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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

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

bernshen

Board Member

Rating: 5

Although my experience as a volunteer advisor & Board member with Global Links goes back 2 decades, perhaps it will provide some long-term perspective on the organization. In the early 1990's, I was an emergency physician based in Pittsburgh, but with a strong interest in global health (seeing patients, doing disaster work or conducting research in settings as diverse as Nepal, the Marshall Islands, Central America & the South Pole). Kathleen & her co-founder Brenda brought tremendous passion & dedication to their mission, working nights & weekends to build a network of hospitals & clinics who could donate equipment & supplies, to coordinate the complex logistics of delivering the donations around the world, & to monitor & evaluate accountability & effectiveness of the recipient organizations. They led by example & inspired a team of (almost!) equally hardworking staff & volunteers - a really impressive example of executing on an idea to make an important difference in the world.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Global Links is an Organization that, with a simple formula, is solving complex life threatening challenges in developing countries mainly in Latin America and the Caribbean. I have had the experience of seeing medical facilities and meeting patients similar to the ones Global Links is benefiting with their work, and it is hard to believe that such situations still exist when the scarce resources needed in those places are abundant in other parts of the world. This is exactly what Global Links mends and how it adds value as an innovative organization.
I believe that the supplies being provided and the tailored way in which is being done by GL, are solving real problems and many lives. I am impressed with the passion of the staff and hundreds of volunteers that, without knowing these patients or doctors in far away countries, understand the importance of their work and show enormous respect for them by providing top quality materials that meet the highest standards.
I strongly believe that Global Links is a serious, pioneering and passion-driven Organization that is changing the lives of many human beings.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a Board Member for Global Links and also a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School for Public and International Affairs. Part of the course work for my master's program focuses on accountability in responsible public leadership. Global Links exemplifies this principle, in the process they use to donate medical supplies to Latin American hospitals. The Global Links program officers work with their Latin American counterparts to ensure that the Latin American hospitals only receive medical supplies that they can use. By doing this, the organization responsibly ensures that the supplies sent will be used by the hospitals in need, and not discarded in Latin American landfills.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Global Links for over 20 years. I have seen the organization grow from a dream to be one of the best run nonprofits. Its duel mission - to reduce medical surplus in the United States and put that surplus to productive use in developing countries - was unique. Now, although there are others in the field, the attention to detail is what separates Global Links. Every recipient's particular needs are carefully considered and fulfilled with useful surplus. If a particular piece of equipment, for example, requires electricity and the recipient clinic is in an area with repeated outages, Global Links will find generators or try to find backups that can be useful when there is no electricity. The people who work with Global Links are literally infected with joy in the job, hope for a better future and caring for their community.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was initially attracted to Global Links through their work in the Dominican Republic. About four years ago, I joined the staff of Global Links but had to resign because of a family illness. Later I was invited to join the board and have served in that capacity for three years. So I have an intimate knowledge of the organization from three different perspectives. Some unique strengths i see in Global Links are: a visionary executive director, a dedicated and talented staff, a clear mission, an efficient use of time and resources, and strong relationships with host countries. These are but a few of the reasons that Global Links is able to exceed its goals every year.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Global Links is one of the best run and most respected nonprofits in our region. By reburbishing used medical equipment, it both improves medical care in the developing world and protects our environment locally by recycling this equipment and keeping it out of landfills. I'm proud to be a part of this organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a board member, I was initially attracted to global links because of its unique mission of addressing the healthcare needs of providers in developing countries through environmental stewardship here in the United States. Now seventeen years later, I continue to be engaged in global links' efforts because of the organization’s incredible progress in building the capacity of hospitals and clinics in Latin America and the Caribbean through evermore efficient and effective recovery and recycling of surplus medical supplies and equipment.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Since being on the Board, Global Links has shipped around 80 containers of medical supplies (all re-claimed from healthcare facilities here) to 9 Latin American & Caribbean countries, keeping our environment clean and saving lives at the same time! This is the best charity I've had the honor of being involved with.

11

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have visited two of our program countries with executive staff to inspect the materials that we sent, and was most imprsssed with the comments of gratitude and admiration for Global Links. I heard great affirmations that we sent only useful materials, and were careful to determine what they really needed. I have attended many events to meet potential donors and personnel with collaborating organizations and have made many valuable contacts for Global Links. In so doing, I was delighted to discover how well our organization is regarded in many circles. I have gotten to know the staff and am very impressed with their idealism and their willingness to do labor--intensive processes in order to ensure that we are sending only usable materials, in the most efficient and effective ways.

Previous Stories
21

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the Board of Directors of Global Links since its inception in 1989 and am amazed at the remarkable progress we have made in the last twenty years. From its modest beginnings with its three young founders, we have grown to a staff of twenty (full time and part time) members, who sent processed and sent 207 tons of medical supplies and equipment to our recipient countries in 2008. A great number of faithful and deeply-motivated volunteers contributed over 6000 hours of service in that same year to help us achieve our goals. I have been especially impressed with the research that our staff members do in order to ensure that the recipient countries are actually able to use everything that we send. I have heard from hospital directors and doctors that they are always confident that, when a shipment arrives from Global Links, every item will be in good shape and fit their immediate needs. I have great hopes that we will be able to achieve even greater success in our future.

