ROCKVILLE, Md.(July 5, 2023) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) is pleased to announce a $250,000 grant from the Robert I. Schattner Foundation, a private charitable foundation whose contributions have enabled AKF to develop unique programs for children with kidney disease and to increase financial assistance to people with kidney failure in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland. With this most recent gift, the Robert I. Schattner Foundation has donated over $1 million to AKF to support programs directly benefitting the kidney community.
Since beginning its partnership with AKF, the Robert I. Schattner Foundation has primarily supported two programs that help those living with kidney disease face the significant physical, emotional, and financial burdens of living with a chronic disease: The Greater Washington Metropolitan Area Safety Net Financial Assistance Program and AKF's camp programs.
"We are deeply grateful to the Robert I. Schattner Foundation for their generous support over the years and are honored to partner with an organization that shares our desire to make a difference in people's lives," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "Thanks to the foundation, we have made a tangible impact through our Safety Net grants and pediatric programs that have created memories for many children throughout the country."
Specifically, the foundation's gift supports the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area Safety Net Financial Assistance Program, which provides grants to low-income dialysis and transplant patients to help pay for treatment-related costs that are not covered by health insurance, such as transportation to and from dialysis, prescription copays, over-the-counter medications, nutritional supplements and more. With the Schattner Foundation's support, AKF was able to increase the amount of these grants to $250. More than 40,000 people in the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area (Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia) live with kidney failure, and an estimated 80% of these residents cannot work due to their treatment regimen demands. Last year, thanks in part to the foundation's gift, AKF provided nearly $200,000 in grants to 614 kidney disease patients in need in the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area.
The foundation also notably supports programs for pediatric kidney patients. This spring, Camp All-Stars, held by Johns Hopkins Children's Center in collaboration with AKF, returned to an in-person event after the COVID-19 pandemic placed it on hold. Thetwo-day, in-person overnight camp was specifically designed to support children and young adults ages 10 – 21 years who have chronic kidney disease, are on dialysis, or have had kidney transplants. This unique camp offered participants all the fun of a traditional camp while also being equipped with the facilities and staff needed to handle the unique needs of pediatric kidney patients – from dialysis to dispensing medications – allowing campers to feel included, to step out of their comfort zone in a worry-free environment and just be kids. The foundation also supported a picnic last summer at Camden Yards for children with kidney disease and their families to bring their community together for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic for an afternoon of music, food, and arts and crafts stations.
In 2022, the Schattner Foundation's funding also helped AKF launch its first National Virtual Camp Program. Building on the success of the virtual camp program necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, AKF has continued the virtual camp experience, expanding it to include more children nationwide. Funding from the foundation supported various monthly activities and tablets for youth without computers or tablets to ensure each child is included and may participate.
The foundation also supported AKF's annual Calendar Kids Art Contest, in which kids and teens with kidney disease submit their original works of art to be featured in a calendar. Each year, one lucky contestant wins the chance to have their artwork featured on the calendar cover and is brought to Washington, D.C., to be honored at AKF's annual gala, The Hope Affair.
"On behalf of the Robert I. Schattner Foundation, we are so pleased to continue our support for AKF's vital programs that provide safety net grants to local residents in need of financial assistance and allow children living with kidney disease to have an in-person or virtual camp experience," said Robert H. Sievers, treasurer of the Robert I. Schattner Foundation. "Through our philanthropic partnership with AKF, we are proud to be a part of making such a positive impact on so many people who live with kidney disease."
The Robert I. Schattner Foundation was established by Dr. Robert I. Schattner, a local dentist, businessman, philanthropist, and inventor. He most notably invented Chloraseptic, one of the bestselling sore-throat medications on the market, and Sporicidin Disinfectant/Sterilant, product doctors, dentists, and hospitals use to sterilize and disinfect their instruments and equipment. Schattner died in 2017 from complications of kidney failure, but his legacy lives on through the foundation, which is dedicated to making education and dental care affordable and accessible to everyone.
About the American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.