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) 879-4934
Vice President – Partnerships and Philanthropy: Heather Bennett


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.

I’m Ukrainian American and my parents were Ukrainian refugees who met at a displaced persons camp at the end of World War II. I just have to say a big thank you to Direct Relief for all the work that you are doing over there. I know Direct Relief does so much all over the world, but this means so much to me. I so much appreciate and admire Direct Relief and thank you for all that you do.
Ana A. Taras
Chief of Strategic Development,
Ryan Health

The Power to Save Lives

Many vaccines and other medications need to be refrigerated, something severely complicated amid war and natural disaster. Recently, Direct Relief installed almost 1,000 Tesla solar panels with both battery and generator backup at their headquarters in Santa Barbara to store insulins, vaccines, and other temperature-controlled medications, even during power outages. But the healthcare facilities that receive these lifesaving medicines also need reliable power.  

Now, with the Power for Health initiative, Direct Relief is helping these facilities install solar power arrays, complete with battery storage. They have already begun installing backup power systems in high-risk areas, including the Mendocino Health Center and Marin Community Clinic.

Direct Relief plans to continue these installations throughout California and other high-risk regions with 20 more sites in development. The average cost is $400,000 per system, which is rated to last 20 years. Supporting the Power for Health initiative can help ensure that these facilities continue to operate when the community needs them most. 

Key Supporters

Tom and Carrie Cusack
Mary Dwyer
Pamela Gann and David Hardee
Stan and Betty Hatch
Jim and Chana Jackson
Dorothy Largay and Wayne Rosing
Mark and Kim Linehan
Siri and Bob Marshall
Jay McGonigle
Harry and Jacquie McMahon
Jane and Ron Olson
John and Mary Romo
Jamie Ruffing and Rhys Williams
Denis and Jennifer Sanan
Nancy Schlosser
Mark and Lynda Schwartz
Jim and Patricia Selbert
Thomas and Heather Sturgess
Elizabeth Toro and Mark Hauser