Direct Relief Tops 2018 Charity Ratings and Recommendations

Direct Relief staff bring medical supplies to Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael's impact in the Florida panhandle on Sunday, October 14, 2018. (Photo by Zack Wittman for Direct Relief)
Direct Relief staff bring medical supplies to Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael's impact in the Florida panhandle on Sunday, October 14, 2018. (Photo by Zack Wittman for Direct Relief)

In a time of increasing natural disasters and growing income inequality, Direct Relief’s performance in delivering medicine and other healthcare resources to disaster victims and underserved communities worldwide has put it at the top of many lists of most-recommended charities.

Direct Relief earned a four-star rating for 2018 from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, the eighth consecutive time that Direct Relief has earned this top distinction. Of the more than 8,000 charities rated by Charity Navigator, Direct Relief is one of only 66 to receive a perfect 100 score. These charities have earned perfect scores in Charity Navigator’s evaluation of Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency.

Charity Navigator also included Direct Relief in its 2018 lists of “10 of the Best Charities Everyone’s Heard Of,” the “10 Best Humanitarian Relief Organizations,” and “10 Highly Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions.”

Others recognizing Direct Relief in 2018 include the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at University of Pennsylvania (2019 High Impact Giving Guide), Wallet Hub (2018’s Best Charities for Holiday Giving), Okta (2018 Oktane Award Finalist) and TheStreet (30 Charities That Won’t Waste Your Money).

According to Forbes, Direct Relief ranks as the seventh largest U.S. charity in 2018, scoring 100 percent in fundraising efficiency (percent of private donations remaining after fundraising expenses) and 99 percent for its charitable commitment (charitable services as a percent of total expenses).

A Year of Disaster and Response

The ratings came in a year defined by humanitarian crises and natural disasters of unprecedented scale, and Direct Relief has responded more expansively than ever before in its 70-year history—delivering $923 million in humanitarian assistance to locally-run healthcare providers in 101 countries, including $212 million in aid to communities in 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Examples of Direct Relief’s work in 2018 include:

Disaster Response: Within the first two weeks after Hurricane Florence struck the Carolinas in September, leading to at least 47 deaths, Direct Relief had delivered more than 14,000 lbs. of medicine and medical supplies, including more than 300,000 defined daily doses of medicine, to local health centers and free clinics in the affected areas.

Over Thanksgiving week, Direct Relief staff rushed deliveries to California’s Butte County, where local shelters housing thousands of people displaced by the Camp Fire were hit by outbreaks of highly contagious norovirus. The team delivered prescription anti-nausea medications, anti-infectives, oral rehydration salts, and personal protective gear and disinfectants for clinical staff and clean-up teams.

Puerto Rico Post-Maria: Direct Relief was the first organization to bring medicine into Puerto Rico when the commercial supply chain completely broke down after Hurricane Maria made landfall in September 2017. More than a year later, Direct Relief has provided $70.2 million in medical aid, invested $12 million in initiatives to bolster health services and local infrastructure, and installed 791 kilowatts of solar energy and 2 megawatts of battery backup at 14 health centers and remote communities across the island.

Opioid Epidemic: Direct Relief last year began shipping the life-saving drug naloxone, which can revive people who have overdosed on opioid medications, to health partners around the country. Through November 30, 2018, Direct Relief has shipped 173,460 doses of naloxone to healthcare providers in 45 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico as part of a four-year commitment from Pfizer to supply up to 1 million total doses.

Humanitarian Crises: While responding to fast-onset disasters, Direct Relief continued aiding local healthcare providers in parts of the world enduring “slow-burn” humanitarian disasters—from Syria, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo to Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, where over 700,000 Rohingya have sought refuge from mass violence in Myanmar, Direct Relief is working with its longstanding partner HOPE Foundation in Cox’s Bazar to establish a field hospital for women and children, and provided durable medical tents, diagnostic and testing supplies, medical protective gear, oral rehydration salts, prenatal vitamins and personal hygiene items.

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