Forbes Ranks Direct Relief Third Largest Charity in the U.S.


Ratings Awards

Direct Relief supplies land in the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

Direct Relief has become the third-largest charity in the U.S., according to Forbes Magazine’s newly released annual list of the 100 largest U.S. charities ranked by private donations. In its fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, the humanitarian medical aid group received $1.99 billion in private donations, a 39% increase over last year, when Direct Relief ranked No. 7 on the Forbes list.

Direct Relief’s overall revenue in its 2020 fiscal year included $1.82 billion in donated medicines and services (up 36% from last year) and $171 million in private cash contributions (up 81% from last year).


Rank Charity Private Donations Fundraising Efficiency
1 United Way $3.6B 90%
2 Feeding America $2.8B 99%
3 Direct Relief $2B 100%
4 Salvation Army $2B 88%
5 St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital $1.8B 84%
6 Habitat for Humanity $1.4B 90%
7 YMCA $1.1B 84%
8 Compassion International $993M 89%
9 Boys & Girls Clubs of America $976M 86%
10 Goodwill Industries $974M 98%

As one of the world’s primary channels for humanitarian medical aid and the only global nonprofit recognized by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy as an Accredited Drug Distributor, Direct Relief partners with and seeks in-kind contributions from businesses and organizations of goods and services. As such, in-kind donations, which the organization provides without charge to qualified health care organizations for patients in need, typically represent more than 90% percent of Direct Relief’s total annual revenue.

Contributions to Direct Relief during this period — a year that saw a deadly pandemic and a near-constant series of climate-driven disasters — coincided with an unprecedented spike in demand for the organization’s services. Direct Relief responded by providing more humanitarian assistance than ever before in its 72-year history to every U.S. state and 99 other countries worldwide.

Overall, the medical-material support provided by Direct Relief increased from the prior fiscal year to 5.2 million lbs. (up 73%) with a wholesale value of $1.4 billion (up 29%) and included 223 million Defined Daily Doses of requested medications (up 71%).

In the U.S. alone, Direct Relief’s stepped-up efforts in response to the concurrent crises of the largest-ever wildfires, the most active hurricanes in U.S. history, and the Covid-19 pandemic included 26 thousand deliveries of requested medications, supplies, and over 13 million units of PPE. These resources bolstered the efforts of more than 2,400 healthcare providers in medically underserved areas and to hospitals and public agencies dealing with surging caseloads across the U.S.

The outpouring of public generosity also enabled Direct Relief to disburse more than $43 million in cash grants to more than 500 nonprofit community health centers and free and charitable clinics in the U.S. The communities and patients served by these organizations include high percentages of persons from racial and ethnic minority groups who have experienced the highest rates of Covid infections, hospitalizations, and deaths since the pandemic began. The financial support helped bolster their shaken financial status, enhance safety measures for their frontline staff, and stand up community responses in their home communities.

In the Forbes 2020 ranking, Direct Relief received a score of 100% for charitable commitment (how much of a charity’s total expense went directly to the charitable purpose) and 100% on fundraising efficiency (the percent of private donations remaining after deducting fundraising costs).

Direct Relief accepts no government funding and is supported only by private, charitable contributions, and values donated medicine and supplies at wholesale prices (see

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