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Direct Relief Ranks as Largest International Nonprofit in California

A survey puts the Santa Barbara organization in the top 100 in the U.S. by level of private support

Direct Relief International ranks as the largest international charity in California during 2009 and the 21st largest in the United States in terms of private support received, out of 53 organizations in the international category, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual Philanthropy 400 survey released Monday.

Direct Relief ranks the 98th largest U.S. charity overall by the same measure.

This is the third consecutive year Direct Relief has been ranked among the top 100 groups on the list, which also includes private universities and foundations.

Direct Relief received $165,035,249 in private support during its fiscal year ending June 30, according to unaudited preliminary statements. Nearly $157 million of the support came in the form of medical material resources, including pharmaceutical products, supplies and medical equipment, which the organization provides to support community health efforts worldwide.

At 94.5 percent of Direct Relief’s total support, the organization also ranks 14th among the 50 groups identified from Philanthropy 400 as “Groups Whose Noncash Gifts Accounted for More Than 50 Percent of Donations.”

The international category ranked third among all cause categories in terms of total private support received, with education and social services ranking first and second. Total private support reported by the 53 charities in the international category totaled more than $13 billion, an increase of 23.8 percent over last year’s total.

Fundraising expenses accounted for only 0.4 percent of Direct Relief’s total expense, placing the organization among 51 of the Philanthropy 400 organization whose fundraising expenses accounted for less than 0.5 percent of total expenses, and among 15 of the 53 groups in the international category. Other groups reported fundraising as high as 63.1 percent of total expenses, and as high as 15.5 percent among the international category groups.

Program services benefiting domestic and international partners made up 98 percent of Direct Relief’s total expenses.

2009 International and Domestic Programs Accomplishments

» Emergency response and preparedness: Direct Relief responded to the global H1N1 flu outbreak, conflict in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, cyclones and typhoons throughout Asia, wildfires throughout Southern California and flooding in the Southeast, among other events. It also expanded its Hurricane Preparedness Program to additional areas along the U.S. Gulf Coast and Caribbean countries.

» International medical programs: Direct Relief provided more than 32 million courses of treatment in 58 countries, with an emphasis on programs focused on maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS and health system strengthening.

» Through its Direct Relief USA program, Direct Relief now supports more than 1,000 community “safety net” clinics in 50 states and is the nation’s first nonprofit recipient of Verified Accredited Wholesale Distributor certification from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

— Marjorie Wass is a publicist.

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