services.

•Partners on the ground gain access to resources which are sometimes absolutely unavailable to the region or prohibitively priced to receive.

•Direct Relief connects partners in the field with donors to create and maintain specialized, highly impactful programs to address specific health issues.

•The people served by non-profit facilities are most vulnerable to disasters and have the least ability to recover. Emergencies can also create new poverty and put enormous strain on existing infrastructure. By supporting nonprofit healthcare organizations on an ongoing basis, Direct Relief is also creating a network for preparing for and responding to disasters.

•All resources provided by Direct Relief are distributed by partners without regard to politics, religion, gender, race, or ability to pay.


Health Care


Population Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General


Program 2

Maternal and Child Health

Healthy mothers are the bedrock of healthy, productive families and communities around the world. Direct Relief focuses on accelerating the progress toward improved health and wellbeing of mothers and children through three key initiatives:

1. Equipping midwives

Having a skilled and equipped provider present at delivery is one of the most critical interventions to reduce maternal and newborn mortality. Training and equipping midwives with durable equipment and supplies helps provide clean, safe births.

2. Increasing access to emergency obstetric care

When complications arise. In approximately 15 percent of pregnancies, an unexpected complication occurs that requires timely access to emergency obstetric services, such as a cesarean delivery. When women have access to emergency obstetrics care and a skilled birth attendant, rates of maternal death can be reduced by 75 percent.

3. Supporting obstetric fistula repair

Obstetric fistula is caused by obstructed labor when women lack access to a skilled birth attendant and emergency obstetric care. Our obstetric fistula programs are created to help find and heal women suffering from this devastating childbirth injury.


Health Care


Population Served

Females, all ages or age unspecified


Program 3

Disease Prevention and Treatment

Direct Relief is committed to helping our health care provider partners around the globe respond to critical health issues faced by their communities.

In many countries where Direct Relief works, the rise of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular and respiratory disease are starting to become issues of serious public health concern. There continues to be a significant burden of communicable disease such as HIV/AIDS in low and middle-income countries.

Direct Relief is uniquely positioned to identify the leading healthcare providers in low-resource settings that are meeting these public health challenges and to equip them with essential medicines and medical supplies from leading healthcare companies to enable them to better serve their patients.

Three Key Initiatives:

1. Diabetes Prevention and Treatment: Supporting comprehensive programs that target all groups of people, from children with Type 1 diabetes to rural outreach and nutrition services.

2. HIV/AIDS Testing and Treatment: Focusing resources to increase access to HIV testing, prevention, care, and treatment in 60 countries worldwide.

3. Cancer Screening and Treatment: Helping increase access to life saving oncology drugs as well as early screening and diagnostic services.


Health Care


Population Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified


Program 4

Emergency Preparedness and Response

Direct Relief works daily to equip healthcare providers who care for vulnerable people on an ongoing basis and during emergencies. Our strong network of trusted partners enables Direct Relief to assess immediate healthcare needs, understand the situation on the ground, and respond quickly and efficiently when a disaster strikes. This solid and extensive network is the foundation of our emergency principles and preparedness work.

Direct Relief’s approach to disasters is to support the immediate needs of people by working with local partners that are best situated to assess, respond, and prepare for long-term recovery. Each emergency is unique and has specific characteristics that are dependent upon local facts and circumstances.

Coordinating with local, national, and international responders to avoid duplication of efforts and logistical bottlenecks, Direct Relief’s efforts are always in direct response to specific requests from partners and are coordinated to ensure the most efficient use of resources.

Direct Relief understands the importance of preparedness and works to equip its partners in numerous ways. Based on years of experience responding to large-scale emergencies worldwide, Direct Relief has developed programs that help address the needs of vulnerable communities before a disaster strikes. Our two main emergency preparedness programs are:

1. Hurricane Preparedness Program

Since 2007, Direct Relief has equipped partner healthcare facilities in areas vulnerable to hurricanes with emergency medical materials. Informed by the response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Hurricane Preparedness Program began in the U.S. Gulf States and has expanded each year to include nine states in the U.S. as well as seven countries in Central America and the Caribbean. These materials are delivered annually before hurricane season starts in June and, if not needed for emergency response, are absorbed into regular inventory for patient care.

2. Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Packs

In the U.S., Direct Relief equips MRC volunteers with the basic supplies they need to provide medical care during an emergency. These “grab-and-go” packs contain products, supplies, and medicines that these trained healthcare workers need to respond to emergency situations in their communities.


