The Santa Barbara Vintners’ Foundation has not only hit the $2 million milestone in funds generated for Direct Relief efforts, it has also witnessed the direct result of last week’s $500,000 donation streamlined to tornado victims in the Midwest and Southern United States. [quote]”This core funding enabled us to jump start our efforts in the Midwest and is a perfect example of why advance funding is needed,” says Thomas Tighe, President/CEO of Direct Relief International. “Since the first storms touched down last week, Direct Relief has offered relief to more than 100 non-profit clinics and health centers and has already delivered emergency supplies and medications, including insulin for displaced patients with diabetes, worth over $268,000 to serve 3,200 people in Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas.”[/quote]

This home-grown effort, spearheaded by the Santa Barbara Vintners’ Association’s charitable arm, gives fresh meaning to the term “juice,” with American Riviera Wine Auction funds translating into $15 million in leveraged goods for Direct Relief. [quote]”It’s amazing to see this small group of 100 vintners make such a large impact,” says Frank Ostini, President of Santa Barbara Vintners’ Foundation. “We chose Direct Relief based on their efficient, no nonsense approach. Their long-term partnerships and smart business practices have changed the world.”[/quote]

In 2010, the Santa Barbara Vintners’ donation provided the seed money for Direct Relief’s award-winning Medical Reserve Corps packs – “grab and go” emergency medical kits that have been fully adopted by the State of California and due to roll out nationally.

The Santa Barbara Vintners’ Foundation has collaborated with Direct Relief on seven American Riviera Wine Auctions since 2000. This year’s check, which represents a 50 percent increase from past auctions, caps the $2 million milestone. The year of that first auction, Direct Relief faced a financial shortfall of $100,000 that threatened its future. The $250,000 in proceeds from the auction relieved Direct Relief’s immediate financial crisis and launched it toward its present platform which allows delivery of $300 million in aid annually.

Background

While Direct Relief’s initial relief efforts targeted medically underserved areas internationally, in response to the need arising in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, DRI was able to translate their successful overseas model to a domestic situation. A realization that the need for affordable medicine at home transcended Hurricane Katrina, Direct Relief has since launched Direct Relief USA and now supplies $50 million yearly on the home front, including millions of dollars for dental and ophthalmic care as well as the distribution of relief packs for emergency responders in Santa Barbara County.

The Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 to support and promote Santa Barbara County as a premium wine producing and wine grape growing region. The Association includes more than 100 winery members whosewineries are located in and whose annual production is at least 75% grown inSanta Barbara County, as well as grower/vineyard members and vineyard managers. The Santa Barbara Vintners’ Foundation is the charitable umbrella under which the Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association conducts its philanthropic work.

3/2012 (Photo Credit: Nick Preskianov)