January 30, 2007 (SANTA BARBARA, CA) Direct Relief International has received a gift of $34 million from the trust of a long-time donor who passed away last year at the age of 91.
CEO Thomas Tighe made the following statement in connection with this gift, which was received last month.
“This extraordinary legacy gift came from a man who chose never to disclose his intentions to our organization. Through his estate plan, he asked for no recognition and imposed no restrictions on its use.
“We are deeply honored and, indeed, humbled to receive this gift that represents wealth accumulated over a long life.
“The gift was made to Direct Relief International. But we understand that it is for the people whom the organization exists to serve.
“Since 1948, Direct Relief’s intensive humanitarian efforts have never been able to address fully the enormous health challenges faced by people living in poverty, subjected to disasters or, in many cases, both. This gift will not allow our organization to meet all needs, but we will be able to do more.
“These funds will help lift people up — and help them lift themselves up. Because of this generous act, millions of people will receive care that they need and otherwise would not receive. And more frontline clinics around the world will receive resources they need and otherwise would not have.
“As with any gift of any size entrusted to us, our standard for its use is whether the action will make a positive, meaningful difference in the lives of people that warrants the expense. Our actions will be consistent with our very long tradition of efficiency.
“This gift also will strengthen our organization and allow us to become even more efficient, make needed investments in the infrastructure necessary to deliver more help, and leverage even further each dollar we receive from generous people who contribute to our humanitarian work.
“Because of the enormous good that this gift will do, we wish that we had known so that we could have conveyed our profound thanks to the donor. But we will honor his gracious gift through our actions.”
UPDATE: June 5, 2007
Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe announced at the annual Shareholders’ Meeting a series of plans for this large bequest. According to the press release issued on the event:
Bequest to be used for Emergency Fund, Initiatives, and to Cover Overhead. The unanticipated gift of $34 million dollars, “Is a tremendous boost to our efforts to expand assistance to people in need,” said Tighe. With these funds, Direct Relief–
Has established an emergency revolving fund to enable quick response to emergencies
Will cover 100 percent of its traditionally low administrative and fundraising expenses
Will seek matching co-funders to support long-term plans to strengthen local health services
Has established a separate, wholly controlled supporting foundation to enable long-term organizational viability
“We understand clearly that this gift is to Direct Relief International, but it is for the people whom we serve. This gift will translate directly into millions of people receiving care that they need and otherwise would not receive and more frontline clinics around the world having resources they need and otherwise would not have,” said Tighe.