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American Kidney Fund

Fighting on all fronts

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant.

Through programs of prevention, early detection, financial support, disease management, clinical research, education, and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF.

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Why should I support your work?

When you join our fight, you change lives.

  • You help us empower people to prevent kidney disease and slow its progression.
  • You make lifesaving health care affordable and accessible for patients.
  • You support innovations in education for patients and professionals.
  • You promote advances in nephrology research.
  • You’re by our side as we fight for patient rights in Congress and the states.
  • And, you help us give voice to the patient story. 

AKF is one of the nation’s highest-rated charities, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in patients and programs. Charity Navigator includes AKF on its “Top 10” list of nonprofits for outstanding stewardship of the donated dollar, and GuideStar has awarded AKF its Platinum Seal of Transparency.  

We provide these critically needed services while maintaining the highest 4-Star Charity Rating (Exceptional) for 18 consecutive years from Charity Navigator, the nation’s leading charity watchdog agency.  In addition, the American Kidney Fund has an “A Plus” rating from CharityWatch, adheres to the National Health Council Standards of Excellence, and is a member of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. 

As a country and a kidney community, the COVID-19 crisis has brought uncertainty and unprecedented challenges to all of us. Through these challenges, kidney disease hasn’t stopped and neither has the work of the American Kidney Fund.

In response to this crisis, we have activated a nationwide program, the American Kidney Fund Coronavirus Emergency Fund, to provide critically needed financial assistance in the form of $250 grants to low-income dialysis and recent transplant patients who are facing unexpected challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dialysis patients are at high risk for serious illness if they become infected with the virus because of their underlying medical conditions and they cannot postpone their life-sustaining dialysis treatments. Post-transplant patients take immunosuppressive medications that increase their susceptibility to diseases like the coronavirus.

Since launching the AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund in March 2020, AKF has provided over $2.5 million to more than 10,000 patients in need. In addition, we provided access to COVID-19 educational resources, which have been utilized by over 200,000 patients and caregivers.

Why does your charity exist?

Nearly 750,000 Americans are living with kidney failure. Of those, over 511,000 are on dialysis and 215,000 are living with kidney transplants. The number of people who need kidney transplants is far greater than the number of available donor organs. Nearly 97,000 people are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, but only about 24,000 kidneys were transplanted last year. 

Kidney failure devastates patients physically, emotionally, and financially.  Employment rates for U.S. dialysis patients have been reported as low as 20% because of the time-consuming treatments and impacts of the illness.  In 2019, the typical patient AKF assistd with treatment-related expenses had an annual household income of less than $25,000, yet faced out-of-pocket costs of nearly $9,000. 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. 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 6 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?

Kidney disease is striking Americans at a faster rate than any other non-communicable disease. For the 37 million people in the United States who are living with this serious condition, the American Kidney Fund is the trusted nonprofit that is fighting on all fronts—from prevention through transplant.

Through our programs that support early detection, disease management, innovation and clinical research, advocacy, and financial assistance, we are making a difference in more lives than any other kidney nonprofit. 

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 6 dialysis patients in the U.S. AKF also operates the nation’s largest free kidney health screening program, reaching more than 12,000 individuals at risk for kidney disease in 2019.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we activated a nationwide program, the American Kidney Fund Coronavirus Emergency Fund (CEF), to provide critically needed financial assistance in the form of $250 grants to low-income dialysis and recent transplant patients who are facing unexpected challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. AKF is covering 100% overhead for donations given to the Emergency Fund.

What have you accomplished?

Since launching the AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund in March 2020, AKF has provided $2.5 million to 10,000 patients in need. In addition, we are providing access to COVID-19 educational resources, which have been utilized by over 200,000 patients and caregivers.

In 2019, we provided:

  • Free kidney health screenings to more than 12,000 people in 30 cities nationwide. These screenings checked for indicators of kidney and heart health, diabetes and other important health measures. In our screenings, we found 22% of participants had elevated blood glucose levels, 72% had elevated blood pressure, and 10% had kidney function below normal levels.
  • Kidney Action Days in San Jose, Memphis and Houston. These major community outreach events bring free screenings and healthy living information to people at high risk for kidney disease. 
  • Direct financial assistance to more than 84,000 low-income dialysis and transplant patients in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and every U.S. territory. We helped nearly 74,000 patients in 2019 pay their health insurance premiums so that they could access the health care they need to stay alive, including dialysis and transplant. Our program helps patients with all types of health insurance, including Medicare Part B, Medigap, Medicare Advantage, employer plans and commercial plans.
  • 1,400 low-income dialysis patients had kidney transplants and post-transplant care with AKF’s financial support, a scope of assistance for kidney transplant that is unmatched in the nonprofit community. Each month, we help more than 100 people get off dialysis by providing financial assistance that makes transplants possible.
  • Through our Safety Net Program, more than 10,000 kidney patients were able to pay for transportation to dialysis, nutritional products, emergency assistance and other expenses not covered by health insurance.
  • We provided disaster relief assistance to more than 200 patients affected by hurricanes Barry and Dorian, as well as wildfires in California and flooding in Arkansas and Houston.
  • 66 children with kidney disease were able to attend specialized summer camps that are equipped to meet their medical needs thanks to our Summer Enrichment Program.
  • More than 3,350 health care professionals, patients and students registered to take AKF's 10 free, certified online courses to obtain continuing education about caring for people with, and at risk for, kidney disease.  In total, there were 5,600 course copmletions in 2019.
  • Over 100,000 people learned about living well with kidney disease by viewing our free monthly patient and caregiver webinars.
  • In excess of 36,000 AKF 2019 Dialysis Planners and Dialysis Guides were distributed to dialysis patients at their treatment facilities to help them in treatment self-management.
  • Our patient newsletter reaches about 85,000 dialysis and transplant patients quarterly with articles designed to inform and inspire.

In 2019 we launched three major educational campaigns:

  1. Kidney Kitchen, a one-stop resource designed to help put the joy back into food for patients who follow a restricted renal diet. Half a million Americans visited Kidney Kitchen to find recipes, grocery lists and other helpful information to help them stay on track with their dietary requirements.
  2. Beyond Bananas, an educational campaign designed to educate patients about the critical connections between potassium and kidney disease, with tools to help them have conversations with their care providers and resources to help them limit potassium in their diets.
  3. Know Your Kidneys, an education and awareness campaign that empowers individuals to fulfill their life’s possibilities by preventing kidney disease or slowing down its progression by understanding the central role of the kidneys in their overall health.
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 2019, we received our 18th consecutive "Four Star" rating from Charity Navigator, placing us in Charity Navigator's "Top 10" list of organizations with the most consecutive "Four Star" ratings.

In addition, the American Kidney Fund has an “A Plus” rating from CharityWatch, adheres to the National Health Council Standards of Excellence, and is a member of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.