International Medical Outreach: Grants for Global Health

OVERVIEW: International Medical Outreach (IMO) is a major funder of organizations fighting infectious diseases in developing countries around the world. It emphasizes combating parasitic diseases in children.

IP TAKE: There are some big funding dollars here, but obtaining IMO funding will be a challenge to any NGO with which IMO is not already familiar. Organizations hoping to get a grant here should approach the foundation and highlight how their work closely aligns with IMOs mission and goals, keep in contact, and be very patient.

PROFILE: In 1993, infectious disease specialist Todd Marshall Price established International Medical Outreach as a charitable tool to fight the treatable, but dangerous, global health problems he often observed in his work. Today, the Texas foundation awards grants to prevent and treat infectious diseases including intestinal parasites, malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and diarrhea. The foundation names Burundi, Uganda, Malawi, and Haiti as specific regional areas of grantmaking interest.

Although the IMO has sought to provide infectious disease relief and high-quality healthcare to support “all people without regard to race, religion, or color” since its inception, the foundation has evolved over the decades. According to Vice President and Executive Director Sue Price:

While our core principles have not changed since our founding in 1993, other facets and protocols have dramatically evolved into the organization we are today. Our ultimate goal is to collaborate with local partners to enable all people without regard to race, religion or color to reach their full potential through health.

The foundation acts on its mission by providing public health education and information materials, putting that information into practice, and offering continuing education to the medical communities in which it works “through didactic lectures and teaching rounds on active patients." 

The foundation prioritizes parasite control— especially in children, whose intellectual and physical development can be hindered by nutrient-robbing parasites. IMO supports projects that provide anti-parasitic medication to places that already draw large groups of people such as clinics, hospitals, schools, and orphanages. However, it also supports efforts to prevent parasitic infections through its current projects, which include supplying school children with water bottles, distributing shoes, and helping to build composting latrines.

In addition to its parasite control program, other broad programs at IMO include: short-term medical specialist and surgical campaigns, public health education and instruction, and Medicine and Medical Supply Distribution programs, among many others. 

If you're a charitable outfit engaged in the fight against infectious diseases in the developing world and empowering vulnerable populations through the promotion of good health, you might consider approaching IMO directly to discuss the possibility of future partnerships. Keep in mind, however, doing so may or may not get you on IMOs radar. According to Price:

IMO primarily funds projects with which we have direct involvement. In the rare instances that we do provide grant funds, it is to individuals or local organizations that IMO has direct relationship with and that share the same goals and objectives.

IMO funds projects both small (less than $1,000) and large (more than $1 million) with most falling in the $10,000 to $75,00o range. Unfortunately, IMO is not very transparent in its grantmaking process and does not accept grant applications from the general public.

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