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Resilient Power | Power for Health

Issues & Solutions

Without power, critical health services can’t be provided – lifesaving medicines go bad, electronic health records can’t be accessed, essential medical equipment can’t be powered, and vital community health facilities serving the most vulnerable shut down.

Power for Health

Power outages have become commonplace throughout the US, with more frequent and stronger storms, tornadoes, and other disasters.

From medications that require refrigeration to medical equipment that won’t function without electricity, a lack of reliable power has direct health consequences, especially for people in low-income and vulnerable communities.

Direct Relief’s initiative – Power for Health – addresses these inequities by providing reliable power to nonprofit community clinics and health centers serving the poorest communities throughout the United States.

power: a prerequisite for health

Across the United States, Federally Qualified Community Health Centers exist in medically underserved areas and provide quality healthcare services to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

These sites not only serve as community hubs and healthcare providers daily, but they become first responder sites after a disaster and, therefore, must always remain powered.

While the frequency and length of power failures have been at their highest levels since reliability tracking began, health centers, unlike hospitals, are not required to have three days of backup power or generation capacity.

These outages not only shut down health services and have dire effects on health, but they also directly lead to the loss of financial resources, resulting from spoiled medication and lost patient revenues.

Other devastating outages are now commonplace throughout the US following the ever-increasing number of severe storms, tornadoes, and other disasters.

The “Power for Health” Initiative

Direct Relief launched The Power for Health initiative to help nonprofit community health centers and charitable clinics in the US maintain power and remain operational through increasingly common power outages resulting from disasters and electrical grid failures.

By equipping health centers and clinics with clean, cost-effective, and reliable forms of power generation and storage, the program aims to achieve the following:

  • Prevent the loss of life due to health center closures during power outages.
  • Enable quality and equitable healthcare services for the medically underserved, those living in communities with unreliable power, and those communities that suffer the worst impacts of disasters.
  • Avoid financial losses to health centers from closures and spoiled medications and vaccines.

As of May 2022, Direct Relief, through the Power for Health initiative, has granted a total of $7.6 million in charitable funds across 22 different projects.

Of these, 16 are located in Puerto Rico – an island devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017 and has since experienced multiple power grid failures. Six projects are located in California, where wildfires and planned power outages have plagued the state.

Direct Relief is assessing energy resilience projects throughout several states prone to more frequent and higher-intensity disasters, including California, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Florida.

Investing in Power

Direct Relief has allocated an initial $10 million to launch the Power for Health initiative. Early estimates indicate that the range per organization is between $100,000 and $1,000,000, with an average of $400,000. According to this calculation, approximately 25 sites can be fully equipped within the current budget.

More than 14,000 clinics and health centers across the US require reliable power to maintain the health of vulnerable people in their communities. Direct Relief will strive to equip at least ten percent (10%) of these facilities with reliable power, which would attain significant resiliency and improve quality health care for people who are the most vulnerable and need support after disasters. This initial aim would also require an investment of $500 million.

partnership spotlight

Direct Relief is seeking philanthropic partners to join the Power for Health initiative to collectively provide reliable power to more healthcare facilities in the US, leading to improved and more equitable health for individuals and families who are struggling every day.

Active Projects

Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico

Direct Relief is equipping Puerto Rico’s health centers, clinics and community facilities with solar and battery storage to better withstand future emergencies.



In response to fire-induced power outages, Direct Relief deploys power units and generators and works with health centers and clinics across California on several large-scale solar and battery installations.

tesla solar units Microgrid

Direct Relief HQ

To ensure Direct Relief never loses power, it engaged Tesla to build a microgrid that keeps the organization running and its cold-chain medicine protected even if it loses grid power.

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