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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Global Links

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Health, International, International Development, International Relief, Public Health, Recycling

Mission: Global Links is a medical relief and development organization dedicated to supporting health improvement initiatives in resource-poor communities and promoting environmental stewardship in the US healthcare system. Global Links’ collaborative efforts include: -Redirecting still-useful materials away from US landfills to support public health programs in targeted communities throughout the Western Hemisphere -Sharing expertise and technical knowledge with international and domestic partners -Educating partners, volunteers, and the community on issues of global health and environmental stewardship

Results: Since 1989 Global Links has provided 100 countries with materials worth more than $186 million.

Target demographics: Global Links collaborates with officials, administrators and community leaders to ensure our programs support the work of skilled healthcare professionals and help improve the quality of care for their patients. We work with hospital staff in Western Pennsylvania and beyond to develop sustainable practices for surplus collection and recovery.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Thousands of patients who have access to higher quality medical care as a result of Global Links' strategic partnerships. 50+ healthcare facilities in the US with whom we partner to achieve more environmentally responsible operations.

Geographic areas served: Global Links supports health improvement initiatives in resource-poor communities, primarily in the Western Hemisphere. Global Links collaborates with US healthcare institutions and the community to recover hundreds of tons of high-quality surplus medical materials every year that would otherwise be sent to landfills.

Programs: Global Links’ International Medical Aid Program partners with public health authorities to strengthen health systems for measurable impact in the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Our Community Partners Program supports fellow nonprofit organizations in the US that benefit from our materials and experience. Our Environmental Stewardship in Healthcare Program educates a compassionate network of healthcare professionals who work to share surplus with colleagues in resource-poor communities and provides a socially and environmentally responsible alternative to sending still-useful surplus materials to landfills.

Community Stories

307 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We visited Global Links as part of research for our entrepreneurship project at University of Pittsburgh, and received a very warm welcome, detailed introduction and gracious help from staff members such as Angela and Connor! The medical devices that they have loaned us will surely facilitate our research and our endeavor to develop a low-cost medical device targeting the low resource areas. We are planning to contact them in the near future about figuring out the specific needs for our potential customers, distribution channels and such.

More importantly, this visit is a transformational experience for us! Witnessing the volunteers working in the warehouse full of organized surplus medical supplies and talking to Angela and Connor about the organization's operation, needs and social impact, I was deeply touched by Global Links' noble cause and a hug cannot even express my most sincere gratitude towards these guys. We thank them for all their great work and devotion! I wish I could have brought the whole team to get to know Global Links onsite (the other two members had other engagements that day), since we are all enthusiastic and inspired entrepreneurs who wish to develop something useful for the greater good. We are more than happy to write reviews for the nebulizers and oxygen concentrators that they have loaned us to research on as the least we can do to pay back and start helping out.

We will use our social media presence to spread the word for Global Links. I have also signed up for volunteer. Again, thank you very much for everything, Global Links!

Wendy
Team OxyGen

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned at Global Links in 2012 and had an amazing experience! Global Links motivated me to pursue nonprofit management in Latin America. In the years after my internship, I have remained connected to the mission of Global Links through their strong social media presence. As an Executive Director of a nonprofit serving vulnerable communities in Latin America, I strongly recommend Global Links to grant-making organizations, donors, prospective employees, interns, and volunteers. You will be positively impacted by Global Links in whatever capacity you serve.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We came from Washington&Jefferson College and had an amazing experience at Global LInks on Friday. My students come from foreign countries and this volunteer opportunity shed light into some of the great things local non-profits do in our area. It also gave them a great point of reference to compare how things are done in their own countries. Thanks Global LInks!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I loved volunteering at Global Links this past Saturday! It was an amazing opportunity that I am extremely glad I took up. Not only was it wonderful to contribute and help those who are less fortunate, I was able to meet new people from different school districts with similar interests in medicine meanwhile sorting medical supplies. Although we were standing and sorting supplies for two hours, I barely noticed it was time to leave until someone mentioned it! I would love to volunteer again with Global Links or any other organizations similar to them with the medical supplies. I had an amazing time there and am looking forward to experiences similar to this in the future.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I want to thank Global Links first for the opportunity to finish my school requirements and then for welcoming us back for a few weeks beyond that, it was fun to volunteer for a good cause, and be part of the great atmosphere they have! I will be trying to resume volunteering with them if I am ever in the area again. If that can't happen, then I just want to make sure they know how enjoyable this was for me and how much I appreciate what they do!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP) Student Group cleaned and assembled wheelchairs at Global Links. It was such a great learning experience, both about Global Links and the needs of the international community. We had a great time and would love to come back soon!

