Press release

American Kidney Fund Coronavirus Emergency Fund Nears 7,000 Applications from Low-Income Kidney Patients; Recognizes Generous Corporate Donors Helping to Meet Unprecedented Need for Assistance

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Spherix Global Insights join list of corporations, foundations and associations stepping up to help reduce massive gap between applications received and available funding

ROCKVILLE, Md. (April 16, 2020)  — In its third week of providing emergency grants to low-income dialysis and post-transplant patients struggling to afford renal-friendly food, transportation, medications and medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Kidney Fund (AKF) today announced its Coronavirus Emergency Fund has a funding shortfall of more than $1 million as it continues to receive an unprecedented number of applications. AKF today announced generous gifts from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Spherix Global Insights, who join a growing list of corporations, foundations and associations that have stepped up to help vulnerable kidney patients.

AKF has received nearly 7,000 applications for assistance. Because the need far outpaces available funding, AKF is placing patients on a waiting list and fulfilling grants as funding becomes available. The organization is continuing its urgent appeal to corporations, foundations and individual donors to replenish the fund, with 100% of all donations going directly to patients in need, not overhead. Contributions to the AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund may be made at

"We are incredibly grateful to Alnylam, Mallinckrodt and Spherix for recognizing the great need among low-income kidney patients struggling through this emergency," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. "Patients are expressing profound gratitude for a hand up at a time when anxiety and fear are their watchwords and they struggle more than ever to make ends meet. Alnylam, Mallinckrodt, Spherix and every other corporation, foundation, association and individual supporting the AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund are truly a lifeline for them."

AKF's Coronavirus Emergency Fund provides grants of $250 to U.S. dialysis or recent kidney transplant patients who apply to AKF and demonstrate financial need, as funding becomes available. Emergency fund applicants over overwhelmingly poor and members of racial and ethnic minorities — groups that are have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. More than 85% of applicants have annual household incomes under $36,000, and 74% are members of racial and ethnic minorities.

Patients say the emergency grants are needed to pay for renal-friendly foods (65%) and transportation (23%). Dialysis patients must adhere to a strict diet; they typically cannot stock their pantries at a food bank or with low-cost canned or prepared foods because those foods tend to be high in sodium and minerals like phosphorus and potassium that are severely restricted in the renal diet.  Patients who dialyze in-center must travel to receive treatment three times per week; many are not able to use public or shared transportation in order to minimize their potential exposure to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

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 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. All new applicants will be placed on the waiting list until funding becomes available.

AKF has also established a special webpage,, with information and resources to help patients and families through this challenging period.

AKF is a 4-Star rated charity that is included on Charity Navigator's list of highly rated nonprofits providing emergency assistance in communities. Any individual who would like to make a contribution to the AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund may donate at

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.

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