Thomas Tighe: September 17, 2018




Thomas Tighe

President and CEO of Direct Relief

After churning a devastating path across the Caribbean, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico almost a year ago. The storm left many without power for months, including at critical health centers and hospitals. As a result, an estimated 1,400 lives were lost and thousands more are still recovering.

The nonprofit humanitarian aid organization Direct Relief, which had been working in Puerto Rico for nearly a decade, immediately began responding to needs on the island—focusing relief efforts on the nonprofit health facilities that serve people in low-income areas.

Over the past year, Direct Relief has been the largest non-governmental donor of charitable medical resources to Puerto Rico, furnishing more than 358 tons of urgently needed medical items valued at more than $67.8 million to every nonprofit health center on the island, as well as government-run and private hospitals.  The organization also has installed solar energy and battery backup at __ facilities, after Hurricane Maria left them without power for weeks or months. To better preparing Puerto Rico to withstand future hurricanes and disasters, Direct Relief has also funded emergency telecommunications, an island-wide vaccination campaign, mobile health services, and community water projects for areas not connected to the aqueduct system.


On Monday, September 17, Direct Relief’s Ivonne Rodriguez or President & CEO, Thomas Tighe will be available to discuss their experiences after Hurricane Maria: what happened, how they prepared, how Direct Relief took part in the response, and what Puerto Rico is doing now to better prepare for the future.



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MORE ABOUT THOMAS TIGHE (Available for Interviews in English)

Thomas Tighe has served as President and CEO of Direct Relief, a nonprofit humanitarian medical organization, since October 2000. During Tighe’s tenure, Direct Relief has been named among the world’s most innovative nonprofits by Fast Company, has been rated by Forbes as being 99 percent efficient or better in fundraising since 2001, won the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation, the CECP Director’s Award, the Esri President’s Award for GIS innovation, the Office of the Surgeon General’s National Leadership and Partnership Award, and become the first U.S. nonprofit to obtain VAWD accreditation and a license to distribute Rx medications in all 50 U.S. states. From 1995 to 2000, Tighe served as Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer of the Peace Corps, overseeing day-to-day operations of the agency’s worldwide programs and a resurgent growth of the agency to a 27-year high. A 1982 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Tighe received a J.D. in 1985 from the University of California, Hastings College of Law and an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in May 2003. He was selected for the Aspen Institute’s 2003 class of Henry Crown Fellows, is on the editorial advisory board for Pacific Standard Magazine, and in 2017 was named “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young.

Produced for: Direct Relief (a nonprofit)

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