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our story

foundation history

how it all began

In 1949 a small group of Chicago-area parents found their children diagnosed with juvenile kidney disease called childhood nephrosis. As their children fought for their lives, the parents resolved to join them in battle by supporting kidney disease research, and formed the Chicago League for Nephritic Children. They launched their effort by raising funds with doorbell campaigns, walks, and candy sales, and soon began enlisting significant support for sick children across the city.

In the early 1960's, members of the Chicago League for Nephritic Children banded with like-minded organizations across the country to become affiliates of the New York based National Kidney Foundation.  In 1964 the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois received its official charter, and became one of the founding affiliates of the NKF.

milestones in kidney health

achievements and accomplishments

1949.  The Chicago League for Nephritic Children is founded.

1954.  The first successful living kidney transplant is performed.

1964.  The National Kidney Foundation is established in New York City.

1968.  The Chicago League for Nephritic Children merges with the National Kidney Foundation, and is re-stablished as The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois (NKFI).

1968.  The NKFI works with the national office in the drafting and passing of the 1968 Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA). In decades to come, the UAGA distributes tens of millions of kidney donor cards throughout the country.

1972.  The National Kidney Foundation and its affiliates support the establishment of the End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) benefit for Medicare, providing federal government financing for nearly all Americans with kidney failure.

1973.  The Council of Nephrology Social Workers is established.

1980.  Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) is developed, an option for patients to administer dialysis themselves.

1984.  The NKFI supports the National Kidney Foundation and helps enable the passage of the National Transplant Act.

1985.  The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois hosts the first Gift of Life Gala.

1990.  The first NKFI Young Investigator research grant is awarded.

1997.  The NKF's Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP®), designed to detect kidney disease at its earliest stage, is developed.

2005.  First World Kidney Day is celebrated.

2006.  The NKFI's free, on-the-move screening program, KidneyMobile, hits the road.  KidneyMobile is the first-ever mobile screening unit of its kind.

2015.  The NKFI's Living with Kidney Disease and Transplantation education series expands to five programs, two offered exclusively in Spanish.

2017.  The NKFI support legislation in the state congress that would provide a tax credit to businesses who offer employees 30 days paid leave in order to be a living organ donor.

2018.  The KidneyMobile screens participant number 55,000,

the NKFI today

the work continues 

The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois is recognized as a multi-faceted, forward-thinking non-profit, and is proud to partner with a number of Illinois' top hospitals and health care organizations.  Through our community health programs, free screening initiatives, and work in educational outreach, we are able to pursue our mission throughout the state, provide resources to patients and families affected by kidney disease, and ensure communities are equipped to be effective advocates for their own health.

the NKFI of tomorrow

contribute to our next chapter

Patients and families grappling with kidney disease deserve a bright future - and the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois is determined to give it to them. Our resolve is steadfast, and with your support we will help scientists and researchers uncover new, better treatments for kidney disease, strengthen communities, and give patients the help they need.

get involved

Play a part in the work of the NKFI. Explore volunteer opportunities, advocacy, events, and more.

give a gift

Help create resources for patients and families, and fuel the future of research and treatment.

our vision

The NKFI is committed to improving the health and well being of people touched by kidney disease.

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