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Living Donor Circle of Excellence

A unique corporate recognition initiative breaks down barriers to living organ donation.

One in ten Canadians live with kidney disease, and 100,000 people in North America are waiting for a kidney transplant. Too many will die while waiting on that list. Living donors provide 26% of transplant kidneys, which means organizations who make living organ donation easier for their employees save lives.

The Living Donor Circle of Excellence is a no-cost corporate recognition program offered by the Kidney Foundation of Canada in partnership with the American Society of Transplantation and Canadian Society of Transplantation. It encourages organizations to amend their human resource policies to include a minimum 80% salary coverage for up to four weeks’ recovery time for employees who wish to be a living organ donor.

“By joining this program, employers reduce a real financial burden facing potential living donors,” says Ramya Hosak, Director of Philanthropy with the Kidney Foundation, BC & Yukon Branch.

Some of the first to bring this opportunity to their employees from BC alone include Beedie, Aquatic Informatics, UBC, Fraser Health Authority, Provincial Health Services Authority, BC Maritime Employer’s Association, FPS Food Processing Solutions, Fibreco, Kinross Gold, Macdonald’s Renal Prescriptions, Pacific Coastal Airlines and Paladin Security.

“Finance Minister Katrine Conroy, a living kidney donor herself, attended our inaugural reception in 2022 and applauded the Living Donor COE program,” Hosak says. “In March 2023, she announced provincial funding to support the Living Donor COE program.”

Skully White, who famously donated a kidney to a customer of his gourmet hot dog stand, says becoming a living donor was “simply the right thing to do.”

Being a self-employed business owner, White had no financial help during his recovery. “The Living Donor COE is absolutely fantastic,” he says. “Living donors and recipients need as much support as possible, and the COE is a tangible way to help.”

Real estate developer and philanthropist Ryan Beedie implemented the Living Donor COE at Beedie in 2022.

“When I heard about this program, I thought it was brilliant,” he says. “To think there are people who want to give the gift of life but can’t due to wage restraint—that is heartbreaking.”

The program was easy to set up and Beedie employees were enthusiastic about its implementation.

He encourages other companies to give the Living Donor COE serious consideration. “Be an employer that shows your team that you care about greater society,” he says. “Raise awareness and bring the conversation around organ donation to the proverbial water cooler.”

The next Living Donor COE Awards Night is in November at the Mansion Lounge, Paradox Hotel in Vancouver, and is sure to be an inspiring night.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Living Donor COE can contact 778.863.0965 or or submit a request for information at .

Watch a recap of last year’s award ceremony and learn more at Kidney Foundation’s YouTube channel

Created by BCBusiness in partnership with Kidney Foundation, BC & Yukon Branch