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Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity Receives $5 Million Commitment from Lilly


Health Equity

Staff at Henry J. Austin Health Center in Trenton, New Jersey. Health centers across the United States provide quality care to patients, regardless of ability to pay, and are essential for health equity efforts. (Photo courtesy of Henry J. Austin Health Center)

Eli Lilly and Company today announced its support of Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity (the Fund) with a $5 million commitment over the next five years. The Fund launched in March 2020 with $75 million raised against a goal of $150 million.

The $5 million commitment by Lilly is a component of the company’s Racial Justice Initiative, a robust endeavor to deliver resources like education, health care, economic stability and jobs within the communities where Lilly operates.

Direct Relief, a humanitarian organization, established the Fund to improve health in underserved communities in the U.S. by providing financial support to health centers, free and charitable clinics and other community-based organizations and educational institutions that focus on the social determinants that strongly affect one’s health, such as physical environment and social, political, cultural and economic factors.

Through the Fund, and with the input of the Fund’s Advisory Council, Direct Relief will make strategic investments into the work of safety-net providers delivering healthcare for patients of racial and ethnic minority groups. These grant-funding investments are aimed at bolstering the capacity of organizations to provide high-quality, culturally appropriate healthcare, as well as focus on the social determinants of health that can play a significant role in poor health outcomes. Organizations can apply for grants that will strengthen their work in:

  • Leadership development to increase the number of healthcare providers from diverse backgrounds.
  • Preventive health strategies, including community-based outreach, awareness and education programs for patients.
  • Chronic disease care and management.
  • Innovation and technology to expand patient access and improve patient care.
  • Community immunity rates, including COVID-19 and outreach, education, testing and care.

“Lilly is committed to helping address systemic inequities in health, including for those with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, that too often have devastating effects on the lives of historically marginalized people,” said David A. Ricks, Lilly chairman and CEO. “Our support for the Fund for Health Equity will help empower rural and urban local health organizations to leverage innovation and relevant programming to overcome health disparities in their communities.”

“Direct Relief is deeply grateful for Lilly’s substantial commitment of funding that will make such a difference for organizations that do important work every day to make health equity a reality for people who suffer from its absence,” said Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief President and CEO. “Lilly’s action exemplifies the type of recognition, engagement, commitment, and leadership that is needed to change the chronic circumstances that prevent so many people from overcoming illness, maintaining their health, and realizing their full potential and enjoying the wonders that life holds for each of us.”

Engagement with the Fund for Health Equity is an extension of Lilly’s long-standing, and multi-faceted support of Direct Relief to improve access to care for those most vulnerable. This includes making COVID-19 therapies available in low- and middle-income countries, as well as hurricane preparedness in the U.S.

Lilly’s commitment also supports Lilly 30×30, the company’s goal to improve access to quality health care for 30 million people living in settings with limited resources, each year, by 2030. To learn more about Lilly’s efforts, visit https://www.lilly.com/impact/overview or join Lilly’s sustainability webcast on Tuesday, May 4.

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