A Mandate for Life
At age 60, Steve Farber's kidneys were failing. His options were to find a new kidney, go on dialysis, or die. The successful lawyer soon learned that his stature and connections could help him move up the transplant list or even travel to a foreign country to buy a kidney from a matching donor — and that those without his means had fewer options and much bleaker outlook.
Farber eventually received a kidney from his eldest son. That was in 2004. The following year, Farber established the American Transplant Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people find the help they need to receive transplants from living donors. The foundation provides financial and personal support to recipients and donors alike, removing financial barriers to living donation and providing access to anti-rejection medication to help people receive much-needed transplants.
In 2011, the foundation provided critical financial assistance to 11 recipients and donors. In 2016 the foundation aims to serve 250 — a huge increase in patient service that is projected to provide over $111 million in economic impact from Medicare patient savings. At the same time, the foundation was expanding its programs and services offerings, such as creating a mentorship program that matches those in need with past recipients to help navigate the legal, medical, and emotional complexity involved in receiving a new kidney or liver.
With growth came challenges, however. Foundation employees previously used spreadsheets to track key information, but as the foundation grew this became an unsustainable approach. Off-the-shelf software programs were too expensive and complicated, meaning the foundation would have to divert much-needed dollars and resources to implementing and maintaining the system.