Direct_Relief46 karma2021-12-21 20:03:02 UTC
Hi, fangirl_blink, Thanks so much for your comment and question. NGOs have many if not all of the same underlying needs to solve problems that companies have and for which software is often a solution. One of the dilemmas that exist in the world, it seems, is that we as a species are getting better and better at solving problems, but only if a commerical imperative exists. What Direct Relief does -- providing free medications, medical supplies, financial support, and generating information about the effects of emergencies and risk -- don't make any business sense. Businesses don't generally go looking for who can't or will be never be able to buy their goods and services. But, there are a lot of things in life that don't make good business sense, but make good human sense. So, yeah, we need you!
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Direct_Relief44 karma2021-12-21 19:25:45 UTC
Hi, Josehphus12. Great question. Direct Relief only provides specifically requested materials to people and rationalizations that are qualified and licensed in the country where the material is provided. Because of the accreditation that Direct Relief has and must maintain related to the provision of Rx medications, the recordkeeping and transactional scrutiny is very high -- and properly so. This gets down to the specific lot and batch numbers of every drug, which are tracked and traced (and will be known if they show up anywhere they shouldn't.) Certain items, such as biologic therapies can be quite expensive and also require specialized handling (e.g. data loggers in every package to ensure the product stays within the required temperature ranges.) Unlike consumer products, which are easily saleable and converted to cash, many of these products, although expensive, are not not easily saleable and really only have value if used properly. Those factors, and the fact every shipment is basically a custom order to a qualified, approved partner organization, are good safeguards. But, your concerns are legitimate and we share them, and take every precaution to ensure integrity of the charitable delivery. If you're interested, there's a lot of detail on Direct Relief's website about the accreditation the organization has, and what is required. Thanks!
Direct_Relief43 karma2021-12-21 20:11:15 UTC
Hi, the_tza. My compensation is published in several places, and the number (including benefits) is $507,533. Direct Relief has a compensation policy and procedures that apply to every position within the organization and is described in detail here: https://www.directrelief.org/about/finance/compensation/
Direct Relief is in the fortunate position of being able to cover all fundraising expenses, including staff salaries of fundraising staff, and also compensation for the position I occupy from a separate foundation that was established with a very generous bequest from a longtime donor in 2007. That is why Direct Relief does not use any donor contributions to pay the organization's fundraising expenses or CEO compensation.
Direct_Relief21 karma2021-12-21 19:01:00 UTC
Hi, thanks for your question. Direct Relief has been helping deliver Covid vaccines – about 10 million doses so far, mainly to Mexico and Central and South America. Direct Relief also has been involved in Covid vaccination efforts in the US, more heavily in Puerto Rico than elsewhere because we were well set up to do that on the island. But, Direct Relief does get involved in various public health campaigns involving other vaccines, principally as a logistics partner since that is one of our core functions.
Before Covid, we were aware of the structural impediments to the provision of vaccines and other temperature sensitive medications. Among other things, Direct Relief serves as the logistics backbone and distributor of charitable insulin in the Life for a Child Program, which provides insulin for children and young adults with Type 1 diabetes on an ongoing basis in 40+ countries. That experience has shown that even the availability of free medications doesn’t ensure that they’ll actually serve their intended purpose and get to patients who need them because of the practical limited bandwith of cold storage, cold transport within countries. Because at the moment, Covid vaccines are owned exclusively by governments, Direct Relief is working to boost the cold storage capacity in places that have chronic challenges by providing such items as ultra low temperature freezers and backup power sources, as well as financial resources as needed.
So far, our experience with anti-vax attitudes is similar to yours. We are asked frequently for assistance in obtaining vaccines by countries that do not have enough. In the US, the issue is not the absence of vaccine – the supply is available and it’s free for everyone. In other places, the supply is just not there, yet.
Thanks again for your question(s)!
Direct_Relief16 karma2021-12-21 19:08:45 UTC
Hi, Bigmac_Bob! When it comes to charities and giving, the most important thing is something that no one other than you can decide -- what matters most to you. that's a very personal decision, and there are many terrific organizations deeply devoted to causes of all types. But, once you decide what that topic or cause matters to you, it's always worth doing your homework, checking out both what the organization says about itself (on its website) and what independent charity-rating groups say about the org. Direct Relief tries to put a LOT of detail out about our activities and expenditures in a very literal way and explain in detail what donors' funds are used for. But, there are many wonderful organizations out there, and I don't think you have to look too far!
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