9 Best Charities That Fight Kidney Disease (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities That Fight Kidney Disease (Complete 2022 List)

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Diana Stancu

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Kidney disease affects around 37 million people in the US alone, and almost 90% of them are unaware that they have a kidney issue. Furthermore, approximately 1 in 3 American adults are vulnerable to developing kidney disease but they lack the educational resources and support they need to lower their risk. Fortunately, charities are working hard to educate the public and help researchers to find treatments for kidney disease. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that fight kidney disease?

The best charities that fight kidney disease are the American Kidney Fund, the National Kidney Foundation, and Northwest Kidney Centers. Charities like the Kidney Cancer Association, PKD Foundation, and NephCure Kidney International focus on specific types of kidney diseases.

Whether you want to ensure every patient with kidney disease has access to the support they need, make sure every healthcare professional has the correct equipment and training they require to effectively treat patients with kidney disease, or you simply want to support innovative discoveries in kidney disease, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that fight kidney disease are all about, how they work, and what would be your best way to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Fight Kidney Disease Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their achievements, impact, and transparency ratings. They operate primarily in the US, but their efforts help to improve the lives of kidney disease patients worldwide.

All the charities below work to raise awareness of the severity of kidney disease and improve outcomes for patients. They organize support groups, share educational resources, and unite patients across global communities. They also fund treatment options like dialysis and kidney transplants to improve patients’ life quality. In addition, they offer research grants to nephrologists and other investigators to improve existing treatments and explore possible cures.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Fight Kidney Disease

Below are our favorite charities that fight kidney disease:

  • American Kidney Fund
  • National Kidney Foundation
  • Kidney Cancer Association
  • American Association of Kidney Patients
  • Northwest Kidney Centers 
  • PKD Foundation
  • KidneyCure
  • NephCure Kidney International
  • American Society of Nephrology

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

American Kidney Fund: Fighting on All Fronts 

The American Kidney Fund was founded in 1971 by a group of friends to raise funds for dialysis treatment and support patients with kidney failure. Today, the charity is America’s leading kidney nonprofit supporting people at risk of, or living with, kidney disease. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the American Kidney Fund a 4-star rating, with a perfect score of 100% on three different metrics. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

Our vision is a world without kidney disease. Until that day comes, we believe that every kidney patient should have access to health care, and every person at risk for kidney disease should be empowered to prevent it.”

American Kidney Fund

What they do: The American Kidney Fund helps at-risk individuals to prevent or slow the progression of kidney disease through educational resources. They also assist patients with treatment-related expenses, safety funding, and healthy-living advice, or help them join clinical trials. Moreover, they fund kidney transplants and assist recipients during the recovery period. In addition, they invest in research projects for understanding and curing kidney disease and advocate for policies that protect the rights of patients and living donors.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the American Kidney Fund has developed a network of 51 scientists that advance nephrology research. For example, in 2021, the charity funded 157 kidney transplants a month, or 7% of all kidney transplants in the US. In the same year, they helped more than 80,000 dialysis and transplant patients to afford health care coverage and other treatment-related expenses, thus assisting one in six Americans needing dialysis. They also provided $450,000 in grants to more than 2,400 kidney patients affected by natural disasters and added 17,000 more kidney donors to their network. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the American Kidney Fund on their website. You can also contribute by participating in their fundraising events or advocating for kidney patients. In addition, you can join their training to become a Kidney Health Coach

National Kidney Foundation: A Lifeline for Kidney Disease Patients

The National Kidney Foundation was founded in 1964 by Ada and Harry DeBold to find a treatment for nephrosis after their infant son was diagnosed with the condition. Today, the charity is a pioneer in scientific research that advances knowledge about chronic kidney disease, treatments, and patient outcomes. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The National Kidney Foundation has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator, with a 100% score on three different metrics. GuideStar gives them the Gold Seal of Transparency. 

Fueled by passion and urgency, we are a lifeline for all people affected by kidney disease. Relentless in our work, we enhance lives through action, education and accelerating change.