2

Former staff

Rating: 5

I worked for Global Links right out of college through Student Conservation Association. I am proud to have been part of such an amazing organization - the entire staff and volunteers deeply care about their work and everything clearly supports the overall mission of improving global health. One aspect of Global Links that I appreciate most is their dedication to do no harm. It is not uncommon for global aid organizations to donate items or services that end up hurting more than helping at worst, or are ineffective at best. Global Links is not one of these organizations. Through long-term, strategic partnerships and vigilance and commitment at every level, Global Links provides genuinely needed and wanted items and assistance in a highly effective way.
In addition to Global Links' far-reaching impacts, Global Links also made a huge difference in my life. My experience working at Global Links and the guidance I received from staff played a major role in shaping my career goals and commitment to environmental health. Thank you Global Links!

4 Anil H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the Director of Christian Hospital, Mungeli. This is a 120 bedded hospital in Rural Chhattisgarh, India.
I came here in 2003 after working in Nashville, TN, USA and work for Global Ministries, the mission branch of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ, two mainline churches in the States.
The hospital has grown tremendously since we came. I got to know about the Global Links suture program through a medical student who came here about 6 years ago.
Since then, we have been grateful to them for what they have done.
Sutures are the MOST expensive commodity that is used in surgery in our hospital. We do about 2500 surgeries a year and sometimes up to 12 to 15 cases a day is not rare. The sutures that we get through Global Links are very much appreciated and a true saving to the hospital. It is a real story of using something which has been discarded to save lives. This is what we believe Global Links gives us the pleasure of doing.
The hospital is a vibrant place for patients who come from long distances specially for surgery. We people who travel 150 miles and more to get help knowing that they will get the cheapest and best help needed.
Now we have a nursing school, a low cost English Medium school and a Community College which all help to bring about change and educate the people of this region. To know more about what we do our website is: www.chmungeli.org.
We thank Global Links in what they do for us as we take on the challenge of trying to provide low cost modern medical care to our patients.
This is the ideal situation in a world today where we cannot afford the cost of the health care that is provided to us.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the Executive Director of a community based, social service organization that focuses on service disparities in underserved communities. Due to increased service demand, we expanded our office space. As is the case for most non-profit organizations, our organizational needs were greater than our resources. I was referred to Global Links by a colleague. Because of the generosity of Global Links, office furniture was donated to our agency. This was a tremendous savings for us. Resultantly we were able to redirect the dollars we would have spent on office furniture to meeting the needs of vulnerable families. In addition to the tangible supplies we obtained, the staff of Global Links were professional, patient and courteous. We are truly appreciative for this type of partnership.

Trisha M. Gadson, MS
Executive Director
Macedonia Family and Community Enrichment Center, Inc.
Pittsburgh, PA

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I work for a non profit--Genesis of Pgh. We help pregnant woman in need. Global Links has been most helpful in fulfilling our needs with donations. It was most helpful taking the tour and sitting down with Jennifer and expressing what our needs were and they were explicitly fulfilled during our recent pick up of donations. Everything we received will be put to good use in helping our clients. Global Links is such wonderful company to deal with!! Thank you Global Links!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5


Just a quick note about this great organization. It is sobering to realize when small things we take for granted to be there are missing, how they adversely affect people’s lives. Global Links takes surplus medical supplies and gets them to people in need, saving lives. Spending a few hours there every month or so makes a difference! Depending of what you do, it may be the hardest couple of volunteer hours you spend, but will make you feel better about yourself. I’d look into this great organization if you want to help and make a difference!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My company provides volunteer opportunities in the community and I have always enjoyed working at Global Links. It's a great chance to help people with what is considered waste in our world. They have a great team out there and I always feel that what we are doing makes a difference in people's lives. Thanks, Global Links! See you soon!
Trudy Berger

