Direct Relief recognized for outstanding use of mapping in humanitarian work

July 11, 2013

Ford School alumnus Andrew Schroeder (MPP '07), director of research and analysis for Direct
, accepted the Esri President's Award on behalf of the nonprofit on July 8 in San Diego, California. Direct Relief was recognized for its outstanding use of GIS (geographic information system) to improve its operations and promote transparency in humanitarian work.

Direct Relief delivers medical assistance and disaster relief across the United States and in 70 countries worldwide. Recalling the agency's response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Esri president Jack Dangermond said, "They constantly find new ways of applying geography to improve people's lives and proactively identify vulnerable populations." The organization also works with partners across the globe to connect the most vulnerable populations with high-quality health care providers and resources. In recent years, Direct Relief has successfully integrated GIS and spatial analysis into its operations, including its efforts during such disasters as the tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma, and Hurricane Sandy.

"So many people recognize that enormous needs exist in the world," explained Schroeder. "They want to know that their contribution will make a difference. These tools are incredibly powerful in enabling Direct Relief to demonstrate that to every donor.