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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

161 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

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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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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was in awe at the amount of medical surplus that we discard in America, that could still be used. I was happy to hear that this charity helps to redistribute these medical supplies to under-serviced communities, so that they do not get dumped in landfills. I really enjoyed learning about all the amazing work this organization has done, and it was an honor to be able to help sort medical supplies that might one day save someone's life! And on top of that, we had a lot of fun too!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I became involved with Global Links when I moved to Pittsburgh about a year ago. I have been extremely pleased with volunteering at this organization! I have had great experiences with all of the staff and fellow volunteers. I love how you can actually see the difference being made each shift. Various items are sorted and packed and by the time you leave you've finished tons of boxes that are all set, just waiting to be shipped to hospitals in need. I also really appreciate their scheduling flexibility! My schedule is constantly changing, never the same each week. When I moved here there were other places I had looked into that required a very set schedule. Global Links has been amazing to accommodate me, which I was very happy with as I really enjoy helping out. It was also great to work with the staff to help set up donations through the hospital I work at. I'm excited that now my unit can help contribute our unused supplies as well!

Michelle65

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first got involved with Global Links as a member of a graduate student group that wanted to do something for the local community. Global Links has been able to accommodate our busy schedules, staying open late so that we can still volunteer and help their cause. They make every effort to reduce waste and save energy, and have really pushed us to be aware of excess of resources in our community. There is a lot of "waste" in medical research that can be put to a better cause, so they have made us students much more conscientious in our work life as well.

Deborah25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is an exceptional example of reaching out to those who have so little in material things but so much appreciation to offer. The needs of undeveloped nations is great and Global Links puts us in contact with those who face unbelievable hardships in terms of their health and their every day struggles to survive. What our hospitals call trash becomes a lifeline to those in need.

Patricia29

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The people at Global Links are very thoughtful. Before becoming a volunteer, they give a nice tour of the place and explain their "business." Only good things to say about them!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered and also am a consuder of the medical equipment sent to a project overseas that I work with in Central America. GL has people in the field and an approach that is not about influence or simply contacts in country. They aim for sustainable support to entities that are working hard in that direction. Bridging the gap between public/governmental agencies and NGO's, they aim to strengthen health systems. Generally, I think they do just that. All the while, we are saving waste and using appropriate equipment until it's time is done.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Global Links is a wonderful non-profit organization that is very conscious of the environment. Nothing goes to waste there including the medical supplies that are packed for the third world countries. I have been volunteering there for several years and it is such a wonderful, successful, and extremely well-organized organization. I give it a 5 star recommendation. I come every two months on a Sat. with my church group and the second Tuesday of every month with friends. Everyone who volunteers here is so impressed with the mission of this group. It is amazing how much we accomplish when we are there.

Barbara57

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Global Links through my son and a friend ( Global Links employee) who had served together in the Peace Corps in El Salvador. As a newly retired nurse/hospital administrator, they wanted me to serve in the Peace Corps, but I was not ready yet to venture that far in focus or foreign lands! Through Global Links, I was able to get involved in redirecting unused, but still good resources to improve the quality of healthcare in other countries, all while reducing waste in my own country, values/goals important to me. I have now become regularly involved in case packing supplies, recruiting new volunteers on college campuses and encouraging the nurses in home care organizations to donate unused supplies. The appreciation they consistently demonstrate for their volunteers is exceptional and the effort to redirect, repurpose or reuse every donated item that comes their way is phenomenal. Global Links is my "commitment to caring" in retirement and I love it and the people I have met since joining this effort!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I think Global Links is a wonderful place. The work they do is amazing. Their warehouse is full of perfectly good hospital equipment which would end up in a landfill somewhere if global Links didn't recycle , package and ship to clinics and hospitals in South America. It's a shame what we waste and Global Links is doing a terrific job of making use of perfectly good merchindise that would otherwise be discarded. I love volunteering for them , helping to sort and package items. The people are friendly and very compitent.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The dedicated staff and volunteers at Global Links do life-saving work. By collecting and sending perfectly usable but unneeded medical equipment, supplies, and furnishings from U.S. hospitals to under-resourced hospitals and clinics in developing countries, Global Links puts to good use what would otherwise be discarded.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Global Links recycles everything that is possible to recycle and has it clearly marked so we volunteers know where to put what!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Global Links is an excellent organization with whom I've personally volunteered and, whenever available, professionally donated surplus medical products. There is ridiculous waste and surplus in the United States, yet dire need in most other parts of the world. Global Links is an extremely well-run, efficient, non-profit, humanitarian organization that truly recognizes this and continues to make a serious difference to best use and re-use for the good of less fortunate others. They also promote a consciousness to recycle and reuse in many other aspects. Anyone spending just one day with them in their very humble building would immediately see, feel and appreciate the spanse of their work! They are "life savers!"

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Started out just knowing they distributed surplus medical supplies. Found out about the flip-side (environmental stewardship) later. It only reinforced my respect for a well-run agency. They have staying power as evidenced by the quality of young people they attract -- as staff, volunteers. Will continue to give my support as long into my retirement as I am able. Go Global Links. You Rock!

