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Tito’s Spotlight: Direct Relief

Tito's Handmade Vodka is proud to work with Direct Relief to help improve the health and lives of those in poverty or in critical situations across the globe. The nonprofit is an international humanitarian aid organization that focuses on healthcare in vulnerable communities, as well as responding to devastating natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey and the California Wildfires that struck in 2017.

Tito's supports Direct Relief and our four other nonprofits by donating 100 percent of the net proceeds from our web store. Our friendship with Direct Relief extends further than our merch proceeds, as we have supported communities together in Puerto Rico, California, and more across the globe.

To help our Tito's friends and family learn more about Direct Relief, we asked the nonprofit's Director of Communications, Tony Morain, and our Director of Strategic Philanthropy, Lisa Huddleson, a few important questions.

Direct Relief Responds to Hurricane Harvey

Volunteers with Direct Relief deliver aid packages to communities after Hurricane Harvey devastatingly swept through the Gulf Coast on Aug. 25, 2017.

Direct Relief
What is Direct Relief’s mission?

Tony Morain: "Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 90 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies."

How was Direct Relief founded?

TM: "Direct Relief was founded in 1948 by an Estonian immigrant, William Zimdin, who had amassed significant wealth during prewar Europe. He established the William Zimdin Foundation (which would later become Direct Relief) and began sending thousands of relief parcels containing food, clothing, and medicines to relatives, friends, and former employees who were rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of World War II."

What events/disasters has Direct Relief supported in recent years?

TM: "Direct Relief has responded to a number of recent natural disasters throughout the world, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, earthquakes in Mexico, and wildfires and deadly mudslides in California. The organization has been among the world’s largest medical suppliers to West Africa in response to the Ebola epidemic, to the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, and to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake."

What does Direct Relief do for the community?

TM: "Since the organization’s founding, Direct Relief has worked to help people who face enormous hardships in recovering from natural disasters and improving the quality of their lives. During such a disaster or emergency situation, Direct Relief supports communities by working directly with local healthcare partners that are best able to assess the situation, respond to immediate needs, and prepare for long-term recovery. This tradition of direct and targeted community assistance, provided in a manner that respects and involves the people served, has been a hallmark of the organization since the beginning."

What does Direct Relief strive to accomplish?

TM: "Health has intrinsic value for every person, but it is also essential for people to learn, work, and live productive lives. Direct Relief’s medical assistance programs aim to equip health professionals working in resource-poor communities with the tools they need to meet the challenges of diagnosing, treating, and caring for people without regard to politics, religion, gender, race, or ability to pay."

How does Tito's support Direct Relief?

Lisa Huddleson: "We launched a partnership with Direct Relief to support several efforts; contributing $25,000 to send medical supplies and resources to aid our friends in Puerto Rico and running a matching campaign for California Wildfire Relief. We then partnered with them during the California mudslides.

For #GivingTuesday, we supported Direct Relief's mission to improve the lives and health of people affected by emergencies. For every bottle of Tito’s Handmade Vodka sold on Drizly between November 28th and December 2nd, we donated $1 to Direct Relief, up to $10,000. All of the funds went directly toward supporting emergency response efforts."

Direct Relief Responds to Northern California Wildfires

Direct Relief dispatched volunteers and medical assistance during the California Wildfires in December 2017.

Direct Relief
Why did Tito's team up with Direct Relief?

LH: "Every day, Direct Relief prepares the most vulnerable communities worldwide for more frequent, more destructive emergencies, and Direct Relief responds fast, effectively, and efficiently when disaster strikes to make sure medical resources are where they need to be to save lives.

Direct Relief’s work earns wide recognition from independent charity evaluators, including a 100 percent fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes and inclusion in Fast Company’s list of “the world’s most innovative nonprofits.”

The reason I love working with them is 100 percent of their administration costs are underwritten by an anonymous donor, so all of your donations go straight toward program."

You can learn more about Direct Relief and the work they're doing at their website, and across social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Direct Relief Volunteers Respond to Montecito Mudslides

Direct Relief cleans up debris left behind after a mudslide tore through a neighborhood in Montecito, California on Jan. 9, 2018.

Zack Warburg
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