National Kidney Foundation

What they do: The National Kidney Foundation works to reach those at risk before kidney disease occurs. They do this by offering educational tools to help maintain a healthy lifestyle and seek out preventive testing. They also aid those in the early and advanced stages of kidney disease with instructional resources, helplines, and a patient-to-patient mentorship program. In addition, they fund kidney transplants nationwide and assist both the recipient and the donor. Furthermore, they offer grant opportunities to researchers supporting the treatment of kidney disease and give kidney professionals access to clinical resources.

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, the National Kidney Foundation has invested over $200 million in 45 studies to support the treatment of kidney disease. They have also created the world’s largest dataset on patient outcomes and their American Journal of Kidney Diseases is now the main clinical resource for kidney science. Furthermore, in 2003, they established the organization that set the worldwide practice guidelines for kidney disease. And in 2020, their Kidney Early Evaluation Program reached 250,000 screenings and they educated tens of thousands of at-risk individuals on how to protect their kidneys by making healthy lifestyle choices.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the National Kidney Foundation on their website. You can also contribute by volunteering or joining their fundraising events. In addition, you can buy their merchandise or provide care packages to dialysis patients.

Kidney Cancer Association: Strong Alone. Unstoppable Together.

The Kidney Cancer Association was founded in 1990 by Eugene Schonfeld to promote scientific advances in nephrology and kidney education globally. Today, the charity is the largest advocacy group working to prevent and cure kidney cancer. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Kidney Cancer Association has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, with a 100% score for the Financials and Transparency metrics. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

We are a global community dedicated to serving and empowering patients and caregivers, and leading change through advocacy, research, and education.”

The Kidney Cancer Association

What they do: The Kidney Cancer Association combats kidney cancer by supporting patients and caregivers with vital information and supportive resources, such as the Just Diagnosed Toolkit. They also fund grants to nephrology researchers exploring further discoveries and innovations in the field. Furthermore, they provide educational opportunities to healthcare professionals worldwide, like scientific symposiums and accredited learning sessions. In addition, they run legislative programs that empower individuals to advocate for kidney research funding through letter-writing campaigns.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Kidney Cancer Association has continued to provide support to kidney cancer patients. For example, from 2016 to 2021, they helped increase government funding for kidney cancer research from $10 million to $50 million. In 2020, their Kidney Cancer Symposium reached 576 people from 39 states and 21 countries. Moreover, in 2021, they funded nearly $1,4 million in kidney cancer research across seven grant programs worldwide. In the same year, they launched a virtual monthly support group and a fund for financially struggling patients.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the Kidney Cancer Association on their website. You can also sign up for their monthly newsletter, fundraise, or buy their merchandise.

American Association of Kidney Patients: The Independent Voice of Kidney Patients

The American Association of Kidney Patients was founded in 1969 by six dialysis patients to improve the lives and long-term outcomes of people living with kidney disease. Today, they are the largest independent kidney patient organization in the US. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The American Association of Kidney Patients has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

We want to ensure that patients have a seat at the table when decisions are being made that affect their care, choice and outcomes.”

The American Association of Kidney Patients

What they do: The American Association of Kidney Patients works to support patients living with kidney disease by educating them on medical treatments like dialysis or transplantation. They also offer peer mentorship programs and direct vulnerable patients toward promising clinical trials. In addition, they work to foster kidney patient communities through support groups, national patient meetings, or global summits. Moreover, they grant patients national awards and help with further education or employment opportunities. They also push for legislative changes by empowering patients to advocate for better care services, such as the Medicare End Stage Renal Disease Program that offers funds for dialysis and kidney transplants. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the American Association of Kidney Patients has saved more than one million lives through their Medicare End Stage Renal Disease Program. They have also created the annual “AAKP RENALIFE” magazine to inform and engage patients nationwide. For example, in 2021, their 46th Annual National Patient Meeting reached 25 countries and featured 60 kidney professionals that provided over 20 educational sessions. In the same year, their 4th Annual Policy Summit included more than 15 advocacy sessions from 30 professionals and engaged 170 patient ambassadors

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the American Association of Kidney Patients on their website. You can also join the Association, participate in their advocacy campaigns, or visit their online store

Northwest Kidney Centers: Live. Learn. Hope. 

