Share This Page

North Side-based international relief agency Brother's Brother Foundation expanding into Washington, D.C., area

| Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 9:47 p.m.

A North Side-based international relief agency is expanding into the District of Columbia area with the aim of helping more people.

“It means we can provide a greater volume and a greater variety of medical supplies to those who need them around the world,” Luke Hingson, president of Brother's Brother Foundation, said on Tuesday.

The foundation, ranked the 38th-largest charity in the country by Forbes magazine, intends to open a distribution center in Merrifield, Va., by the end of this month. It received the remaining assets of CrossLink International in Falls Church, Va., which provided medicines and supplies for about 745,000 people in 2010.

The founder of CrossLink, Dr. Barry Byer, has joined the board of Brother's Brother. Two CrossLink board members, Amy Hammer, president of a lobbying firm, and Cindy Kilgore, a retired health system executive, joined Brother's Brother as advisers.

“We are here because of the idea that the work we were doing meant so much to us,” Byer said. “We were all thrilled that this work might continue under the banner of the Brother's Brother Foundation.”

Byer, a family physician, founded CrossLink in 1993 after a mission trip to Moscow, where he saw unsanitary conditions. Doctors used thread instead of sutures for procedures and reused surgical gloves and gauze after washing and sterilizing them.

CrossLink became a nonprofit group in 1997, but the economic downturn a decade later made it difficult to raise money, Byer said, and it went out of business in September. Brother's Brother reached out to CrossLink upon hearing about its demise.

The Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area is more than four times as big as Pittsburgh's, and Hingson hopes to collect four to five times the supplies there. Brother's Brother distributed 2,700 tons of medical supplies, textbooks, food and more in 66 countries last year.

Hingson said the expansion enables Brother's Brother to reach more prospective donors — specifically, federal workers involved in the philanthropic Combined Federal Campaign.

The move puts Brother's Brother into contact with embassies that could help with customs for its shipments.

“We're hoping to start receiving items (there) before the month is over,” Hingson said.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.