Policy Statement Regarding Haiti Donations

News and Press Release
Originally published
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Santa Barbara, Calif. (January 17, 2010) - Direct Relief International is among the many organizations that has witnessed a tremendously generous response to the tragedy in Haiti. With the public being encouraged by many sources to donate, we believe it important to clarify how Direct Relief will use the money we receive.

100% of funds donated for Haiti will be used exclusively for programmatic activities related to Haiti. None of the funds donated for Haiti will be used to pay for fundraising or administrative expenses, or for programmatic activities in other places. Direct Relief is able to do this because fundraising and administrative expenses are being covered by the proceeds of a generous bequest received three years ago.

General donations make it possible for Direct Relief to respond to this and other emergencies, as well as conduct our ongoing humanitarian health work around the world and in the United States. All of these activities are compelling and important to serve people who need help.

Direct Relief's is committed to honoring donors' intentions. Direct Relief will not redirect any funds that we receive for Haiti to any other purpose or area. There is no fine print or qualification - if a donation is designated by a donor for Haiti, it is treated as a restricted contribution and will be used only to assist Haiti. Consistent with our standard practices, an internal fund has been established to account for, track, and report all such donations into the Haiti fund, and expenses from it.

To ensure that we understand a donor's intention, Direct Relief's online donations page requires a donor to select among options before completing a donation. The options are "Emergency Relief - Haiti Earthquake", "Wherever Most Needed", "International Programs", "USA Programs", and "Maternal and Child Health."

Also, we have asked that donors sending in donations by mail indicate "Haiti" if they wish to designate their donation. Donations made via text donations (by texting "Give10" to 20222) are restricted contributions for Haiti. This is clearly stated on the confirming message before a text donation is completed.

In addition to financial contributions described above, an element of Direct Relief's longstanding program model also involves the provision of medical materials, including medicines, equipment, surgical supplies, nutritionals, and other in-kind medical resources. A large percentage of these materials are donated by the manufacturers, many of which we have worked with for decades.

As the sole nonprofit organization licensed as a pharmacy in all 50 U.S. states and approved by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy as a Verified Accredited Wholesale Distributor, we must comply with stringent requirements in the U.S. and internationally. We only accept material that is suitable, and only provide it when it is appropriate for the circumstances and requested by a qualified partner organization that will use them. In accounting for and describing any medical material contributions, the wholesale financial value is used.

Direct Relief's urgent priority is to assist people in Haiti. In noting these seemingly technical matters, such as internal accounting practices, the distinction between general and restricted contributions, and the valuation methodology assigned to material aid, we wish simply to inform members of the public who have shown such generosity and deserve to know how their contributions will be used.

About Direct Relief International

Founded in 1948, Direct Relief is a Santa Barbara, California-based nonprofit organization focused on improving quality of life by bringing critically needed medicines and supplies to local healthcare providers worldwide. Direct Relief has provided more than $1 billion in privately funded humanitarian aid since 2000, including more than $150 million in assistance in the United States. It has earned a fundraising efficiency score of 99 percent or better from Forbes for the past eight years, and is ranked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as California's largest international nonprofit organization based on private support. For more information, please visit www.DirectRelief.org.


Media Contact:
Jim Prosser
Manager, Media Relations
Direct Relief: (805) 964-4767