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Global Update: U.S. tornadoes, Super Typhoon Rai, a new Forbes ranking

A look at Direct Relief's global activities.



“We’re doing something good, we’re giving medicine to people who cannot afford it. Also, I really like the team atmosphere. After you retire, you’re not working with people anymore so I enjoy coming here and being part of the team.” -David Wancowicz, Pharmacist Volunteer. Ozanam Charitable Pharmacy, Mobile, Alabama. February 2020. David has been a career chemist, and when he retired began donating his time as a volunteer pharmacy technician. He has been volunteering for twelve years now. Ozanam Charitable Pharmacy is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that serves the needs of the community through prescription assistance, focusing primarily on maintenance medications for chronic illnesses – such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Each year, over 1704 patients rely on Ozanam to get their medications so they don’t have to choose between feeding their families and managing their illnesses. Ozanam relies on their community and partners like Direct Relief for funding so they can provide free medications for patients. Direct Relief currently provides Ozanam with a regular, bulk refill of medications including insulin and hypertension treatment. Photo/caption: Donnie Lloyd Hedden Jr. for Direct Relief.

In Summary

  • Forbes ranks Direct Relief the fifth largest charity in the United States in 2021, and Charity Navigator rates the organization a “Perfect 100.”
  • In response to devastating tornadoes in multiple U.S. states, Direct Relief has provided medications, wound care products, Tdap vaccines, and solar power generators
  • Super Typhoon Rai has killed hundreds in the Philippines. Direct Relief is sending emergency supplies and funding.
  • Many Americans live in “pharmacy deserts,” where access to pharmaceutical care and resources are scarce.

Top Stories

Direct Relief Ranked Fifth Largest Charity in the U.S., Rated “Perfect 100”

Covid-19 shipments are staged at Direct Relief’s global distribution hub. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief).

The situation: Forbes releases an annual list of the 100 largest U.S. charities, ranked by private donations. The independent evaluator Charity Navigator examined 160,000 nonprofits this year.

The response: Direct Relief, which received $1.9 billion in private donations in 2021, is fifth on the Forbes list. The organization is also one of 92 earning a “Perfect 100” from Charity Navigator for accountability and transparency.

The impact: “The acute new health challenges that Covid brought on for everyone made all the existing challenges that much worse—particularly for people and places most vulnerable and least fortunate,” said Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief President and CEO. “Direct Relief has and will continue to stretch every dollar to help in the most efficient, productive way possible.”

After Deadly Tornadoes Rip through South, Midwest, Direct Relief Launches Response Efforts

Medical aid arrived in western Kentucky this week for those impacted by recent tornadoes. On Wednesday, another infusion of support left Direct Relief’s headquarters, including insulin, TDAP vaccines, antibiotics, vitamins and other items requested by ARcare, a federally qualified health center using the supplies to care for displaced people in Mayfield, Kentucky. The organization received an earlier shipment from Direct Relief this week for use in a mobile health unit providing health services at a shelter housing 75 people. With much of the area still lacking power, Direct Relief was also able to ship portable solar generators to Second Christian Church in Mayfield that is acting as a donation distribution point for the town. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

The situation: Tornadoes have ripped through parts of Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennesee, and the death toll currently stands above 90.

The response:  Direct Relief is equipping on-the-ground groups with Tdap vaccines, solar generators, insulin, wound care products, baby formula, and more.

The impact: The supplies are designated to help shelter residents and power a donation distribution point.

The Death Toll of Super Typhoon Rai Continues to Rise. Direct Relief is Responding.

Infrared imagery of Typhoon Rai, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Odette. was captured as the then-super typhoon (winds greater than 150 mph ) made landfall on Siargao Island in the Philippines around 1:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, Dec. 16. (Image via NESDIS/NOAA)

The situation: As the fifteenth and strongest storm to affect the Philippines this year, Super Typhoon Rai has killed at least 375 people and injured 500.

The response: Direct Relief is coordinating with agencies on the ground, including ASEAN’s AHA Centre and the Philippines Department of Health, to send emergency supplies and provide financial support. Direct Relief-funded emergency supplies are already staged at the AHA Centre’s disaster response depot.

The impact: The organization will continue to support on-the-ground agencies and groups caring for those affected by the storm.

Across the U.S., Many Live Without Access to a Pharmacy

A patient receives help with their prescription at Ozanam Charitable Pharmacy in February 2020. (Donnie Hedden/Direct Relief)

The situation: Millions of people in the U.S. don’t have access to a pharmacy, meaning they can’t pick up prescriptions, meet face-to-face with a pharmacist, or access other health care services.

The response: Nonprofit charitable pharmacies are working to bridge the gap, sending people their medications, often for free. And despite the distance, they still manage to keep close tabs on patients.

The impact: For many patients, these pharmacies are their only reliable link to medication they can afford. But they’re not a substitute for in-person care, an expert says.

In Brief

The United States

  • Over the past two weeks, Direct Relief has made 780 shipments to 516 partners in 45 states and territories, totaling $10.5 million in value and more than 17,425 pounds.
  • During the same period, $1.2 million in grants was distributed.
  • Direct Relief has begun receiving donations of Narcan, a nasally-administered form of naloxone that is frequently requested by health facilities and organizations, for groups fighting the opioid crisis.

Around the World

  • In the past two weeks, Direct Relief has made 43 shipments to 34 partners in 22 countries, totaling $34.4 million in value and more than 91,480 pounds.
  • A total of $100,000 was granted during the same period of time.

Giving is Good Medicine

You don't have to donate. That's why it's so extraordinary if you do.