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The American Red Cross in Western Pennsylvania is grateful to Global Links for supplying us with Durable Medical Equipment (DME) which enables our disaster response volunteers to quickly and effectively provide for the needs of our disaster clients who have disabilities and other medical concerns. Often, when disaster strikes, Americans with disabilities find themselves evacuated from their homes having left behind the items and equipment they use to facilitate their daily activities and maintain their health. Through our partnership with Global Links we have received wheel chairs, walkers, canes, nebulizers, blood pressure cuffs and other necessary supplies to better serve our clients. Through their generous support of our mission, we have been able to stock DME in 49 Emergency Shelter Trailers throughout the Western Pennslyvania Region. Global Links staff and volunteers have been friendly, professional and generous in spirit. It has been a pleasure working together and we look forward to a long and productive partnership in the future!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a healthcare professional with over 40 years experience in the operating room, I know the importance of having the necessary supplies and equipment to save lives. Our hospital has been donating to Global links for over a decade and we are proud to support their tireless efforts to help those less fortunate than us. This organization truly makes a difference in thousands of people's lives all around the world. Thank you to all who work and volunteer for this wonderful organization. What they can't use, they recycle at their expense.
Paul Feight RN CNOR

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great Experience overall. As part of a medical student group traveling to serve in Africa, I was a bit weary of where to get necessary supplies. I heard about this Global Links through one of its volunteers and was happy to hear they would accommodate our request even though most of their volunteer efforts are focused in the Americas.

I communicated with a kind representative. Although the process took a little longer than expected, I was more than pleased with the staff's understanding and execution of the request. The supplies were satisfactory.

Beth102

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I started volunteering this year at Global Links, and we are so impressed with this operation. It's well run, and the staff is great. They make use of everything that is donated.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am both a volunteer and donor to this organization. As a volunteer coordinator for my congregation, Global Links has accommodated our request for bringing children in to learn about Global Links work but also to contribute to making a difference all the way to bringing in my adult team. We are a small congregation and have found that Global Links has also been a good fit for our on-going donations. We have women who sew and those who are on the look out for even 1 pr. of crutches to unused medical home health supplies. We are learning to be good stewards and reach around the globe to our brothers and sisters. Whether it is inquiring or arranging for a donation to scheduling a volunteer activity, they are always courteous and a real joy to connect with.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I volunteered a few times at Global Links before through the Pittsburgh East Rotary Club and really enjoyed my time helping them out. However, I never realized the impact of their services until starting my new job at the FOCUS Pittsburgh Free Health Center. From the moment that the doctors tat my organization connected me to Global Links for our equipment needs, I knew it would be a wonderful partnership.

They invited me over to their new facilities so I could really get a grasp on their wonderful work and the help they provide to local and international partners. They opened their doors to some of my students as well, so they could see where and who we got all of our equipment from for our clinic. Global Links took all of our requests and fulfilled our equipment needs quickly and provided us with everything we needed. Without them, our clinic would not be functioning and open! They are a wonderful organization!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can't say enough about Global Links. This organization not only saves lives but also the environment while doing so. They carefully assess the medical needs of people in developing or disadvantaged countries or disaster areas and then work closely with local hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities to gather excess medical supplies that would otherwise end up in our landfill. Through the help of volunteers like me, they sort, separate, pack, and ship the appropriate materials where they are needed the most, such as small clinics or areas hit by natural disasters.

One of the things I love the most about Global Links is that they post pictures, videos and newsletters that show the people we help using the materials we've sent them. The things we take for granted here, such as an IV pole or crutches, can mean the difference between disability or self-sufficiency, life or death. We can see the benefit of our work and we know that every little thing we do and item we send is truly making a positive impact on people.

In my eyes, there is no more worthy cause or feeling of gratification than that of volunteering with this amazing organization!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am in Boston for second time in my professional career.

I am at the Children Hospital Boston receiving training with in the department of pediatric neurosurgery.

I live in a developing country also it isn’t easy for me to travel over here. I am a Cuban physician.

