NKF Governance and Structure—WHO We Are, HOW We Work

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding, patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease in the US. Fueled by passion and urgency, NKF is a lifeline for all people affected by kidney disease. Relentless in our work, we enhance lives through action, education, and accelerating change.


Established almost 70 years ago, NKF has evolved into a shaping force within the world of kidney health. We were the first organization to define kidney disease as a distinct illness; a major supporter in the development transplantation and dialysis treatments; and a driving force in changing kidney disease from a terminal diagnosis to a treatable illness. The Foundation's milestones include advocating for the 1968 Uniform Anatomical Gift Act; helping create the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) benefit within Medicare; and developing the five-stage system of CKD diagnosis and treatment, the world standard today. NKF's CKDintercept platform is now finding millions of cases of undiagnosed earliest-stage kidney disease. NKF's THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE platform, is opening new opportunities for kidney transplants so that people are not dying on the wait list. And NKF is changing public awareness of kidney health through the Heart Your Kidneys Campaign.

In July 2019, with the influence and support of NKF, the Advancing American Kidney Health initiative was announced, comprising a bold vision for transforming kidney care, laying out a detailed plan to help increase living organ donation and deceased organ donation; increase earlier detection and earlier care of chronic kidney disease (CKD); and increase incentives to develop new and cutting-edge treatments for kidney disease, including advancing home dialysis.

Grassroots Beginnings, Volunteer-Driven

NKF began in 1950 with a single “volunteer,” Ada De Bold, a mother whose son suffered from kidney disease, and grew into a network of volunteers across the nation improving the lives of kidney patients and promoting kidney health. NKF is more than a Foundation—it is a movement. NKF volunteers include patients, families, living donors, and multidisciplinary professionals. Volunteers advocate in government, staff activities, contribute professional expertise, and help local offices. They are passionate because they know.

Leadership and Structure

The National Kidney Foundation, a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organization with main offices in New York City, is governed by a Board of Directors, led by a Chair and President, who are elected by the Board to 2-year terms. The Chairman and President oversee a salaried CEO. NKF employs salaried and hourly professional staff at its National and local offices, covering its mission and operations, including scientific activities, professional and patient education, constituent services, government advocacy, communications and marketing, and fundraising and program development.

The NKF Board of Directors, the governing body of NKF, consists of nephrologists, transplant surgeons and other kidney healthcare team members, civic leaders with diverse business expertise, volunteers, and people affected by kidney disease. The Board of Directors includes the following representatives: one person with kidney disease, three national Affiliate or Division representatives, an NKF volunteer, a member of the NKF Professional Councils, a representative of the medical or healthcare profession, and a community member. The NKF Board designates several committees to cover operational and mission-related areas: executive, audit, compensation, governance, public policy/advocacy, and scientific advisory.

NKF Professional and Constituent Organizations

NKF's Executive and Governance Committees, and National staff oversee several Professional and Constituent Councils and Committees that connect the Foundation directly to the people we serve, giving these groups a voice in operations.

NKF has several Professional Councils of disciplines in kidney healthcare, including the Council of Nephrology Nurses and Technicians, Council of Nephrology Social Workers, Council on Renal Nutrition, Council of Advanced Practitioners, and pharmacists. We also offer professional membership and a Fellowship designation to nephrologists, physicians, and residents.

Online Constituent Communities (NKF Kidney Disease Community; NKF Dialysis Community; NKF Transplant Community; NKF Kidney Donor Community; NKF Parents of Children with Kidney Disease) communicate with constituents and keep the Foundation connected to patients, families, and caregivers.

NKF Kidney Advocacy Committee (KAC) is NKF's patient advocacy and engagement program. KAC is a growing group of nearly 200 elite patient liaisons who use their personal experiences and expertise to inform public policy makers about the daily reality of living with kidney disease for millions, and advocate for kidney-related legislation, policies, research, programs, and education. They participate in an array of activities to change kidney disease health policy, improve care, quality of life, and treatment of kidney disease. Additionally, they educate other Americans about CKD.

NKF advocates meet with their federal and state elected officials to build support for legislation in Congress and their state capitals—such as preventing insurance discrimination against living organ donors, state tax credits to address barriers to living organ donation, and increased funding for programs to research and treat CKD. KAC advocates serve as speakers on panels, co-chairs of conferences, focus group participants, patient research reviewers for NKF, as well as other stakeholder organizations including government, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, and other kidney-related groups.

Field Offices

NKF has 36 local offices located in 5 national Regions across the United States, covering most states. NKF Local/Regional Offices (26), run by NKF staff and volunteers, are led by local boards, are directly part of NKF's structure, and report to the National Office. 10 NKF Affiliates (AZ, FL, HI, IL, IN, LA, MI, Central NY, UT & ID, WI) are independent, locally incorporated charters, sharing NKF's name and the same basic mission.


64% of our revenue comes from the people we serve—patients, family members, friends, and other individuals or public groups supporting our mission. NKF raises support though events such as NKF Kidney Walks and NKF Konica Minolta Golf tournaments, employee match giving programs, social media and email campaigns, corporate sponsorships and partnerships, and other sources of support. 83c out of every dollar goes directly to programs and services.

Our Priority

To mobilize the fight for public health through education, research, and innovation, while relentlessly advocating for all kidney patients. We were there first, and continue to be there first for kidney patients, making every effort possible to advance the goal of kidney health. For more information visit kidney.org.