American Kidney Fund
AKF fights kidney disease on all fronts, with programs supporting early detection, disease management, research, advocacy, and financial assistance. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk.
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- 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 innovation 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 across state legislatures..
- And, you help us give voice to the patient story.
This summary communicates how much we do every year. Plus, AKF is one of the nation’s highest-rated charities, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in patients and programs. We provide critically needed services while maintaining the highest 4-Star Charity Rating (Exceptional) for 20 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.
Roughly 807,000 Americans are living with kidney failure. Of those, more than 562,000 are on dialysis and 245,000 are living with kidney transplants. The number of people who need kidney transplants is far greater than the number of available donor organs. There are more than 90,000 Americans on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, approximately 26,000 kidneys were transplanted in the U.S. 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 2022, the typical patient AKF assisted with treatment-related expenses had an annual household income of just over $25,000, yet faced out-of-pocket costs of nearly $10,000.
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 through disease management education, award-winning public and professional health education materials, courses, webinars, andAKF’s virtual Kidney Action Week.
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 7 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.
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.
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 7 Americans living with kidney failure.
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 continued to meet the needs of kidney patients in 2022:
Financial Assistance Programs:
AKF provided financial assistance to more than 80,000 low-income dialysis and transplant patients.
- We helped over 73,000 patients in 2022 pay their health insurance premiums so that they could access the health care they need to stay alive, including dialysis and transplant.
- 1,767 low-income dialysis patients had kidney transplants and post-transplant care with AKF's financial support in 2022, representing roughly 7% of all kidney transplants performed in the U.S. last year--a scope of assistance unmatched in the nonprofit community. Each month, AKF helps 147 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 nearly 500 patients affected by Hurricane Fiona in Puerta Rico, Hurricane Ian in
- Florida, wildfires in New Mexico and flooding in Kentucky.
•Clinical Scientist in Nephrology (CSN) Program: For over 33 years, AKF’s CSN program has supported clinical research to improve the quality of care provided to kidney patients. To learn about the research of our 2022 fellows, Dr.Jillian Caldwell and Dr. Janewit Wongboonsin, please visit www.kidneyfund.org/training/clinical-scientist-in-nephrology/.org/.
· Advocacy: Thanks to the tireless advocacy of our wonderful network of more than 20,700 Ambassadors and our Government Affairs team, the American Kidney Fund (AKF) successfully advocated for policies that help improve the lives of those with kidney disease and living organ donors throughout 2022. Below are just some of the truly outstanding accomplishments we achieved last year:
1. We had more than 350 meetings with congressional and state offices and our AKF Ambassadors sent over 21,000 action alerts to state and federal legislators. The AKF Government Affairs team sent 13 comment letters to federal agencies on a number of issues important to the kidney community, such as immunosuppressive drug coverage, kidney disease screening and health equity.
2. AKF Ambassadors also conducted 65 virtual in-district meetings with their local lawmakers’ offices, building important connections with Congressional staff and informing them of the needs of the kidney community.
3. In May, we held our third annual virtual Kidney Action Summit. During the Summit, 37 AKF Ambassadors from 13 states met with their federal lawmakers’ offices on Capitol Hill for a total of 52 meetings with Congressional staff, including four meetings with members of Congress in attendance.
All these efforts led to increased support and cosponsors for AKF’s priority federal bills:
- The CARE for All Kidneys Act (H.R. 3893) would help create a national action plan and fund research and interventions for causes of kidney disease in underserved communities, including communities of color and rural communities. In 2022, sevencosponsors signed on to the bill.
- The Living Donor Protection Act (S.377 / H.R. 1255) would ensure living organ donors are protected from insurance discrimination and can take time off from work after organ donation surgery. In 2022, the bill gained 11 cosponsors in the Senate (S.377) and 74 cosponsors in the House (H.R. 1255).
- The Restore Protections for Dialysis Patients Act (S.4750 / H.R. 8495) would specify that private health insurers may not limit, restrict or condition benefits for renal dialysis services for individuals with end-stage renal disease as compared to other types of benefits for other medical conditions under Medicare secondary payer rules. In 2022, the bill gained two cosponsors in the Senate (S.4750) and 41 cosponsors in the House (H.R. 8594).
4. The 2022 state legislative sessions also produced many positive changes for living organ donors and people living with kidney disease. AKF was involved in the passage of 19 bills in 14 states, including seven bills that provide protections for living organ donors. These bills provide job-protected leave to living organ donors or provide employers with a tax credit if they provide employees with paid leave to recover from living organ donation surgery. These policies help to reduce barriers to living organ donation and make more organs available for transplantation.
5. AKF staff and AKF Ambassador efforts at the state level included 188 meetings with state lawmakers and their staff in 48 states, and 36 state legislative hearings in which AKF staff or AKF Ambassadors provided testimony.
6. In 2022, AKF launched its second annual State of the States: Living Donor Protection Report Card, which grades how well existing laws in each U.S. state and the District of Columbia encourage living organ donation and reduce barriers for living donors and tracks our progress in achieving these protections. AKF has led efforts at the state and federal levels to get living donor protection legislation passed for years. The Report Card highlights the need for federal legislation that establishes a uniform baseline of support for would-be donors, as states are currently operating with an uneven patchwork of living donor protection laws. Thanks to our groundbreaking Report Card, significant progress has been made in the states, moving the national grade average from a D to a C.
•Kidney Action Week: AKF held a virtual Kidney Action Week, to help people understand their risk for kidney disease and how to prevent it through webinars and online activities.
•The Hope Affair: A virtual program, AKF’s annual Hope Affair raised awareness for kidney disease and spotlighted extraordinary patients and friends in the community.
•Summer Enrichment Program: Virtual Bingo, paint nights, gingerbread houses, and Trivia allowed 250 kids with kidney disease to just be kids!
•Online Resources: Our online courses are designed to meet continuing education requirements for prescribers and allied health professionals. All courses are developed and peer reviewed by renal subject matter experts. Nearly 13,000 of AKF’s continuing education courses were completed by health care professionals and an additional 62,000 viewed our new, non-accredited professional webinar series. Nearly 1,300 people received training to become kidney disease educators in their communities, bringing our total number of Kidney Health Coaches nationwide to more than 6,400. Our patient newsletter reaches more than 62,000 dialysis and transplant patients quarterly with articles designed to inform and inspire.
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 2022, we received our 20th 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.