Health Equity

Issues & Solutions

Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity was created to increase access to health care and improve health outcomes for marginalized communities. The Fund for Health Equity works by providing financial support to on-the-ground organizations working in focused ways to reduce health disparities. These include providing healthy food to patients, offering street medicine to people experiencing homelessness, doing outreach in rural minority communities, training diverse new members of the health care workforce, and much more.

In Brief

Through the Fund for Health Equity, Direct Relief is funding on-the-ground organizations fighting against health inequities.


These groups have deep ties in the communities they serve and are working to diversify the health care workforce, eliminate health disparities, and employ technology to make health care more accessible and reliable to their patients.


Factors such as education, employment, income, family social support, community safety, air, water quality, housing, transit, and behaviors all contribute to poor health outcomes and will be addressed by groups receiving funding.

Addressing Inequities in Health

Health care is a human right. But in the U.S., access to health care is far from equal.

Marginalized communities have long experienced worse health outcomes and are less likely to receive the medical care they need. That’s true of people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, people experiencing homelessness, and others as well.

These striking injustices are one of the modern-day effects of a long history of discriminatory practices, policies, and traditions.

Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity is intended to help right these wrongs by improving health outcomes for members of marginalized communities.

Access to health care is just a single aspect of a person’s health. Race and ethnicity, housing situation, employment status, living environment, and spoken language, among other interrelated factors, will all play significant roles in an individual’s health outcomes.

The Fund for Health Equity is a new initiative that provides financial support to community health centers, free and charitable clinics, community-based organizations, and educational institutions fighting against the inequities that further health disparities.

They do this by reducing the barriers – from housing insecurity to a lack of access to basic, healthy food – that keep people unhealthy and prevent them from accessing medical care. By reaching out to vulnerable communities. By recruiting diverse healthcare workers from the communities they serve and who have the potential to improve outcomes for their patients. By holding telehealth sessions, mobile clinics, or whatever else is needed to ensure their patients see a medical provider or get a vaccine.

The Fund for Health Equity supports organizations making measurable progress in one of the following areas:

  • Diversifying the health care workforce. Direct Relief’s goal is to support people from all backgrounds as they undergo the certification and training to become nurses, community health workers, health navigators, and other essential health care workers and make these career paths more accessible to diverse groups of people.
  • Eliminating health disparities. A wide range of factors, from the living environment to financial situation, will play a role in a person’s health outcomes. Direct Relief funds organizations working to reduce these disparities while improving population health, preventing disease, and responding to behavioral health and substance abuse challenges.
  • Supporting digital health. Many organizations use new technology – including telehealth platforms, mobile medical units, and renewable energy – to expand access and deliver better patient care. Direct Relief’s aim is to support them in these innovative efforts, helping them respond to the needs of their communities.

Health Equity Fund

Donations to the Health Equity Fund will support meaningful change to increase access to healthcare for people throughout the U.S., regardless of race, ethnicity, location, or income.