9 Best Charities for COVID-19 Research & Relief (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities for COVID-19 Research & Relief (Complete 2022 List)

Dennis Kamprad

Read Time:15 Minutes

this site

follow follow

Impactful Ninja is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more Learn more .

Affiliate Disclosure

Hey fellow impactful ninja ?

You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts.

  • Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click.

  • But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend.

Why do we add these product links?

First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide.

And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.

What do these affiliate links mean for you?
  1. First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you.

  2. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you.

  3. And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you.

What do these affiliate links mean for us?
  1. When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it.

  2. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you).

  3. And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself.

What does this mean for me personally?

You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money.

Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go.

Stay impactful,

Since its emergence in 2019, COVID-19 has impacted every country in the world. Worldwide, the case count has topped 620 million, and the death toll stands at nearly 7 million. The pandemic fractured hospital systems and communities, greatly impacting their ability to care for those affected and spawning a dire need for vaccines and treatments. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for COVID-19 research & relief?

The best charities for COVID-19 Research & Relief are Direct RElief and UNICEF. Other charities such as IAVI and the American Lung Association focus on research for COVID-19. 

Whether you want to ensure healthcare providers have enough PPE such as masks and gloves, or research for better treatments, or ensure low income countries have access to the COVID-19 vaccination, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for COVID-19 research & relief are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for COVID-19 Research & Relief Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. They operate all over the world, from North America to Asia, and they all share the same goal of COVID-19 research & relief.

Some of these charities provide direct medical assistance for COVID-19. Others educate the public on COVID-19 prevention. However, they all focus on providing assistance and research to end the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities for COVID-19 Research & Relief

Below are our favorite charities for COVID-19 research & relief:

  • Direct Relief
  • American Lung Association
  • National Foundation of Infectious Diseases
  • Doctors Without Borders
  • Heart to Heart International
  • Medical Teams International
  • IAVI
  • Crisis Aid International

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

Direct Relief: COVID-19 Relief Around the World

Direct Relief was founded in 1948 by William Zimdin to send relief parcels to vulnerable communities to help them rebuild their lives in the aftermath of WWII. Today they provide medical resources to disadvantaged groups around the world. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Direct Relief a 4-star rating, and GuideStar gives them the Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

“…improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay.

Direct Relief

What they do: Direct Relief delivers PPE including gowns, gloves and respirators to healthcare providers and hospitals around the globe. They also address the lack of availability of medical-grade oxygen in middle to low income countries by supplying equipment and refurbishing oxygen generation plants. In addition, they help middle to low income countries increase their cold storage for medications so that their ability to store the COVID-19 vaccine is improved. Furthermore, they provide funding for community health facilities and free clinics in the US who provide care to low income and underserved populations. 

What they’ve achieved: Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Direct Relief has provided more than $3 billion in medical aid. For example, they have delivered 138 million masks and 51 million gloves to frontline health workers. Additionally, they have improved medical-grade oxygen access to 52 countries as well as given free clinics in the US $107 million in direct funding.  

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Direct Relief on their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering your time.

UNICEF: COVID-19 Relief for Children

UNICEF was founded in 1946 by Ludwik Rajchman to help children in the aftermath of World War I. Today they help children and young people around the world whose lives are at risk, including from COVID-19.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Aid Transparency Index ranks UNICEF as very good, with a total score of 89.1 out of 100. 

…we do whatever it takes to help children survive, thrive and fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.


What they do: UNICEF has partnered with other organizations to fund COVAX in order to ensure equitable COVID-19 vaccination distribution around the world. They also provide PPE and diagnostic COVID-19 tests to countries while ensuring these supplies stay at a fair market price. Due to COVID-19’s disruption of education systems world-wide, they are also advocating for policies in governments around the world to make education part of COVID-19 recovery. 

What they’ve achieved: UNICEF’s COVID-19 response works in 145 countries and territories. For example, in 2020 they gave out over 3.7 million diagnostic tests for COVID-19 and sent out over 400 million facemasks. Since the vaccine rollout, they have delivered over 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses around the world. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to UNICEF on their website. You can also donate your time by volunteering.  

