Giving Life a Second Chance
Through Organ & Tissue Donation

How Does the Donor Program Work?

Image of Gift of Life Donor Program's headquarters in Center City Philadelphia.

Gift of Life Donor Program works with hospitals and families throughout the region to help make transplants possible for thousands of patients.

Learn more

Stay Connected with Gift of Life:

Image of email smallImage of fb smallImage of twitter smallImage of insta smallImage of G + smallImage of linked in smallImage of pinterest smallImage of wordpress smallImage of you tube small


David Nelson Jr Memorial Fund

The David Nelson Jr. Memorial Fund provides educational scholarships for children of deceased organ and tissue donors.

Image of 2016 Scholarship winners and members of the Nelson family (from left to right): David Nelson Sr, Davia Nelson, Maria Livecchi, Katie Connolly, Eve Austin, Alexandra Kowalski, Jessica Spangler, Kamilia Lewis and Patty Nelson.2016 Scholarship winners and members of the Nelson family (from left to right): David Nelson Sr, Davia Nelson, Maria Livecchi, Katie Connolly, Eve Austin, Alexandra Kowalski, Jessica Spangler, Kamilia Lewis and Patty Nelson.

On June 6, the Nelson family awarded 7 scholarships at Gift of Life Donor Program. Six of the winners and their families were present for the awards. Each student was awarded $1,000 to pursue their education. The 2016 winners are:

  • Evelyn Austin - attending St. John's University in New York City. Eve’s father, Kevin Austin, was a donor in 2015.

  • Katie Connolly - attending Villa Joseph Marie High School in Holland, PA. Kenneth Connolly, Katie’s father was a donor in 2013.

  • Alexandra Kowalski - attending St. Hubert's Catholic High School for Girls in Philadelphia, PA. Alexandra’s father, Henry Kowalski Jr., gave the gift of life in 2009.

  • Kamilia Lewis - returning to Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, PA. Her father, Karim Lewis, was a donor in 2010.

  • Maria Livecchi - going to DeSales University in Center Valley, PA. Charles Livecchi, Maria’s father, was a donor in 2015.

  • Jessica Spangler - getting her Doctor of Pharmacy at Thomas Jefferson University. Jessica’s father Charles Spangler was a donor in 2001

  • Tess Walsh - attending University of Delaware in Newark. Tess’s mother, Joan Walsh, gave the gift of life in 2014.

The Nelson family has provided these scholarships since 2009 and have awarded over $30,000 in scholarships for children of organ and tissue donors.

Join us for the 8th Annual David's Parrot Party Fundraiser on July 9! Details here!

David Nelson Jr. passed away suddenly in July 2006. During his journey, David’s compassion for others resulted in his decision to be an organ donor. Because of his courageous efforts, five other people have received organs necessary to save or improve their lives. While his loved ones continue to struggle daily with their grief, knowing that David was able to improve the lives of other people and their families eases their pain.

In his memory, David’s family and friends have established the David Nelson Jr. Memorial Fund. The Fund’s mission and purpose is to provide educational scholarships for surviving children of donor parents, in David’s spirit of compassion and giving. Awarding financial support to donor families provides an opportunity to “give back” to the true heroes – the donors – by supporting their children's educational goals.

The David Nelson Jr. Memorial Fund will annually award a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving child of a deceased donor parent or guardian. The funds will help pay for high school or college.

For more information, please visit The Fund's web site,

Application Criteria

  • Be a child of a deceased organ, tissue or cornea donor who was his or her parent or guardian
  • Be enrolled in a private or parochial high school OR presently enrolled in or accepted for the 2017 academic year to a 2 or 4-year college, university or trade/technical school
  • Reside in Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey or Delaware covered by Gift of Life Donor Program
  • Be under 25 years old
  • Use scholarship award for continuing education at private/parochial high school, accredited college, university or trade/technical school certificate program during 2017-2018 academic year
  • Provide a brief statement summarizing academic ambitions and extracurricular and/or volunteer activities
  • Provide two letters of reference from a non-relative (i.e. Teacher, Clergy)
  • Provide current transcript and/or acceptance letter from high school, college, university, or trade/technical school

Applications for 2017 are now open! Deadline for applications is March 31, 2017. Applications must be postmarked by this date.

Download 2017 David M. Nelson Jr. Scholarship Application

2017 David M. Nelson Jr. Scholarship Application - 87.5KB
This application is for the 2017 David Nelson Jr Memorial Scholarship. Children whose parent or guardian were deceased organ, eye or tissue donors are eligible.

I Dash For: David's Parrot Party and A. Way of Life

Patty Nelson's life changed forever when she lost her son suddenly. But through her grief, she has inspired hundreds of young adults, and her community to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation, in memory of her son David, who was able to give the gift of life to his recipients because of the life saving gift of organ and tissue donation.

Find Related Info
Family Services, Donors, Organ Donors

Delay = Death - Pass HB 30!

Image of hb 30 widget

Pennsylvania elected officials have a deadly pattern. Since 2014, they’ve blocked 28 people from becoming organ donors – after those people or their families made clear they wanted to give the gift of life. Help us pass House Bill 30!


Gift of Life Family House

Image of Family House Logo

Lodging and Support

Thousands of patients come to Philadelphia hospitals every year needing life-saving organ transplants. Family House will provide critically needed support programs and temporary lodging for organ transplant patients and their families.


National Donor Sabbath

Image of NDS 2016

National Donor Sabbath, observed annually in November, seeks to educate faith-based communities about the need for organ, eye and tissue donors. Order free materials to celebrate National Donor Sabbath, taking place Nov. 11-13!


iconRegister to Be a Donor

It’s easy to add the donor designation to your driver's license or state I.D. card. In Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Sign up today!

Image of donate life logo
Bookmark and Share
Donate For Life