FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ROCKVILLE, Md. (March 20, 2020) —The American Kidney Fund (AKF) has established a Coronavirus Emergency Fund to provide critically needed financial assistance to low-income U.S. dialysis and transplant patients who are facing unexpected expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. AKF has reallocated $300,000 from its existing budget to provide emergency assistance to patients for food, transportation and medications, and the organization is raising additional funds from the public. 100% of all donations will go directly to patients in need, not overhead.
The AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund will provide a grant of $250 to any U.S. dialysis or recent kidney transplant patient who applies to AKF and demonstrates financial need. AKF will begin accepting applications for assistance on Monday, March 23, 2020.
“The health crisis in our country is unprecedented, and vulnerable kidney failure patients are facing enormous risks and challenges,” said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. “They are losing their jobs. They have had to stop using public transit to get to their treatments, incurring costs they cannot afford. Patients with compromised immune systems need help obtaining groceries and other essentials safely. We need to do everything we can to help.”
Dialysis patients are at high risk for serious illness if they become infected with the coronavirus because of their underlying medical conditions. They cannot postpone their life-sustaining dialysis treatments. In addition, they are required to follow a restricted diet. Post-transplant patients take immunosuppressive medications that increase their susceptibility to diseases like COVID-19. AKF has a longstanding Disaster Relief Program for patients affected by natural disasters in specific locations, but this is the first time that the organization has activated a nationwide emergency grant system.
Dialysis and transplant patients may get more information about applying for AKF emergency grants from their social workers or transplant coordinators. They may also apply on their own behalf by visiting http://gms.kidneyfund.org and filling out a profile in AKF’s grants management system. Patients who are already receiving AKF financial assistance may use their existing AKF grants management system profile to apply.
AKF has also established a special webpage, KidneyFund.org/coronavirus, with information and resources to help patients and families through this challenging period.
AKF projects that grant requests may exceed the level of assistance the organization has provided to patients after major hurricanes. In 2017, AKF provided $850,000 to more than 3,800 dialysis patients affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and in 2018 provided nearly $300,000 to almost 1,800 patients primarily in the paths of hurricanes Florence and Michael. The organization is reaching out to corporations, foundations and the public for support for the AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund.
Any individual who would like to make a contribution to the AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund may donate at www.kidneyfund.org/emergency.
About the American Kidney Fund
As the nation’s leading independent nonprofit working on behalf of the 30 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling the nation’s low-income dialysis and transplant patients to access lifesaving medical care. AKF holds the highest ratings from the nation’s charity watchdog groups, including Charity Navigator, which includes AKF on its “top 10” list of nonprofits with the longest track records of outstanding stewardship of the donated dollar, and GuideStar, which has awarded AKF its Platinum Seal of Transparency.