Northwest Kidney Centers, initially named the Seattle Artificial Kidney Center, was founded in 1962 by Belding Scribner to create the world’s first dialysis organization. Today, they are a leader in kidney disease treatment and research worldwide.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Northwest Kidney Centers has a 100% Encompass rating for Finance & Accountability from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Bronze Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

Our mission is to promote the optimal health, quality of life and independence of people with kidney disease through patient care, education and research.”

Northwest Kidney Centers

What they do: Northwest Kidney Centers fights kidney disease by offering critical treatments to patients in need. For example, they provide community dialysis treatments across multiple centers, with qualified staff that support patients during the entire process. They also assist patients that choose home dialysis by supplying equipment and offering training or visits from nurses. Moreover, they guide patients that decline traditional treatments through their team of professionals in palliative care. The charity also conducts research projects to improve the quality of treatments and the number of patients they reach.

What they’ve achieved: Today, Northwest Kidney Centers has a network of 20 dialysis centers across the great Seattle area. They also have 70 hospital staff members that provide over 10,000 dialysis treatments each year across eight hospitals. For example, in 2021, they provided more than 280,000 dialysis treatments to nearly 2,000 patients in centers or at home. In the same year, they funded 56 kidney transplants and invested $430,000 in kidney disease research. They also educated 1,500 people through awareness campaigns while their 500 volunteers aided patients across 3,800 volunteering hours.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Northwest Kidney Centers through their website. You can also contribute by volunteering or fundraising. In addition, you can join their team or consider corporate giving.

PKD Foundation: Together, We Can Find a Cure

The PKD Foundation was founded in 1982 by Jared Grantham and Joseph Bruening to find a cure for polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Today, the charity is the only organization in the US solely dedicated to developing treatments for PKD.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The PKD Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. The charity also holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

Our mission is to give hope. We fund research, advocate for patients, and build a community for all impacted by PKD.

The PKD Foundation

What they do: The PKD Foundation supports people living with PKD by providing a comprehensive library of supportive resources for patients in all stages of the disease, from newly diagnosed to imminent kidney failure. They also run a virtual support group and empower patients through Patient Handbooks and an educational blog. Moreover, they connect patients to clinical trials and submit grants to researchers that accelerate treatments and curative developments in the field. They also advocate to advance legislation and federal funding opportunities that meet the needs of the PKD community. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the PKD Foundation has invested over $50 million in more than 1,300 research, clinical and scientific grants. For example, from 1999 to 2020, the foundation received $47 million in federal fundings, which they used to fund two major clinical trials and numerous preclinical projects. In 2021, they invested nearly $3 million in research grants and $1,2 million in awareness and advocacy campaigns. In the same year, they funded $1,4 million for their educational and supportive tools for patients. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the PKD Foundation on their website. You can also volunteer, fundraise, or participate in their Walk for PKD fundraising event

KidneyCure: Fund It. Find It. 

KidneyCure was founded in 2012 by the American Society of Nephrology to reduce kidney disease cases nationwide. Today, they are a leader in research funding and innovation in kidney care to prevent kidney disease and its related complications.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives KidneyCure a 100% Encompass rating for Finance & Accountability. The charity also holds the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

Our mission is to prevent and cure kidney diseases through research and innovation.

KidneyCure

What they do: KidneyCure fights to end kidney disease by funding research projects nationwide. They award independent grants to promising kidney investigators for clinical and basic research or to provide support in their careers. They also engage fellows and Ph.D. students to work in kidney research projects that support the finding of cures and medications. Furthermore, the charity funds clinical scholars to advance all facets of nephrology education and teaching, to shift the understanding and expertise of future kidney researchers. 

