Not to brag, but MedShare is one of those operations that is so awesome, it makes the whole city look good just by proximity. Atlanta-based MedShare is the top charity providing humanitarian relief supplies in the world. And it’s perennially rated on Charity Navigator’s Top Ten list of Highly-Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions. And it’s on the Top Ten list of Slam Dunk Charities for organizational efficiency.
But it’s not what they say about you – it’s what you do that counts. And MedShare’s mission is so clearly defined and powerfully executed, you can recite it in a sentence: to recover and redistribute surplus medical supplies and equipment from the U.S. and send it to those most in need.
The brainchild of A.B. Short and Bob Freeman, two long-time Atlanta philanthropists (with no experience in health care or international aid) MedShare was born out of a desire to stop the waste and start the healing – all over the globe.
In the developing world, 10 million children under the age of 5 die each year, due to inadequate medical care. Yet in the USA, 2 million tons of medical stuff, much of it unused medical equipment and supplies, goes to waste. MedShare is the bridge between that surplus and the urgent, unmet need.
However, the real stroke of MedShare‘s genius was to develop a web-based inventory ordering system for qualified recipient hospitals – so the organization ships only what is specifically requested and desperately needed by non-profit hospitals in places as far-flung as Niger, Ecuador, Vietnam and Afghanistan.
It’s proven to be a phenomenally successful formula for getting help to the people who require it. In eleven years,MedShare has gathered more than $75 million of life-saving supplies and equipment, collected over 10,000 pieces of medical equipment, sorted more than 2,200 tons of supplies, and shipped almost 600 40-foot containers to 82 countries. Along the way, it has also saved more than 1 million cubic feet of medical waste from landfills, built a robust and devoted volunteer corps of 1,000 folks a month, and provided medical supplies for over 1,200 medical mission teams. And in 2008, the pride of Atlanta spread its wings, opening a Western Distribution Center in the San Francisco Bay Area to recover, sort and send even more life-saving supplies to those most in need.
If you’d like to join me in supporting the awesome work MedShare is doing around the world, click here. If you’d like to volunteer as well (it’s a great, fun, really well-run place to work), click here . And if you’d like to clone A.B. and Bob for further philanthropic ventures, click …oh darn, that option isn’t open yet –but stay tuned!