The Kidney Foundation of Central Pennsylvania was founded in 1979 by Alyce Spector of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Spector was moved to establish an organization to serve patients with renal disease upon learning that two of her close friends were stricken with forms of kidney disease. Learn more about the history of KFCP.
Originally an affiliate of the National Kidney Foundation, KFCP was jump-started by a flurry of fund-raising events in the early years, organized by Mrs. Alyce Spector and about 50 of her colleagues and friends. Research was done to determine which services were most needed by the community. Most of the programs established in these early years formed the basis for the services provided today. Mrs. Spector and her colleagues built the KFCP endowment to over $50,000.00.
In 1981, KFCP broke its ties with NKF in order to focus all of its resources to addressing the needs of people and renal professionals in central Pennsylvania. Mrs. Spector served as KFCP's Executive Director until 1985. For several years, KFCP had no paid staff. Diane Lehrman served as KFCP Board President during those years and she and her board continued to provide basic patient and research funding services while carefully preserving the $50,000.00 endowment.
In 1992, a second Executive Director, Peggy Pierce, was appointed by the KFCP Board and served in this position for two years, with Dr. David Knutson serving as President of the Board. As a result of several fund-raisers during this time period, the endowment was doubled and patient service programs were expanded. Also during this period, KFCP helped to found and organize the Community Health Campaign (CHC), an organization that was comprised of major health agencies serving central Pennsylvania. The CHC is now folded into the United Way of the Capital Region as Associated Health Agencies.
In 1994, Dennis Ebright became president of KFCP and served for two years. During Mr. Ebright's tenure, the patient grant and patient workshop programs were strengthened and the professional seminar was certified for continuing medical education credits.
In August, 1995, J. Thomas Kidd assumed the position of Executive Director. Mr. Kidd continued to spread the word throughout central Pennsylvania about the work of KFCP. During this time, the official reach of the KFCP service area was expanded to include 28 counties. Mr. Kidd improved contact with all dialysis units in this region, encouraging them to take advantage of services provided by KFCP. He also helped regional universities and colleges to organize fundraisers for the benefit of KFCP.
In August, 1999, Steve Jones became the Executive Director and continued in this role for the next ten years, until April 2009. During his tenure, Steve launched a local vehicle donation program, added several fundraising programs, implemented an agency strategic plan, expanded the board and worked to increase the public visibility of the organization.
In July 2009, Patricia Bucek became the Executive Director. Soon after, the organization underwent a complete re-branding. A comprehensive strategic planning session held that year resulted in a reorganization of the committees and committee responsibilities, as well as adoption of a new mission and vision statement for KFCP. The organization's website was updated to reflect the new brand image, and emphasis was placed on increasing public awareness of kidney disease while promoting the work of the organization in central Pennsylvania through public service announcements and partnerships with local media. The organizational focus shifted away from funding clinical research and scholarships to expansion of direct patient services and community-based education and screening for kidney disease, where it remains today.
In 2014, the Patient & Family Partner Program received generous support by a grant from PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute) to Penn State College of Medicine (PI: Dr. Nasrollah Ghahramani) to study the impact of peer mentoring on the quality of life of patients with CKD and their caregivers.
In March 2015, the Kidney Foundation of Central Pennsylvania welcomed its newest Executive Director, Joan Line, who brought to the KFCP a strong healthcare background and new energy for continuing the growth of the programs and services being provided to the kidney community. Along with garnering support to help those in need, her focus has been to increase the awareness, prevention and importance of kidney health through community-based health education programs.
A key lesson learned from the many community outreach events that KFCP participated in or hosted is that our children and young adults do not understand the importance of their kidneys, what they do, how to take care of them or what happens when problems arise. KFCP consulted with local professionals to develop and publish a book on kidney health targeted towards children between grades three and five. Entitled 'Be Kind to Your Kidneys', our children’s book was released in September 2017.
In January 2018 the organization’s website www.kfcp.org was given a comprehensive redesign. Our goal was to enhance the growth of the KFCP via an innovative, engaging, and educational online resource in support of kidney patients, caregivers, families, medical providers/professionals and self-advocates whose lives are affected by chronic kidney disease. We continue to look forward to many healthy and happy years serving our community!