We are the medlife movement
MEDLIFE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that partners with low-income communities in Latin America and Africa to improve their access to medicine, education, and community development projects. In order to achieve the ultimate goal of a world free from the constraints of poverty, we empower students and volunteers to become advocates for change by creating on-campus Chapters, volunteering in Service Learning Trips, and supporting the MEDLIFE Project Fund. With this support, MEDLIFE hires and trains local staff to provide high quality 24/7/365 patient care, community development projects, and educational workshops to empower communities in need.
Our mission is to build a worldwide Movement empowering the poor in their fight for equal access to healthcare, education, and a safe home.
A world free from the constraints of poverty.
- Listening: Our priorities are driven by the communities we partner with.
- Root Causes, Sustainable and Value Added Solutions: we work to understand the root causes posed by poverty and create sustainable and quality solutions.
- Structural Violence and A Preferential Option for the Poor: we provide high-quality services to the poor, not services slightly better than what they are accustomed to.
- Collaborative & Educational Volunteering: Service Learning trips help to empower volunteers to make a sustainable difference.
- Rigorous Giving & Investment: Improving on current models of charitable work and investing in poor communities.
- Transparency: Inspiring donor confidence.
MEDLIFE was founded in 2004 by Nick Ellis. While working in hospitals in Chimborazo, Ecuador, Nick volunteered as a translator for a medical mission organization. On one of these clinics, Nick met a young boy in need of heart surgery. Unfortunately, the clinic was only in town for a day and could do nothing beyond making the diagnosis. Nick found this deeply troubling — what is the point of running medical missions if they are powerless to help the people who truly need it?
Following this experience, Nick knew he had to do something. Upon returning home to Bangor, Maine Nick stood in a Walmart parking lot asking for donations and within hours, had enough funds to provide heart surgery for the young boy, named Darwin. Darwin became our first MEDLIFE patient.
Out of Chimborazo, MEDLIFE has since expanded to other parts of Ecuador, Peru, Tanzania, and Nicaragua. All of our work has been informed by Nick’s experience with Darwin — we partner with patients and communities, listening to their needs and helping where we can.
Out of Nick’s experience raising money back home for Darwin came the first 4 MEDLIFE Chapters, today joined by hundreds more who continue to support our on the ground efforts by raising awareness of global health and development issues, collecting donations, and volunteering at home and abroad.
Our Funding Model
MEDLIFE divides donations into two funds, the MEDLIFE Project Fund, which dedicates 100% of every donation toward building sustainable development projects for poor communities, and the MEDLIFE General Fund, which is the broadest kind of giving to MEDLIFE and helps MEDLIFE accomplish its overall mission.
MEDLIFE PROJECT FUND
100% of each donation is spent on itemized costs toward sustainable and long-term projects (building materials, crews, etc), patient follow-up, and educational workshops for low-income communities.
MEDLIFE GENERAL FUND
Covers all operational expenses, including the administrative and employment costs that come with organizing Mobile Clinics and patient follow-up care services. Every donation supports our year-round work in Peru, Ecuador, Tanzania, and Nicaragua.