Direct Relief Steps Up Response in Face of COVID-19 Surge

By Giving List Staff   |   January 12, 2021
Direct Relief staff prepare emergency shipments for delivery to US health centers. Photo: Tony Morain/Direct Relief

As the COVID crisis has intensified across the globe in recent weeks, Santa Barbara-based humanitarian agency Direct Relief has accelerated its live saving efforts.

Since the start of December, the organization has made 2,623 shipments totaling 458,815 lbs. (229 tons) of medical material aid valued at $199.5 million to 1,010 partner organizations in 48 U.S. states and territories and 43 countries.

The material aid shipments provided upon request to health organizations include both medical supplies and essential medications for patients without the means to pay, as well as more than 12 million units of personal protective gear needed for in-person medical visits and care of COVID patients.

Direct Relief has also issued $5.2 million in grants in recent weeks. Among the grants provided, $1 million was granted to the Navajo Nation and health agencies providing services to Navajo people, who have experienced disproportionate loss of life from the pandemic.

Other grants of $250,000 each were provided to the Massachusetts and Mississippi associations of community health centers, whose member organizations serve people hit disproportionally hard by the pandemic – over 90% live in or near poverty, and more than 63% of whom are members of racial or ethnic minority groups.

For more information on Direct Relief’s response, please visit: 


Direct Relief

Donate now!
(805) 879-4932Vice President, Partnerships and Philanthropy: Dean Axelrod


Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay.

Begin to Build a Relationship

We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s director of development and/or Executive Director.

Direct Relief’s generous support of victims of disasters and emergencies, let alone their support of first responders, is unmatched by any other organization. With the establishment of their Search and Rescue fund, we are now able to maintain and enhance our capabilities as a nonprofit, all-volunteer professional first responder team, ensuring the safety and well-being of the communities we live in, and serve for years to come.
Nelson Trichler
Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue

Providing Disaster and Humanitarian Relief Around the Globe

Direct Relief’s capacity and capabilities – including providing more than $5.5 million in local support, $77 million in California since 2020 – dwarfs most other such humanitarian aid organizations. But there are limits largely defined by its financial capacity.  

“Direct Relief is quite large relative to other organizations, but relative to the need that we’re trying to fulfill, what we’re doing is a drop in the bucket,” Tony Morain, Direct Relief’s VP of Communication, says. “We always wish that we could be doing more.” 

Adds Dean Axelrod, VP of Partnerships in Philanthropy: “The dream is to never have to say no.”

Key Supporters

Emma Carrasco
Adam Cooper
Mary M. Dwyer
Pamela Gann and David Hardee
Stayce D. Harris
Mark and Kim Linehan
Siri and Bob Marshall
Jay McGonigle
Harry and Jacquie McMahon
Annalisa Pizzarello
and Robert Conway
Marla Salmon
Mark and Lynda Schwartz
Byron and Debbie Scott
Jim and Patricia Selbert
Laurie Siegel
Thomas and Heather Sturgess
Elizabeth A. Toro and Mark Hauser