Thanks to the wonderful work of Global Links and their help to developing countries everything is possible and when I travel back my patients will receive a medical care of the first level, Global links became dream true.

Dr. Julio S Brossard Alejo.
Head and Principal Professor
Neurosurgery
Hospital Infantil Sur
Santiago de Cuba

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The BIG FIX Uganda is an organization which has been fortunate to receive help from Global Links. Working in one of the most impoverished areas in the world, we provide free veterinary services (including spay/neuter) and animal welfare education in Northern Uganda's remote villages. It might be difficult to believe that an expired suture can make so much difference but to us, that one suture is the means to allow us to sterilize 3 male dogs or to stitch up a serious wound or to remove an infected eye. Sutures are difficult and costly to obtain in Uganda and if we did not receive suture donations from Global Links, we would have great difficulty serving the hundreds of animals we help every month. We are extraordinarily grateful to Global Links for their kindness, responsiveness to our communications and for working with us as valued partners as we seek to relieve the suffering of animals in Uganda.

Donor

Rating: 5

When my wife passed away last year, I looked for a non-profit that could put to good use the medical equipment and supplies that we had acquired for her care. Global Links turned out to be perfect for this. I am very impressed by their mission and it meant a lot to me that they were able to reuse this equipment.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering at Global Links for almost ten years, after going to volunteer with a group of friends. I now go twice a week, and help sort donated supplies and organize and pack outgoing boxes of supplies. It is very rewarding because you know you are both helping people in the developing world--and in a real way, with deliveries to actual small hospitals visited by Global Links staff. Nothing sits on a dock where it is stolen. Also, you are helping to keep medical supplies out of Pittsburgh landfills, where all these supplies were going to end up until Global Links founder Kathleen Hower thought of this ingenious idea. I have met wonderful people volunteering there, and have formed friendships with other volunteers who go when I do and staff.

Previous Stories
12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Global Links is the most successful nonprofit organization around. With a small staff and very low overhead, they recycle medical supplies from hospitals (which would have thrown these supplies out) and send them to specific partner hospitals (mostly in Latin America) which are desperate for basic medical equipment, including beds and sheets! Directed by talented staff members, volunteers do all the sorting and repacking of supplies for shipment, each day and many evenings.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering at Global Links for a while now, and I can't believe the enormous amount of medical supplies Global Links processes.

It's my very favorite place to volunteer: the joyfulness of the people who work there, the gratitude and sweetness of everyone who works there, the efficient way things are organized, and fun that it all turns out to be.

Amazing!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful homegrown nonprofit which combines hands-on service work with important donations of medical supplies to health programs in developing countries

Michele V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Global Links is AWESOME!!!! They worked very closely with us in trying to get a dental clinic set up and stocked in Honduras. They even had a local dentist come in and help us decide what we needed since we are medical, not dental. They are a wonderful source of supplies and assistance for our medical work in Honduras!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I initially volunteered with Global Links for its healthcare efforts in developing countries. Since then I have found a whole other side to its mission; i.e. environmental stewardship/sustainability. I have also discovered that the staff are essentially committed to this mission (Sharing Surplus/Saving Lives) and live it. The result? A very well run organization that keeps trying to make itself better (less wasteful, more efficient, more collaborative to name just a few traits). Having spent the better part of my 40 year career in either non-profits or government, I recognize the extreme difficulty of paying attention to and developing such things as governance (structure, risk-management, legality, etc) while also pursing a mission. Global Links does this extremely well from what I can see. Example: Over the last year or so, they have consolidated three facilities into one new location -- with their own staff and volunteers -- while also maintaining the work of the organization. They have their values , as well as their heads and hearts and efforts, in the right place.

Allisandra S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was required to do volunteer hours after an alternative spring break trip with my university. We had initially visited global links for educational purposes, but then I decided I wanted to volunteer there as well. I had a fantastic experience learning about the amazing projects Global Links did across the world and talking with other volunteers. I felt so comfortable around all the volunteers and enjoyed talking and working together. I recommend this to all college students who need volunteer hours because it doesn't even feel like work.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Global links has greatly helped out my organization for two years. Each year we go on a medical mission trip to Honduras and the donations by Global links have been instrumental in making our brigade a success. All the staff I worked with were incredibly motivated and caring.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Global links is a great non-profit! All of the staff really care about what they're doing and making a difference to the hospitals and communities they work with. As a regular volunteer, I really feel like I'm making a difference too!