American Lung Association: COVID-19 Research and Education

The American Lung Association was founded in 1904 by a group of physicians to prevent and treat tuberculosis. Today they advocate for lung health by promoting clean air and ridding the world of lung diseases including COVID-19. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the American Lung Association a 4-star rating.

…through expertise, responsible innovation and taking bold actions, we will realize our vision of a world free of lung disease.

American Lung Association

What they do: The American Lung Association provides $100,000, two year research grants for COVID-19, ranging from molecular research to studies regarding best methods for reducing community spread. They also have a series of toolkits available as well as a public service announcement (PSA) to provide education on the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccination. Additionally, they provide a series of fact sheets and FAQs to educate the public about the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What they’ve achieved: Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Lung Association has provided $3 million towards COVID-19 research including 24 grants. Furthermore, their education has reached over 120 million people, and their public service announcement for COVID-19 vaccination garnered 102 million media impressions with over 300,000 video views.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the American Lung Association via their website. You can also volunteer your time.

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases: Public Education on COVID-19

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases was founded in 1973 by several individuals from the Infectious Disease Division at the Medical College of Virginia to research and educate about infectious disease. Today they provide education on infectious disease and vaccinations, including for COVID-19.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases a 4-star rating. 

Educate the public and healthcare professionals about the burden, causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases across the lifespan.

National Foundation of Infectious Diseases

What they do: The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases provides education for the public about COVID-19. For example, they have several fact sheets for COVID-19 vaccinations for adults and children. They also developed a toolkit for leaders across different sectors to use to promote methods to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, they host free webinars geared towards healthcare providers to further educate on COVID-19 prevention and vaccination. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases has partnered with 150 leading organizations to raise awareness on keeping up to date on vaccinations, including COVID-19. For example, in 2021 their free webinars provided education to over 5,700 people in 76 countries

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases via their website. You can also support them by choosing the charity on Amazon Smile

Doctors Without Borders: World-wide Vaccination and Care Support

Doctors Without Borders was founded in 1971 in France by a group of doctors and journalists to provide humanitarian aid in the aftermath of war and famine in Nigeria. Today, they provide humanitarian aid and medical care in 70 countries around the world, including COVID-19 relief. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Doctors Without Borders a 4-star rating, and GuideStar gives them the Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) cares for people affected by conflict, disease outbreaks, natural and human-made disasters, and exclusion from health care in more than 70 countries.

Doctors Without Borders

What they do: Doctors Without Borders educate health providers around the world on triage practices and infection control to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within hospital systems. They also provide PPE including masks, gowns and gloves to both healthcare workers and to the public. For areas that need additional assistance with treating COVID-19, they set up outpatient clinics, hospital units, and intensive care units. Additionally, they advocate for equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccination, especially for migrants, refugees, and other under-served populations

What they’ve achieved: Today, Doctors Without Borders has 368 distinct COVID-19 programs around the world. For example, between March 2020 to September of 2021, they administered over 64,000 doses of the vaccination. Throughout the pandemic, they supported 991 hospitals with technical, training, or materials support and provided an additional 207 hospitals with medical support. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Doctors Without Borders via their website. You can also host a fundraiser or volunteer your time. 

Heart to Heart International: Vaccinations and Testing

Heart to Heart International was founded in 1992 by Dr. Gary Morsch to provide medical humanitarian aid to the heart of Russia. Today they provide aid for humanitarian crises and underserved communities around the world, including COVID-19 aid.  

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Heart to Heart International a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives them the Gold Seal of Transparency. 

Heart to Heart International seeks to improve healthcare access in the U.S. and around the world by ensuring quality care is provided equitably in medically under-resourced communities and in disaster situations.

Heart to Heart International

What they do: Heart to Heart International delivers life-saving PPE including respirators, gloves, gowns, and disinfecting wipes to healthcare providers in the US and across the globe. They also deliver hygiene kits to community-based programs in the US such as homeless shelters and nursing homes. Furthermore, they launched large-scale COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 vaccination events for underserved populations throughout the state of Missouri to further contain the virus.  

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, Heart to Heart International has shipped aid to 131 countries. For example, in 2021 they delivered 725 shipments of medical and humanitarian aid. They have also held over 150 COVID-19 vaccination events with over 11,000 vaccinations administered. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Heart to Heart International on their website. You can also volunteer your time to assemble hygiene kits for distribution.

