Ratings Awards

The World’s Most Innovative Nonprofits, According to Fast Company

Direct Relief's 155,000-square-foot headquarters and humanitarian distribution center for charitable medicine. (Photo by Donnie Hedden for Direct Relief)
Direct Relief's 155,000-square-foot headquarters and humanitarian distribution center for charitable medicine. (Photo by Donnie Hedden for Direct Relief)

Fast Company today released its annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019. The list honors the businesses and non-profit organizations making the most profound impact in their fields.

In the not-for-profit category, the top three spots went to Girls Who Code, DonorsChoose.Org, and Direct Relief.

Direct Relief, which also received this recognition in 2015, delivers lifesaving medical resources throughout the world to communities in need—without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay.

Recent innovations achieved by the organization  include:

  • With support from AbbVie, transitioning Puerto Rico’s health centers to resilient smart grids using solar power with battery storage, to prevent interruptions in care caused by future natural disasters.
  • Constructing a technology-infused 155,000-square-foot headquarters and distribution center to ensure that its humanitarian relief activities meet stringent new federal requirements related to secure storage and distribution of prescription medications and are conducted in the most efficient manner possible to meet the increased demand stemming from emergencies and in areas of chronic need.
  • Engaging Tesla to build a microgrid to ensure uninterrupted operations and maintenance of critical cold-chain capacity for vaccines, insulin, and medications requiring cold storage in the event of extended loss of grid power for many months.
  • Working with Facebook to use anonymized location information to determine the movement and location of people fleeing California forest fires, guiding how Direct Relief distributed N-95 breathing masks to protect the public from smoke inhalation.

The recognition came after a year defined by humanitarian crises and natural disasters of unprecedented scale during which Direct Relief responded more expansively than ever before in its 70-year history—delivering more than $1.1 billion in humanitarian assistance to locally-run healthcare providers in 100 countries, including $231 million in aid to communities in 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Direct Relief receives no government funding and its work is fueled by the generosity, passion, and participation of people from all backgrounds and companies of all types and industries just wanting to help people who need it,” said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe. “This wonderful recognition is a testament to their involvement, which provides the energy and the ideas and for which we are deeply grateful.”

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.

Others recognizing Direct Relief recently 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).

This year, Fast Company’s editors and writers sought out groundbreaking businesses across 35 industries and every region. The World’s Most Innovative Companies provides both a snapshot and a road map for the future of innovation across the most dynamic sectors of the economy.

Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies issue (March-April 2019) is now available online at https://www.fastcompany.com/MIC, as well as in app form via iTunes and on newsstands beginning February 27th.

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