What they’ve achieved: Annually, KidneyCure provides approximately $3 million across 331 different grants to fight kidney disease and change the future of kidney care. For example, in 2019, they funded 204 “Transition to Independence” Grants which awarded each investigator $100,000 for two years of research. In the same year, they offered 99 “Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship” Grants which distributed $50,000 in funds to nephrology fellows. They also engaged 46 leading kidney researchers in 27 new projects and 19 continuing projects.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to KidneyCure on their website. You can also join their fundraising campaigns or apply for an independent research grant

NephCure Kidney International: Saving Kidneys, Saving Lives

NephCure Kidney International was founded in 2000 by a group of professionals to fund research and provide support to people affected by rare, protein-spilling kidney diseases. Today, they are the leader and primary advocate for the Nephrotic Syndrome community.

Their impact and transparency ratings: NephCure Kidney International has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and holds the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

We strive to support and facilitate translational research and empower patients across communities.”

NephCure Kidney International

What they do: NephCure Kidney International gives comprehensive support to people living with protein-spilling kidney diseases. They do this by offering resources and tools which support adult and child patients to manage the disease across all its stages, from diagnosis to remission or kidney failure. Furthermore, they provide connecting networks to patients and run an online support community. They also conduct virtual support groups for teen or adult patients and empower them to share their stories. In addition, they gather scientific resources for kidney health professionals, such as grant opportunities, clinical trial information, or research meetings.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, NephCure Kidney International has continued to fight protein-spilling kidney diseases. For example, in 2020, they invested over $1,7 million across all their programs for patients, families, or fellow researchers. In the same year, they funded $850,000 to improve the education and health of kidney disease patients and $870,000 in research projects and innovations. They also awarded numerous scientific grants worth $100,000 or $150,000 each, to support further research into Nephrotic Syndrome.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to NephCure Kidney International through their website. You can also contribute by volunteering or participating in their advocacy campaigns. In addition, you can connect with local NephCure Communities

American Society of Nephrology: A World Without Kidney Diseases

The American Society of Nephrology was founded in 1966 by Donald Seldin and Neal Bricker to support people with kidney diseases and bring critical cures to patients. Today, they are the world’s largest professional society devoted to studying kidney disease.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The American Society of Nephrology has a 100% Encompass rating for Finance & Accountability from Charity Navigator. GuideStar gives them the Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

We elevate kidney disease care by educating, researching, and promoting transformative changes in kidney medicine throughout the world.

The American Society of Nephrology

What they do: The American Society of Nephrology equips kidney health professionals with educational tools, such as live courses, distance learning, or self-assessment programs. They also offer grants to nephrology researchers and publish scientific journals to advance knowledge and share curative innovations. Moreover, they advocate for policies that protect critical fundings and patients’ needs. Through their “Excellence in Patient Care” program, the charity provides live, evidence-based care to kidney disease patients. In addition, their Kidney Health Initiative and KidneyX Partnership work to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases.

What they’ve achieved: Today, the American Society of Nephrology advances kidney disease research through their network of more than 21,000 kidney health professionals across the US. For example, in 2019, they funded over $26,5 million across research and training programs, and invested $9,3 million in educational resources for nephrology professionals and kidney disease patients. In the same year, their Kidney Health Initiative reached 100 member organizations and their ASN Kidney Week campaign gathered over 14,000 participants. Furthermore, 49 patient and physician advocates from the Society urged funding for the KidneyX project by meeting with 100 legislators.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the American Society of Nephrology on their website. You can also contribute by becoming a member of the Society or buying their merchandise.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that fight kidney disease. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to fighting kidney disease – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

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PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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Diana Stancu

Diana loves to research and write about topics that bring awareness to communities in need. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Sciences and considers herself a lifelong learner who strives to increase her knowledge and expertise. Outside of work, she enjoys writing fiction, creating cooking recipes, studying philosophy, and taking sunset photos.

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