Hurricane Sandy: National Groups Join to Support Nonprofit Health Centers and Clinics

National Association of Community Health Centers, Direct Relief; Establish Sandy Fund to Support Safety-Net Facilities in Affected Communities

BETHESDA, Md., SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Nov. 7 – Two national nonprofit organizations, The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and Direct Relief International, announced today that they have joined together and established a special fund to support the patients and nonprofit health centers and clinics in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.

All contributions to the Sandy Safety-Net Fund will be used exclusively to support nonprofit healthcare safety-net facilities and related activities in affected communities.

In a joint statement released today, NACHC President and CEO, Tom Van Coverden, and Direct Relief President and CEO, Thomas Tighe, said:

“We are deeply saddened by the widespread destruction and tragic loss of life that has occurred in our communities, and we believe it is essential in the storm’s aftermath to support the existing, community-based nonprofit health organizations that provide essential health services to the people who are most vulnerable.

The scale of this emergency clearly exceeds the capacity of any one nonprofit organization to address, which is why we are joining together to ensure that at least some of the private charitable resources being so generously given are available to the nonprofit health centers and clinics on the front lines in these communities.

The patients who rely on care from America’s nonprofit safety-net health centers and clinics – and the facilities themselves – have limited financial ability to absorb this type of blow and the most difficult challenge bouncing back.  These facilities and their patients need help during this critical period, and they also need to sustain and serve the same people in the same communities a year and five years from now.”

NACHC is the membership organization for Community Health Centers, which provide primary and preventive health care to more than 20 million people from more than 8,000 sites across the nation.

Direct Relief, established in 1948, is the only U.S. nonprofit organization licensed to distribute prescription medications in all 50 states and runs the largest nonprofit program in the country providing donations of medications and supplies to serve low-income, uninsured patients at more than 1,000 nonprofit health centers and clinics on an ongoing basis and in emergency situations.

NACHC and Direct Relief have worked together on a series of initiatives, beginning with Hurricane Katrina, to mobilize private charitable resources for the benefit of patients at nonprofit safety-net health centers and clinics and on emergency preparedness and response activities.  Among other initiatives, Direct Relief annually conducts an extensive Hurricane Preparedness Program that prepositions emergency medications and supplies at nonprofit Community Health Centers and clinics in hurricane-prone areas to assure that some resources are already on-hand when emergencies arise.

Tax-deductible contributions to the Sandy Safety-Net Fund may be made to a specially designated account at  Contributions to this fund will be restricted and will be used only on activities to assist communities affected by Hurricane Sandy as jointly determined by the two organizations.  Such contributions will not become part of a general disaster fund.

Direct Relief has already committed $1 million in cash and made its entire inventory of $25 million of medications and supplies available to assist in the Hurricane-affected areas and has sent initial shipments of medications, nutritional products, and personal hygiene supplies in response to requests from affected facilities in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.


About the National Association of Community Health Centers:

NACHC was founded in 1971, with a mission to promote the provision of high quality, comprehensive and affordable health care that is coordinated, culturally and linguistically competent, and community directed for all medically underserved populations.

About Direct Relief International

Direct Relief International is a leading medical relief organization, active in all 50 states and in 70 countries. It works with more than 1,000 health clinics across the U.S. to assist in emergencies and an ongoing basis, providing them with free medications for people in need. The organization has been among the world’s largest medical suppliers in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, has top charity ratings, including four-star and “top-notch” rating from Charity Navigator, and a 100% fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes magazine. For more information, visit

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