NCmountainmimi

Donor

Rating: 5

Before I retired from the University of Pittsburgh twelve years ago, I helped recruited staff members to join a small group of volunteers on a regular basis to sort medicals supplies. I moved to NC and have kept in touch via newsletters and emails and watched the growth of this remarkable organization. I regularly make a contribution whenever I can to support their continued success. It is amazing how other states have asked for their assistance and advice in setting up such an organization. I have fond memories of my physical support while living in Pittsburgh. L. Butera

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a University of Pittsburgh retiree(25 yrs. in international depts.) now residing in NC and make a donation when I can afford it. When I lived in Pittsburgh, I regularly volunteered to sort medical supplies with a group organized by Pitt. My experience with global links has always been a positive one and I am happy to see that the organization keeps growing and reaching out to meet as manyinternational clinics and hospitals with the medical supplies that are desperately needed. Even though I can't be active as a volunteer, global links keeps me informed of their current needs and progress. I can't think of an originally grass roots Pgh. group that deserves recognition more. Good luck to future successes

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Donor

Rating: 5

Global Links is an incredible non-profit. The staff arduously works to strategically send medical supplies directly to medical facilities in Latin America. Their model is ecologically responsible because they work to ensure that useful supplies are not wasted and ensure that they only send supplies that the Latin American medical professionals request.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Every year for the past 30 years I have taken a group of undergraduate students from Notre Dame of Maryland University to learn about socio-economic development and to volunteer their services in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala. This year, I heard about Global Links and their ability to supply medicines and medical equipment to people on medical and other missions in the developing world. I contacted them, provided them with information about the 65 bed clinic in San Lucas, which is a part of an integral development project started by Father Greg Schaeffer from the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnessota, and within weeks I had the supplies. I really appreciated the immediate response and the lack of bureaucracy of Global Links. Dr. Tum, the cakchiquel doctor, who was trained in Minnessota, couldn't believe that we, as non-medical volunteers had brought sutures, syringes, needles, gloves to his clinic. Payment for services and medications at the San Lucas Clinic is based on need. Since the average income of patients is between $1,000 and $2,000 a year, most services are provided free of charge. It was particularly significant for our group to have brought the medical donations this year, as Father Greg, the creator of the project, had died only a few months earlier.

Board Member

Rating: 5

In March 2012 I co-led a group of 25 volunteers to the Dominican Republic. In addition to medical clinics we conducted construction projects, children's programs, evangelism and (for the first time) dental services! Every time I've traveled abroad for mission work Global Links has miraculously met our requests for supplies. The year prior we had a request for an X-ray light box and sure enough they found one for us to take!! This past year Global Links provided us nebulizers & supplies. Because of the poor living condition we frequently run into people with breathing problems. Yearly we provide a medical clinic for a local prison. The prisoners sleep on dirt or cement floor with no blankets or mattresses unless provided by family. Many of them have breathing problems that are worsened by their living conditions. Multiple families have benefited this year from the breathing treatments we were able to provide. One prisoner who has chronic asthma received much relief when we showed up with our nebulizer. Thanks to Global Links ongoing support we were able to leave 2 nebulizers with supplies at the prison for use as needed by the inmates. This past year we were able to provide medical services to over 1000 men, women and children over 4 clinic days. Thanks again to our friends from Global Links!! Steel City Mission Group

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I recently traveled to Honduras with a group of 20 other medical personnel to provide care in a rural village. We left with numerous supplies from Global Links including gloves, gauze, lancets to name a few. Global Links was very willing to provide everything we had requested for our trip and gathered our supplies so quickly. We were able to use these supplies as part of our Child Health Initiative to improve preventive care with the children in San Jose El Negrito and surrounding areas. We make these trips twice annually and have enough remaining supplies to help us provide care for our next visit. I really enjoyed working with Global Links as everyone was so friendly and accommodating and hope we can work together for future trips.