Google’s Eric Schmidt Visits Direct Relief



Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt visited Direct Relief’s warehouse headquarters last week with CNN and Newsweek journalist Fareed Zakaria to review how the organization’s use of information technology is being applied to humanitarian health programs and emergency preparedness and response.

Who would have thought that the things that we’ve worked on in the lab have ultimately saved lives at that kind of scale. Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman Under Schmidt’s tenure as Google CEO, from which he recently stepped down from to become Executive Chairman, helped the technology company make its expanding suite of applications and services available to nonprofit organizations. Direct Relief was among the first nonprofits in the country to benefit from this effort through the organization’s use of Google analytics, Google Maps, Google Earth, Adwords, and Google docs to bring speed, transparency, and efficiencies in humanitarian efforts and large-scale emergencies has been ongoing since the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Direct Relief’s application of information technology for humanitarian purposes also is being showcased this week, in presentations from its CEO Thomas Tighe, at the 2011 SAPPHIRE conference in Orlando Florida, an annual event for SAP clients and partners that is attended by 14,000 business and technology leaders from around the globe.

Direct Relief implemented SAP to bring precision, speed, efficiencies and better analytics to humanitarian aid programs and to ensure thorough compliance with the multitude of regulatory rules governing prescription medications.

Two years ago, Direct Relief became the first and only nonprofit organization in the United States licensed to distribute prescription medications in all 50 U.S. states, and its international programs provide ongoing and emergency support to facilities in over 70 countries. Direct Relief also has been the largest provider of medical material aid in Haiti since the devastating 2010 earthquake and established the only online medical distribution function in Haiti that now serves 100 hospitals and clinics throughout the country.

CEO Thomas Tighe is among the conference speakers, which also include Michael Eisner and other business and thought leaders. Tighe said, “The efficiency argument is just as strong – if not stronger – for a nonprofit providing humanitarian services as it is for a commercial business serving its customers, particularly in tough economic times when more people need help and fewer dollars exist to provide help. Our use of SAP has enabled us to reach more people in more places, who need access to medicine and medical supplies.”

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