Direct Relief

Statement Regarding Donations for the West Africa Ebola Outbreak

In responding to the needs of people affected by Ebola in West Africa, Direct Relief wishes to note its policy regarding donor-designated contributions as it has done in previous high-profile emergencies (such as Typhoon Haiyan last year, Superstorm Sandy the year before, the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake).

Direct Relief’s policy regarding designated contributions for Ebola response activities is simple:

Direct Relief will use all contributions designated for “Ebola Relief” directly for relief and recovery efforts related to the Ebola Crisis.

Direct Relief recognizes the importance of enabling donors to communicate their intentions regarding donations and explaining how the organization carefully accounts for and uses designated contributions to honor the donors’ intentions. Direct Relief takes several steps to ensure that both donors’ intentions and the organization’s use of contributions are clear.

General, unrestricted financial support is essential for Direct Relief to fulfill any of its deeply compelling humanitarian activities, including being able to respond rapidly to any emergency as the organization has done in the ongoing Ebola outbreak. Indeed, much of Direct Relief’s current Ebola response activities have been guided by and in support of key partners that Direct Relief already was supporting in the affected countries — with such general funds – and are now playing central, critical roles in response to the crisis.  That is why such unrestricted contributions always are needed, deeply appreciated, and enable Direct Relief to assist people in many places and situations that do not make the news.

However, Direct Relief is obligated to – and will always – honor the intent of a donor-designated financial contribution, including, obviously, in this instance with regard to Ebola-designated contributions. If a donor were to make a clearly restricted gift for a purpose or with a restriction that Direct Relief is not able to fulfill or comply with, Direct Relief will advise the donor of this situation and inquire if other uses may be permitted. If a donor’s intent cannot be met, Direct Relief will offer to direct the gift to another nonprofit able to fulfill the donor’s intent or return the gift.