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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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.

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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. 

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