Public Safety, Disaster Services


Population Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

General Public/Unspecified


Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Direct Relief focuses on four key program areas to achieve its mission:

    1. Improving Maternal & Child Health: Life-saving and restorative programs to ensure the health of women and children during pregnancy and delivery;

    2. Preventing and Treating Disease: Supporting health professionals in U.S. and international communities combat high-burden diseases that affect the health and well-being of the people they serve;

    3. Strengthening Health Systems: Expanding access to care for underserved people in high-need areas; and

    4. Preparing for and Responding to Emergencies: Providing targeted and efficient responses to international and U.S. disaster situations.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Direct Relief's programs involve a broad range of functions, several of which require specialized expertise and licensing. Among these functions are identifying key local providers of health services; working to identify the unmet needs of people; mobilizing essential medicines, supplies, and equipment that are requested and appropriate for the circumstances; and managing the logistics associated with storing, transporting, and distributing such goods to the partner organizations in the most efficient manner possible.

    Strategies include:

    • Utilizing expertise in pharmaceutical and supply distribution to provide medicines, medical supplies, and equipment to medical facilities where they are needed and specifically requested. Direct Relief distributes medical materials donated by more than 150 healthcare companies to healthcare providers in more than 70 countries.

    • Increase the capacity of healthcare providers by equipping them with medical materials.

    • Increasing access to essential maternal and newborn care by providing medications, supplies, and equipment to healthcare providers.

    • Strengthening safe delivery practices by equipping trained midwives, providing them with the tools needed for clean and safe deliveries.

    • Providing healthcare facilities with the materials and infrastructure needed to provide emergency obstetric care.

    • Supporting the prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula through community education, healthcare provider training, and equipping healthcare facilities with the materials and infrastructure needed to perform obstetric fistula repair surgery.

    • Operating the largest program in the world that distributes HIV rapid test kits to pregnant women and their families to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.

    • Managing the largest program of its kind in the world, which delivers medical products to treat opportunistic infections in people living with HIV/AIDS.

    • Providing no-cost medical materials to prevent and treat disease.

    • Expanding resources to over 1,100 community clinics and health centers in all 50 U.S. states that care for low-income and medically underserved individuals.

    • Providing targeted and appropriate assistance and response to large-scale international emergencies in an efficient and timely manner.

    • Operating the largest hurricane preparedness program to preposition medicines and supplies at health facilities located in at-risk areas.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Direct Relief employs cross-sector partnerships that bring together disparate areas of expertise from the nonprofit and corporate sectors to help vulnerable people during complex emergencies and on an ongoing basis. Direct Relief partners with corporations and adapts the insight, approaches, and tools developed for commercial activity for humanitarian purposes. This innovative approach to humanitarianism has enabled Direct Relief to understand better and address complicated issues, effectively allocate resources, and optimize aid distribution.

    In-Kind Resources:

    To fulfill its mission and program objectives, Direct Relief develops partnerships with businesses and organizations with particular expertise which ensures Direct Relief can effectively leverage every dollar raised to the greatest extent. This strategic pursuit of in-kind resources – both goods and services – enables Direct Relief to provide far more humanitarian assistance than would be possible in a model that relied entirely upon raising cash and then converting the money into goods and services. The organization, and, more importantly, the people it serves, benefit from the lowest-cost, most efficient use of resources.

    Use of Technology:

    Direct Relief utilizes SAP, a commercial-grade information technology (IT) platform, to create a flow of information through which medicines and medical supplies can be efficiently and effectively allocated. This enterprise management system tracks each medical item distributed with exceptional precision – from corporate supplier to healthcare facility recipient. This streamlines the medical product donation and distribution process, reducing paperwork and administrative costs for all participating organizations, and has also enabled Direct Relief to scale up operations to deliver more humanitarian aid around the world

    Direct Relief utilizes additional technology tools to provide supporters with a high level of transparency, allowing all contributors to view where medical resources have been delivered throughout the world through detailed reporting and mapping. Direct Relief's product distribution data and maps are available on the website:
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Evaluations to monitor Direct Relief's work are ongoing to ensure that they are partnering with the right locally-run health facilities providing care to the most vulnerable people worldwide. Much evaluation is done up-front to assure that the locally-run healthcare facilities that Direct Relief works with are the right partners through thorough application and vetting processes.

    Direct Relief carries out continuous or “always on" internally- and externally-focused evaluations rooted in SAP enterprise data systems and business intelligence analytics. These assessments are integrated with data visualization and geographic information systems (GIS) tools for rapid pattern recognition and spatial analysis of their humanitarian logistics data. This type of routine internal process monitoring and evaluation system has resulted in the past three years in global inventory variances well below the total value of shipped goods.

    Direct Relief has applied these same evaluation mechanisms to two large-scale, multi-country distribution programs: HIV rapid test kits and an anti-fungal drug. For each program, Direct Relief aggregates massive amounts of progress reporting data -- including patient diagnosis and utilization data -- into relational database structures linked with geographically-enabled, multi-variate dashboards. This system allows Direct Relief to detect significant variances in reported patient activity, monitor trends in ordering and fulfillment, and forecast humanitarian needs for these particular goods.

