Nov 24, 2020
A Giving Series: The American Diabetes Association

As we approach the holiday giving season, DaVita teammates reflect on the importance and impact of healthy communities.


In 2011, DaVita Kidney Care instituted its giving program called DaVita Way of Giving (DWOG), with the goal of placing the company’s charitable giving into the hands of its teammates. Since then, DaVita teammates have directed more than $15 million to charities in their communities.


In the past, DaVita dialysis centers have donated to causes such as children’s organizations, crisis centers, animal shelters, food banks and many more. New this year, teammates had the opportunity to donate to one of three national organizations: The Arbor Day Foundation, The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and Reach Out and Read.


To guide its giving, DaVita asked its teammates to pick causes that mattered most to them. Each of the three national organizations were chosen based on the causes voted on by teammates – health equity, education and civic engagement.


DaVita Tinley Park Dialysis, located in the southern suburbs of Chicago, is one of 2,000 DaVita centers given the opportunity to participate in this year’s giving program. As a team, they chose to focus their giving around health equity.


On Sept. 1, DaVita’s Giving Council sent out the call for centers to apply to participate in the 2020 DWOG campaign. Ashley Frais, assistant facility administrator and registered dietitian at DaVita Tinley Park, helped coordinate her center’s application and facilitate discussion to decide which organization her team would donate to this year. The team considered several causes and ultimately decided their support would go to the cause that could most directly impact people managing their kidney health. The team unanimously decided to donate to the ADA and its Health Equity Now Initiative.


“We chose to donate to the ADA to show our support for this association and to help educate people on diabetes so they can prevent future complications, such as end stage kidney disease, and end up on dialysis,” says Frais. Diabetes is one of the most common causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD). In fact, 1 in 3 adults living with diabetes may also have CKD[MA1] , which, if left untreated, will progress to the point of needing dialysis or a kidney transplant to sustain life.


People on dialysis often live with multiple comorbidities. So when the team at DaVita Tinley Park was evaluating which cause to donate to, Frais said they looked at what was the common denominator affecting the majority of their patients.


Each center that participated in DWOG was given $1,000 to donate to the organization of their choice. In addition, DaVita matched personal donations made by teammates. This year, DaVita teammates donated more than $75,000 to the ADA’s Health Equity Now Initiative, which will provide 500 adults living with Type 2 diabetes guidance on emotional well-being, healthy eating, getting active and more through informational digital e-booklets and a monthly e-newsletter.


“Here’s to the teammates of DaVita who have chosen to support the important work of the American Diabetes Association and the march towards #HealthEquityNow,” says Tracey D. Brown, CEO for the American Diabetes Association. “Together, we know that actions are greater than words, unity is greater than division and equity is greater than prejudice. With your support, we will take an important next step in raising awareness around type 2 diabetes and linking those with chronic kidney disease with educational resources that will help manage or prevent diabetes.”


Many of the elderly patients at DaVita Tinley Park struggle to grocery shop for healthy foods, keep up with doctor’s appointments or receive the resources and education they need to manage their comorbidities, which is why, according to Frais, this opportunity to give back was so important to the team.


 “I think it’s fantastic,” says Frais. “I think it’s really cool that DaVita lets you and your team choose [what organizations to donate to]. I think it’s great that we all came together as a team to decide what impacts our patients the most.”


In addition, Frais says the program is a great way to get teammates involved in something other than their work at the center. Along with DWOG, DaVita teammates are encouraged to participate in community volunteer activities, called Village Service Days, where teammates plan and execute service projects for local nonprofits. As of 2019, DaVita teammates and their friends and families have contributed more than 161,000 volunteer hours[MA2]  to their communities.


DaVita believes that by creating a thriving community for its teammates, they will in turn, create a special place for their communities. Programs such as DWOG are only part of DaVita’s commitment to community. To learn more about DaVita's community engagement efforts, please visit

 [MA1]According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Chronic Kidney Disease Fact Sheet, 2019.