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Race and Organ Donation

Gift of Life is committed to providing knowledge and resources to community members to make sure everyone is informed about correct organ and tissue donation information.

Join us throughout the month of August in celebrating National Minority Donor Awareness Month.


Learn more below on what you need to know about race and organ donation.

Gift of Life Donor Program and rapper Freeway promote organ donor awareness with radio partner Power 99.
Closing the Donation Gap

Although organs are not matched according to race/ethnicity, and people of different races frequently match one another, all individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving one if there are large numbers of donors from their racial/ethnic background. This is because compatible blood types and tissue markers—critical qualities for donor/recipient matching—are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity. A greater diversity of donors may potentially increase access to transplantation for everyone.

Patients from communities of color make up more than half – 60% – of the national waiting list for a life-saving transplant.

Organ Donation among African Americans
  • 29% of people waiting for life-saving organ transplants in the nation are African American.
  • In 2019, 15% of the organ donors in Gift of Life’s region were African American.
  • In the 25-44 year-old age group, the rate of African Americans who have kidney failure caused by high blood pressure is 20 times higher than Caucasians.
  • African Americans are three to four times more likely to progress to end stage renal disease for chronic kidney disease than Caucasians.

Organ Donation among Asians
  • Nearly 10,000 of those on the national waiting list are Asian/Pacific Islander
  • There were 2,356 Asian/Pacific Islander organ transplant recipients in 2019
  • In 2019, there were 345 deceased and 329 living Asian/Pacific Islander donors

Organ Donation among Hispanics
  • In 2019, 9% of the organ donors in Gift of Life’s region were Hispanic.
  • Nearly 23,000 of those on the national waiting list are Hispanic/Latino
  • There were 6,707 Hispanic/Latino organ transplant recipients in 2019

*All data based on OPTN data as of May 2020.