Medical Teams International: International COVID-19 Testing and Treatment

Medical Teams International was founded in 1979 by Ron Post to provide medical care to refugees in Thailand. Today they provide world-wide humanitarian relief to people facing crises, including COVID-19. 


Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Medical Teams International a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives them the Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Going where we’re needed most, we ease the suffering of people devastated by crisis. We mobilize staff and volunteers quickly – entering places of turmoil, disease and natural disaster – to save lives and leave communities healthier.

Medical Teams International

What they do: Medical Teams International provides COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics to people in the Pacific Northwest region of the US. They also equipped hospitals in the same area with gowns, gloves, and masks. Additionally, they provide international training on infection control and COVID-19 protocols for local medical providers as well as providing COVID-19 screening. In Bangladesh, they operate and staff a COVID-19 isolation and treatment center to prevent further community spread. 

What they’ve achieved: Since the start of the pandemic, Medical Teams International has performed over 1.27 million screenings for COVID-19 globally. In the US, they administered the vaccination to over 13,000 people. They also completed over 2 million house calls internationally to educate people about COVID-19 prevention

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Medical Teams International on their website. You can also apply to volunteer your time or build and ship a personal care kit.

IAVI: International Vaccine and Treatment Research

IAVI was founded in 1996 by Seth Berkley to develop a safe AIDS vaccination. Today, they conduct research around the world and develop safe and effective vaccinations for several emerging diseases, including COVID-19. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives IAVI a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives them the Platinum Seal of Transparency.

“​​IAVI pursues its mission to discover and develop vaccines and other biomedical innovations for HIV, tuberculosis, emerging infectious diseases, and neglected diseases through a diverse range of activities.


What they do: IAVI’s Vaccine Design and Development Lab works on specialized research for COVID-19 vaccinations. In addition, their Antibody Translational Research Program (ATRP) focuses on isolating monoclonal antibodies for improved COVID-19 treatment. IAVI also advocates globally for equitable and affordable access to their research and developed treatments. 

What they’ve achieved: Since the start of the pandemic, IAVI has successfully isolated two novel COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies as well as establishing 13 technology platforms in India to support COVID-19 antibody research. Their preclinical (not yet performed on humans) results of a nasal COVID-19 vaccine suggest that it can protect against infection and may help prevent upper respiratory tract infections that the current injection vaccines cannot prevent. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to IAVI on their website. You can also follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to stay updated on their newest developments. 

Crisis Aid International: Masks for COVID-19

Crisis Aid International was founded in 2002 by Pat Bradly to help people affected by genocide in South Sudan. Today they provide humanitarian aid to low income areas locally and globally including COVID-19 aid.  

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Crisis Aid International a 4-star rating, and GuideStar gives them the Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

“We are committed to “helping the helpless” with relief efforts both locally and globally.”

Crisis Aid International

What they do: Crisis Aid International response to COVID-19 with both local and international aid. For example, they increased the scale of their food drives by starting the Community Helping Community program in the United States. In East Africa, women and girls who are part of their Mercy Chapel program sew cloth masks for police, medical workers, and sex workers. They also made hand sanitizer when global supply shortages prevented imports, and created health checks and quarantine units to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

What they’ve achieved: Today, Crisis Aid International serves more than 2 million people in 11 different countries. In response to COVID-19 in 2020 alone, they made over 15,600 masks in East Africa. In the same year, they also fed over 140,000 people with their expanded food drives in the US.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Crisis Aid International on their website. You can also host a fundraiser using Facebook or purchase Oh! Coffee (100% of proceeds go to the charity). 

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for COVID-19 research & relief. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to COVID-19 research & relief – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:


Photo of author

Dennis Kamprad

Dennis is the founder of Impactful Ninja and passionate about enabling you to make a positive impact on the world & society. He started his professional career as a Sustainability Consultant and has worked on several social projects around the world. Outside of work, he is a passionate salsa dancer, fast runner, and multiple Ironman finisher.

Did you know that the internet is a huge polluter of the environment? But fortunately not this site. This site is powered by renewable energy and all hosting-related CO2 emissions are offset by three times as many renewable energy certificates. Find out all about it here.

Three Related Posts

One Unrelated Post