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Kidney donation can be confusing...

In our many years of experience, we’ve heard all the questions. Below are some of the most commonly asked, but if you want to know more, you can always contact someone from our team, and we’ll be happy to get you clarity on the subject. 


What is Kidneys for Communities?

  • Kidneys for Communities is shaping the future of living kidney donations through its new Community-Directed Donation™ approach, that harnesses the power of membership-based organizations. 
  • Simply by enrolling with Kidneys for Communities, membership-based organizations can impact the more than 100,000 people waiting on the organ donor list.
  • Kidneys in Common is a nonprofit started by leaders in the field of renal transplantation who established the Kidneys for Communities program within the organization to tackle the living-kidney-donor shortage. Their experience, passion and perseverance to increase living kidney donations led to the creation of Kidneys for Communities. Meet our team.
  • *Journal of Kidney (2016), 2:2. Demographic Characteristics of Non-directed Altruistic Kidney Donors in the United States.
    **Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States, 2019.


What is Community-Directed Donation?

  • Many have seen the heartwarming stories of community compassion, such as the teacher who donated a kidney to another educator prior to ever meeting in person. While this power of connection and shared interest is a familiar story, kidney donation is often left to happenstance or individual outreach efforts.
  • The most common ways people choose to donate a kidney are either directly to someone the donor knows or indirectly through an anonymous donor exchange program. Altruistic donations account for only 3% of the annual living donor pool of transplanted kidneys in the United States. Strangers helping strangers, while needed, is not so common.
  • Chronic kidney disease impacts approximately 37 million adults in the United States.
  • The Kidneys for Communities program creates an opportunity to bridge the gap between people who may not know each other, but who share the same community and want to help.


What does Kidneys for Communities do for organizations? 

  • Through Kidneys for Communities, organizations are finding new ways to impact the lives of their members. Once enrolled, Kidneys for Communities provides the organization’s leadership team with a customized toolkit that includes resources they can easily share with their membership, increasing the chances of matching those who are in need of a kidney with those who want to help.
  • The power of a community saves lives. Most Americans who receive kidneys from living donors either know or are associated with the donors through what we call “communities.” This starts with family and close friends, who account for about 80% of living donations. 
  • The next group includes members of the recipient’s extended family or “community,” such as people who belong to fraternal, veteran, union, faith-based organizations or places of employment. These communities respond and want to help because they heard about the need through their membership channels. Kidneys for Communities streamlines this process. 
  • Through Kidneys for Communities, organization leaders can strengthen the value of their membership without the time and staff commitment of developing a new program from the ground up.


How does Kidneys for Communities support organization members who are in need of a kidney donation or want to help? 

  • Kidneys for Communities works with possible donors and/or people in need of a kidney through partners including the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation. If a member is in need of a kidney or if a member is interested in helping another member, they simply need to reach out to Kidneys for Communities. 
  • Through the Kidneys for Communities partnership with the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation, a person can donate their kidney, even if they are not a direct match with the member in need. 
  • Think of a paired donation as a voucher program. A person can donate their kidney on a member’s behalf, allowing for the member in need to be entered into a pool, which can then find a match for the member. 
  • This action creates a chain that allows for at least two people in need to receive a kidney: the member of the respective community and another recipient in need.  
  • Paired kidney donation is based on economist and Nobel Prize-winner Alvin Roth’s algorithm, which matches one incompatible pair of kidneys with another. 
  • To find out more about paired donation, the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donations and its process, visit