Direct Relief’s Thomas Tighe Named to The NonProfit Times’ 2022 Power & Influence Top 50

By Giving List Staff   |   August 15, 2022

The NonProfit Times has named Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe to its 2022 Power & Influence Top 50 list, the second year in a row Tighe has been included. 

The list consists of leaders of many of the United States’ largest and most impactful non-profit organizations and foundations, from Chef José Andrés of World Central Kitchen to Philanthropist and Author Mackenzie Scott.

NPT referred to Tighe as “the epitome of Malcolm Gladwell’s connector from Tipping Point,” saying Tighe “makes everyone feel as if their work is game-changing, which involves Direct Relief in everything from solar hubs to healthcare to equity around the world.”

While Direct Relief has historically been focused primarily on securing and distributing donations of medicine and medical supplies, it has increasingly become a recipient of large financial grants, in turn distributing those grants to local non-profit healthcare providers serving under-resourced communities around the world. NPT’s citation highlighted this work, noting that Tighe is “putting $75 million from Mackenzie Scott into partnering, always spotlighting the network of nonprofits that are making change.”

“The honorees have distinguished themselves as initiators, innovators and leaders who can redirect and sometimes restrict vital nonprofits and their operations,” NPT said in introducing the list.

View the full 2022 list here.


Direct Relief

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(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.

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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