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American Kidney Fund

Empower. Fight. Honor.

Needing dialysis is hard. It's even harder when you can't afford it. Donate to AKF and help people in desperate circumstances afford the healthcare they need to survive.

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Why should I support your work?

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) is the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of the more than 30 million Americans with kidney disease. Our mission is to help people fight kidney disease and live healthier lives, and we fulfill that mission by providing a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention activities, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation. We also invest in clinical research to improve outcomes for kidney patients, and we fight tirelessly on Capitol Hill for legislation and policies supporting the issues that are important to the people we serve. We provide these critically needed services while maintaining a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s leading charity watchdog agency. For our excellent fiscal management, we are proud to be on Charity Navigator’s list of top 10 charities in the United States, out of more than 9,000 reviewed. We spend 97 cents of every donated dollar on programs that directly serve and educate patients and the public.

Why does your charity exist?

More than 678,000 Americans are living with kidney failure, an increase of 74 percent since 2000. Of those, nearly half a million depend on dialysis to stay alive and 200,000 are living with kidney transplants. The number of people who need kidney transplants is far greater than the number of available donor organs: Nearly 100,000 people are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, but only about 20,000 kidneys were transplanted last year. 

Kidney failure devastates patients physically, emotionally and financially.  More than 75% of dialysis patients are unable to work because of their illness and time-consuming treatments.  The typical patient AKF assists with treatment-related expenses has an annual household income less than $20,000, yet faces out-of-pocket costs of nearly $7,000. AKF’s financial assistance programs ensure that these patients continue to have access to their lifesaving treatments.

More broadly, AKF is working to educate the public about kidney disease and help people detect it early so they can avoid progressing to kidney failure. About a third of people diagnosed with kidney failure have never seen a nephrologist because they had no symptoms until their kidneys failed. We operate the nation’s largest free kidney health screening program to reach communities at high risk for kidney disease and kidney failure.

What specifically do you do?

The American Kidney Fund provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention activities, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation. We also invest in clinical research to improve outcomes for kidney patients and we fight tirelessly on Capitol Hill for legislation and policies supporting the issues that are important to the people we serve.

How will this make a difference?

30 million Americans are living with kidney disease and 1 in 3 are at risk. Kidney disease is an enormous public health threat and to address this, we provide many vital programs and services, including award-winning public and professional health education materials and courses, the nation’s largest free kidney health screening program, our nationwide advocacy network, clinical research funding and our toll-free HelpLine.

How is your work different from that of other, similar charities?

No organization provides the broad scope of vital programs that help people at every step of their journey with kidney disease. Last year, AKF provided direct financial assistance to 1 out of every 5 dialysis patients in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and every U.S. territory. AKF also operates the nation’s largest free kidney health screening program, reaching more than 12,000 individuals at risk for kidney disease in 2017.

What have you accomplished?

In 2017, we provided direct financial assistance to 93,000 kidney patients in the United States. Nearly 74,000 kidney patients maintained their health insurance coverage through our Health Insurance Premium Program. With the help of our Safety Net Program, 11,500 kidney patients were able to pay for transportation to dialysis, nutritional products, emergency assistance and other expenses not covered by health insurance. 1,600 patients received donated medications at no cost, helping them to manage common complications of kidney failure. More than 3,600 patients affected by natural disasters received grants from our Disaster Relief Program. 40 children with kidney disease received grants to attend specialized summer camps. We also provided education about preventing and treating kidney disease to millions of people. 2.8 million people visited our website to learn about kidney health. In 25 cities nationwide, we provided free kidney health screenings through our Know Your Kidneys program to more than 12,000 people, checking for indicators of kidney and heart health, diabetes and other important health measures. More than 6,700 health care professionals took our free, certified online courses, obtaining continuing education about caring for people with and at risk for kidney disease. We awarded our newest Clinical Scientist in Nephrology fellowship to a young nephrologist who joins a long list of leading nephrology researchers who began their careers with a fellowship since the program began in 1988. Nearly 1,900 people became Kidney Health Coaches to help educate their communities about kidney disease and how to prevent it.

How can I be sure you’ll use my money wisely?

We are recognized as one of the nation’s most trusted nonprofit organizations. We continue our longstanding record of spending 97 cents of every donated dollar on programs and services. In 2017, we received our 16th consecutive "Four Star" rating from Charity Navigator, ranking among the top 1 percent of charities nationwide out of more than 9,000 reviewed, placing us in . Charity Navigator's "Top 10" list of organizations with the most consecutive "Four Star" ratings. Our disaster relief efforts were recognized in Charity Navigator’s lists of highly-rated organizations helping those affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as the California wildfires. We achieved GuideStar’s Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest level of recognition given to organizations that report metrics important to donors. Consumer Reports listed AKF as one of the "Best Charities for Your Donations," and Consumers Digest has named AKF one of the top three health charities in the country for spending efficiency. We continue to maintain our A+ rating from CharityWatch, meet the National Health Council’s Standards of Excellence, and are a sealholder with the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.