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
Phone: (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.

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Expanding Impact

“For the past thirty years, I have traveled to war zones and other dark places with international human rights and humanitarian organizations. During these trips, I would learn the specific needs of refugees and other devastated populations and then take that information to Direct Relief when I returned home. Direct Relief became my ‘go-to’ organization, because it always responded immediately by shipping desperately needed medical supplies. Since I joined the board, the organization has grown so much and its impact has greatly expanded, both in the United States and around the world. I am very proud to be part of Direct Relief’s life-saving work.”
– Jane Olson, Board Member
 Direct Relief; Former Chair, International Board of Human Rights Watch; Former Chair, Women’s Refugee Commission and the Landmine Survivors Network

Board of Directors

Pamela Gann, Chair, Professor of Legal Studies, Claremont McKenna; Former President, Claremont McKenna
Mark Linehan, Vice Chair, President, Wynmark Company
Jim Selbert, Secretary, Co-Founder, Warren & Selbert
Linda Gluck, Treasurer, Former Vice President of Administration, Bethlehem Corporation
Siri Marshall, Assistant Secretary, Former SVP, General Counsel, and Chief Compliance Officer, General Mills
Byron Scott, M.D., Assistant Treasurer, Adjunct Faculty, UMass Amherst School of Management & Jefferson College of Population Health
Jay McGonigle, Former Chair and CEO, Corporate Executive Board
Jane Olson, International Peace and Justice Volunteer
Mark Schwartz, Former Chair & CEO, Specialty Merchandise Group
Thomas Sturgess, Executive Chairman, Tiri Group Limited and Blue Star Print Holdings
Steve Weintraub, Certified Financial Planner, Partner in West Coast Financial, LLC
Bitsy Becton Bacon, Real Estate Broker
Lou Buglioli, Executive Chairman, Viewpointe
Charles Fenzi, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics
Evan Marwell, CEO, Education Superhighway
Harry McMahon, Senior Advisor, G100 Network; Former Executive Vice Chair, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Annalisa Pizzarello, Senior Vice President of Results Delivery, Amgen
Jamie Ruffing, Ph.D., Public Health Office, Epidemiologist, and Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air National Guard
Honorary Board, Direct Relief
Sylvia Karczag, President Emeritus
Dorothy Adams, Director Emeritus
Thomas J. Cusack, Chair Emeriti
Richard Godfrey, Chair Emeriti
Stanley C. Hatch, Chair Emeriti
Angel Iscovich, M.D., Chair Emeriti
Dorothy F. Largay, Ph.D, Chair Emeriti
Nancy Lessner, Chair Emeriti
Rita Moya, Chair Emeriti
John Romo, Chair Emeriti
Denis Sanan, Chair Emeriti
Nancy Schlosser, Chair Emeriti
Medical Advisory Council, Direct Relief
Byron Scott, M.D., Chair
Juan Carlos Alvarenga, MD
Federico Antillon, MD, PhD
Steve Arrowsmith, MD
Hon. Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA
Charity Dean, MD, MPH
Elizabeth Duarte, MD
Georges Dubuche, MD, MPH
Adrian Ebner, MD
Paul Farmer, MD, PhD
Charles Fenzi, MD
Daron Ferris, MD
Charles Filipi, MD
Lynn Fitzgibbons, MD
Susan Fleischman, MD
Grace Floutsis, MD
Henri Ford, MD, MHA, FACS, FAAP
Hon. Jaime Galvez Tan, MD, MPH
Paul Giboney, MD
William C. Gong, Pharm D, FASHP, FCSHP
Bert Green, MD
Elizabeth Green, RN
Dan Greenfield, MD
Douglas S. Gross, MD, PhD
Angel L. Iscovich, MD, FACEP
Rosie Jadidian, PharmD
Karen Lamp, MD
Michael Maguire, MD
Laurinda Marshall, RN
Sofia Merajver, MD, PhD
Carol Millage, PharmD
Charles Nicholson, MD
Raj Panjabi, MD, MPH
Jamie Ruffing, PhD
Bakht Sarwar, MD, MS
Ayesha Shaikh, MD, OB/GYN
Hambardzum Simonyan, MD
Larry Stock, MD, FACEP
Elizabeth A. Toro, MD, MPH, OB/GYN
David S. Walton, MD, MPH
Thomas Weisenburger, MD
Beatrice Wiafe Addai, MD, PhD
Board of Directors, Direct Relief Mexico, A.C.
Pamela Gann, President
Mark Linehan, Vice President
Jim Selbert, Secretary
Linda Gluck, Treasurer
Felipe Ize
Thomas Tighe
Bhupi Singh
Mark Schwartz
Cristobal Thompson