Direct Relief International, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based humanitarian organization that provides essential medicines, health supplies and equipment to improve the health of people affected by poverty, disaster and civil unrest, is the recipient of the $100,000 first-place prize—an award made possible in large part through the generosity of The Coca-Cola Foundation.
The award recognizes, in particular, Direct Relief’s aggressive adaptation of information technology to better meet its mission. Specifically, through ongoing work with its network of healthcare providers worldwide, Direct Relief has built a commercial-grade IT system that has enabled a more precise, more targeted, more efficient and more expansive flow of donated medical goods to nonprofit healthcare facilities in more than 70 countries and across the United States. This innovation has resulted in an array of specific features for improving inventory management, warehousing, ordering and distributing goods.
[EXPAND More]This year’s second-place winner (to receive $7,500) is Beyond Shelter, a Los Angeles-based organization that has made strides in shifting the fundamental response to family homelessness from offering temporary shelter and services to re-housing homeless families as quickly as possible, and then providing them with a range of support services in permanent housing. Beyond Shelter’s pioneering Housing First program has successfully assisted more than 5,000 homeless families in Los Angeles County since its inception in the late 1980s.
The third-place winner (to receive $5,000) is the Mona Foundation, a Kirkland, Wash.-based organization. One of its adopted projects, Digital Study Hall, is improving education for some 2,000 poor children at 21 schools across India. The program offers a number of innovative services, including a user-generated video-sharing system that allows village schools access to high-quality, interactive lessons on a variety of subjects. Students who participate in the program have shown a dramatic increase in their test scores and participation in class activities.[/EXPAND]