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5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I wanted to contribute to the work of local non-profits and foundations reaching out to the developing world and responding to disasters. One large foundation did not seem to need/want any volunteers. Not so with Global Links. They welcomed me with open arms and quickly responded to my inquiry. I was able to sort, package and pack donated medical supplies at their office. This was several years ago and I was still working full time. I did not fully realize the scope of Global Links' Mission until the Haiti Earthquake. Since I am now retired I was able to volunteer more often and attend a session on their mission. It was only then that I realized that recycling and assessing environmental impact was almost as essential to their Mission as the Medical Equipment and Supplies they shipped. In fact, I realized that they have a DUAL MISSION: SAVING LIVES BY SALVAGING WHAT OTHERS THROW AWAY. They walk the walk which is obvious by watching how they operate their office and operations. Every possible opportunity for recycling waste is utilized. They incorporate environmental strategy into their assessment of what clinics and hospitals they serve actually need and do not use any "shotgun" approach. Rather it is "surgical" (pun intended) and precise -- to try to fill specific needs. They realize that they lack massive resources to fill great needs. But by only collecting/salvaging the equipment and supplies that are needed and can be used, they are reducing waste on both ends of the transaction. And, saving lives in the process. I will always support this organization. What a simple and productive Mission. And such hard workers

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I first found out about Global Links approximately a year ago. The hospital I work for participates in supply items and supplies to your organization. They also had an inservice for staff and found out that I was able to volunteer. So, I signed up and asked a few friends to join and we gave ourselves a name and started getting involved. What a wonderful idea to collect unwanted hospital items and supplies and gifting them to others in order to live. What a sharing, caring heart to be shared throughtout the world. I hope you can expand to other countries as time goes on. Keep up the good work and God Bless you with continued success.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In volunteering with Global Links you really do feel like you're are directly affecting peoples lives all over the world. The organization goes above and beyond to try and suit the experience of the volunteer to match their experience and ability. Most one time volunteers go in and pack medical supplies, which is a remarkable experience because you literally are providing essential goods for medical clinics abroad. Everything that is packed is typically shipped out quickly, the equipment that is sent could be used by needy medical personnel only a few days later. Personally, I normally work fixing medical devices and wheelchairs. When a device is finished, the feeling of success lingers, as I know that the product I was working on will be in the hands of someone in need within a couple days. Global Links is also one of the most sustainable organizations I have ever worked with. Everything we use is recycled, or re purposed. It is rare when anything goes to waste. Wheel chairs are fixed by ripping apart severely broken wheel chairs and integrating parts into less damaged chairs. We literally are taking products which easily could be in a landfill and redirect their purpose. Most supplies that come into Global Links would have been thrown in the trash if global links had not stepped in and taken them. This is easily the best non-profit humanitarian group I have ever worked with, in terms of sustainability, effort in recycling, overall competency, and importance of volunteering. Global Links should be considered as a model for other non-profits around the world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I gather with a few friends for a few hours once a month to sort medical supplies and pack them into cartons for mailing to countries where they are desperately needed. I imagine someone opening the box and finding exactly what was needed at that particular moment, and it is as if I had actually put that item directly into an outstretched hand.

Tracy20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Global Links provides volunteers with the opportunity to help sort and package medical supplies to send to developing countries. One of the nice things about Global Links is that they have built a strong rapport with area hospitals and they are able to recycle a lot of material that would otherwise be discarded. It feels really good to know that the waste material is limited and is able to be recirculated to those who would otherwise not have these supplies. Global Links provides their volunteers with publications that show actual relief that is gained by their work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

An excellent organization with a dual impact both locally and globally. Efficient use of volunteer time and educational. Quantitative successes that truly change lives.

karensgoldman

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering at Global Links is a great experience for me and my whole family. We feel like we're doing somehting really important and that even our teenagers can help with. Volunteers are instrumental in achieveing the mission of the organization but also learn a great deal, for example, about health care in the developing world, and the abundance of waste that is not recycled on our own healthcare system.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

One of the global concerns that I feel needs attention is health care. While it is obvious that there are serious inequalities in access to and quality of health care in the United States, the concern I am addressing in this essay is one related to the absolute lack of even the most basic care in developing countries. In the world’s poorest nations, most people do not have access to even the lowest quality hospitals, clinics, providers, supplies, medicines and health care equipment. With all of the amazing advances in technology and research in the developed countries, millions of people die each year of causes that are completely preventable by basic things like clean water, inexpensive vaccines, medicines and simple procedures for care. Obviously, enormous efforts are needed on a geopolitical scale to remedy this.
On the other hand, wealthy countries like the U.S. waste millions of pounds of medical supplies every year. Instruments, supplies, medicines and many other things get thrown away before their usefulness runs out because of rules and regulations, lack of attention to recycling opportunities and sometimes just laziness. My sensitivity to this problem has been heightened since I started working at Global Links, a Pittsburgh-based organization that collects and recycles used and expired medical equipment and supplies. I think that if every city had such a program, we would go a long way to helping developing countries improve medical care. Global Links does wonderful work. Every U.S. city should have a Global Links site.