10

Board Member

Rating: 5

Global Links is a leading example of environmental sustainability and accountability, because they develop ongoing relationships with health care facilities in specific countries that can utilize the surplus medical supplies from Pittsburgh area hospitals. Foreign Institutions receive 40-foot sea containers of medical aid carefully selected to meet their specific needs. By developing relationships with specific institutions or regions of a country, Global Links makes a sustained impact on the ability of recipient institutions to deliver health care to their patients. They foster international partnerships to promote environmental sustainability and redirect medical surplus to supply developing countries with medical supplies that would otherwise be sent to a land fill. From the organization’s mission of redirecting medical surplus to the recycling receptacles in the staff and volunteer eating areas, this organization is the definition of a non-profit that promotes environmental sustainability. The Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership at the University of Pittsburgh recently gave Kathleen Hower – co-founder and Executive Director of Global Links, the Exemplary Leadership Award. Each year, the Johnson Institute selects an outstanding community leader who demonstrates values of ethics and accountability in their service to the public to receive this award. I am graduate student studying international and public affairs and am participating in the Johnson Institute Leadership Portfolio program. I am serving on the board of Global Links as a part of this learning opportunity. It has been an honor to be invited to participate with this extraordinary organization, because they are an international example of what a non-profit organization should be.

7 a-davis

Board Member

Rating: 5

I sought to become actively involved with the organization after learning of their incredible mission, both from a humanitarian and environmental perspective, and coming to know their tireless leadership. I have been involved with small nonprofits and have never seen one accomplish so much with so little. The organization strives to maximize resources in every aspect of their operation, with only ~3% of donations contributing to administrative efforts – an incredible feat for any nonprofit. This has been accomplished through the vision of the organizations leadership, the growth and nurturing of a dedicated volunteer organization and the forming of strategic alliances. These alliances, both local and international, have enabled the organization to save thousands of tons of usable, life-saving surplus and redirected it to countries based on specific needs. This organization is responsible in every aspect of their existence and I am thrilled to be a part of working with this team to expand their ability to responsibly impact more lives.

14

Board Member

Rating: 5

The people here are very friendly, and it is always a joy to know we are helping save lives all over the world.

14

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Global Links almost since its inception. I had a wonderful opportunity to travel to Cuba in 1997 as part of a GL team. As a member of the Board for over ten years I have seen the development and growth of this unique NGO and can attest to their most worthwhile work in developing countries. They provide hundreds of tons of surplus medical supplies, equipment and medicines to the poorest of the poor. Global Links saves lives !!

20

Board Member

Rating: 5

Congratulations to Global Links,the role model for other organizations who wish to become expects in the areas of medical equipment procurement and distibution that saves lives while protecting the environment. I have volunteered in under-resourced countries as an OB/Gyn physician and have witnessed lives saved with sutures,gloves and medical equipment donated by Global Links. Children and adults breath easier with donated nebulizers that have made the difference between life and death. Twenty years of service to both local and global communities have been the unwavering committment of the Global Links management, staff and volunteers.

16

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a Board member since 1991. I contunue to be touched by the many lives taht are save or improved through Global's efforts and impresses with management's ability do do so much with so little.

17

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is truly one of the greatest nonprofits I have ever worked with. The duel mission of sharing medial surplus in a meaningful, responsible manner in oder to save lives was innovative 20 years ago when Global Links first started and remains at the cutting edge today. What this organization does is nothing short of miraculous, and every volunteer, donor, recipient, employee and board member knows that they are part of that miracle.

17

Board Member

Rating: 5

Global links has an incredible dual mission of going green and building healthcare capacity and access in the developing world. Global links has a nealry 20 year track record of recycling medical supplies and equipment from US hospitals and matching and donating these to the needs of the healthcare systems in some of poorest countries in the world. Truly a double bang!

Previous Stories
15

Board Member

Rating: 5

Global links has been a trend setter in the green movement for nearly 20 years. Recycling surplus medical equipment and supplies, much of which would wind up in the waste stream, and donating these to healthcare organizations in the developing world with documented need is an incredible dual mission of "greening" and "human service." This double bang makes global links a very effective and wothwhile charity especially when you look at the volume of materials removed from the waste stream and impact that their donations have had on building capacity and increasing access to healthcare services in some of the world's poorest countries.

18

Board Member

Rating: 5

Global Links is the best and most enlightened charity I have ever had the honor of being involved with. It serves a dual function which is incredibly necessary in today's world: (1) it takes perfectly good medical surplus which would otherwise be sent to a landfill, and (2) sends it to 9 Latin American countries where the people desperately need it. In addition, the staff is incredibly dedicated and friendly. I feel that my time and money are put to great use by this organization, 97% of all donations going directly to the charitable mission itself rather than overhead, and I am proud to be a Board member.