    Likewise, Direct Relief has integrated their enterprise data systems with GIS, enabling maximum transparency into the types, amounts, and values of aid flows. Following disasters, Direct Relief maps all of their clinical recipient partner locations, using GIS to demonstrate the contents of aid flows for each recipient. This visually-rich and targeted monitoring and evaluation has been of great value not only for Direct Relief, but for corporate and clinical partners, and for local stakeholders who use these tools as one key way to track complex and often chaotic flows of medical aid into their country.

    Direct Relief operates programs that help their partners realize both short- and long-term impacts. In the short term, results can be measured based on the immediate increase of medications and medical supplies that locally-run healthcare facilities would otherwise not have the means to access. Over the long-term, Direct Relief has seen the noticeable impact with partners that have leveraged donations from Direct Relief to obtain additional donations of both funds and material resources from other nonprofits, corporations, and foundations. Over time, Direct Relief has been able to help these part
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Specific to health, recent history has shown a massive improvement of public health systems, medical discoveries, and health delivery systems. However, there is a divergence of people who can benefit from these improvements, and people living in poverty or crisis cannot.

    Historically, people living in rural, remote, or poor areas of the world are often unable to obtain necessary care, and lack means to access medications and medical supplies. This disparity of access to health services has dire consequences to those most vulnerable – people get sick more often, they stay sicker for longer periods of time, and they die sooner. On a humanitarian level, the answer is to make sure that people gain access to medical resources and locally-run health systems can provide care to those who need it the most.

    People are also pushed into crisis by external events – earthquakes, tsunamis, disease outbreaks, and other disasters. These conditions cause needless loss of life and place people in uncertain circumstances. Those individuals who were vulnerable before an emergency are thrown into deeper crisis, face further barriers and need additional assistance.

    While much remains to accomplish, Direct Relief is working to bridge the gap of access to medications for the world's most vulnerable people and communities, enabling them to receive the care they deserve to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

    Direct Relief will continue working to improve the health and lives of people by increasing access to medicines, medical supplies, information, and other resources for locally-run health care facilities caring for vulnerable populations.

service areas


Self-reported by organization

Areas Served Narrative

Direct Relief's international medical assistance programs equip health professionals working in resource-poor communities to better meet the challenges of diagnosing, treating, and caring for people, without regard to politics, religion, gender, race, or ability to pay.

Direct relief runs the largest charitable medicine program in the US, providing free medications and supplies to safety-net clinics and health centers, to serve their ever-growing number of low-income and uninsured patients. Direct relief is the first and only nonprofit licensed to distribute pharmaceuticals in every state.

Self-reported by organization


The organization's Blog

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Funding Needs

Direct Relief receives no government funding and is 100% privately funded. Undesignated cash donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations allow the organization to continue its work to help people in need live healthier lives. Donors can give online at:


Philanthropy 400

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance

Affiliations + Memberships

InterAction - Member

Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD) - Member


External Reviews

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Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.


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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Direct Relief



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

President and CEO

Mr. Thomas Tighe


Thomas Tighe came to Direct Relief from the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C., where he served as Chief-of-Staff and Chief Operating Officer from 1995-2000. In that role, he was responsible for the day-to-day management of the Peace Corps' worldwide operations, involving more than 7,000 volunteers in 72 countries and an annual budget of $250 million. During that period, the Peace Corps experienced a resurgence of interest and growth to the highest volunteer levels in 27 years. He negotiated agreements to establish new programs in South Africa, China, and Bangladesh, and directed a revamping of the agency's organizational structure and business systems. In 1998, Congress recognized the improvements and approved for the first time ever a four-year authorization for the Peace Corps to expand to 10,000 volunteers. Tighe was raised in Palo Alto, California, is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and the U.C. Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Thailand from 1986-1988 after completing law school and being admitted to the California State Bar.


"Health remains fundamental for every person to realize his or her potential and enjoy the wonders of life. Preventive care and access to care, when sickness or injury occurs, is essential to health.

Each day, millions of people in the United States and around the world confront severe health risks and high barriers to needed care and medications because they are without the means to pay. And each year, disasters and other emergencies create urgent health risks for millions of people, particularly those of limited means who face severe challenges as a matter of course and were most vulnerable the day before an emergency struck.

Direct Relief's humanitarian mission is simple: to provide life-saving medical aid to people in urgent need. And the organization's approach is to work with those in the communities, helping them improve and expand their services by providing resources to which they otherwise have no access. This approach is necessary to the long-term goals of improving health in the hardest-pressed communities, informing emergency response efforts and making the most at-risk communities more resilient."



Rita Moya

Chief Strategist, BioIQ

Term: July 2015 - June 2016


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Sexual Orientation

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