Blog post

AKF's Ambassador Community Engagement Awards program helps Ambassadors make a difference

AKF's recently launched Ambassador Community Engagement (ACE) Awards program was set up to provide funding for educational events for kidney disease, including rare kidney diseases, in-person or online.

American Kidney Fund (AKF) Ambassadors have been doing extraordinary work in their communities lately – from conducting seminars on kidney health, to hosting podcasts on kidney disease, to holding awareness events at various community centers, Ambassadors are deeply committed to spreading the word about kidney disease and improving the lives of people who live with this condition. 

These Ambassador-hosted events were made possible through AKF's recently launched Ambassador Community Engagement (ACE) Awards program, which was set up to provide funding for educational events for kidney disease, including rare kidney diseases, in-person or online. 

In the first year of the ACE Awards program, AKF was pleased to provide 10 Ambassadors with ACE Awards to fund their kidney awareness events, three of which we're excited to share more about here. 

Artise Carr ACE picture

Artise Carr – Chicopee, Massachusetts – Kidney disease awareness event at a local church

"I was on dialysis for 25 years and have had three kidney transplants," Artise said. "About two years ago, I decided to make kidney awareness t-shirts and sell them at farmer's markets and give them to dialysis patients. After I applied for and received an ACE Award, I used that funding to hold an event at my church, where I told people about my journey with kidney disease and discussed how we can improve kidney awareness in our community. I was honored to have the mayor of my city present at that event. Thanks to AKF, I feel I can make a difference." 

Tamara Walker ACE Award cropped

Tamara Walker – Athens, Georgia – Awareness event on kidney disease, high blood pressure and diabetes at a local church

"Receiving an ACE Award opened up avenues of communication between myself and my community," Tamara said. "I had asked my mayor to sign a proclamation to declare March as Kidney Disease Awareness Month in my town, and his office was wondering if there would be an event to accompany the declaration to share information about kidney disease with residents. AKF's ACE Award provided us with funding to hold a session on kidney disease, high blood pressure and diabetes at a community church, and to aid with radio advertisements on local stations. I was also able to make and print important informational handouts for the attendees. I'm so grateful that AKF introduced [the ACE Awards program] to help us prevent lives from being altered and lost due to lack of awareness around kidney disease." 

Sharron Rouse updated photo

Sharron Rouse – Fort Washington, Maryland – Kidney health awareness event at a local library

"In celebration of our fifth anniversary, Kindness for Kidneys hosted a gallery walk to showcase facts about kidney disease, dialysis and transplantation, and our journey as a nonprofit organization. We joined forces with Infinite Legacy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving and enhancing lives through organ and tissue donation, and they set up a table [at the event] to register participants who were interested in becoming an organ donor. We applied for an ACE Award to help offset some of the costs for the event, which took place at a local library, and the monetary support contributed to the overall success of the event and enabled us to secure the library room and additional posters for the gallery. It's so important to raise kidney health awareness in the community to promote kidney disease prevention. As an organization, we want people in our community to know that we exist and are ready to support them in any way we can." 

For more information on applying for an ACE Award, visit our website or contact Eric Vicks, director of patient advocacy, at


Jenni Muns

Jenni Muns is the associate director of communications at AKF.