History

December 1969 a small group of physicians, businessmen, patients and their family members held the first meeting of the Nashville chapter of the Tennessee Kidney Foundation.  “Our purpose will be to focus on the problem of kidney disease and to provide opportunities to save the lives of its victims.” said John Jay Hooker Jr. at a press conference.

1969       John Jay Hooker Jr. of Performance Systems Inc. was named the first chairman of Nashville Chapter of the Tennessee Kidney Foundation an Affiliate of the National Kidney Foundation.  The announcement was made by Dr. Earl Ginn, a founder of the Tennessee Kidney Foundation.

The State of Tennessee Legislature passed the Anatomical Gift Act, which made it possible to donate organs.

1970       Judge Sam Galloway and State Senator James Robertson began to draft the bill that would provide space for organ donation information on the Tennessee driver’s license. Dr. Earl Ginn and Dr. Wendell Clipp were leaders in making this legislation become a reality.

1971       Mid South Kidney Foundation worked to lobby the State of Tennessee for a program to be put in place that would provide financial assistance for Tennesseans with renal failure.  They helped form the State of Tennessee Renal Disease Advisory Committee.

1972       In November, the Nashville chapter of the Tennessee Kidney Foundation received an affiliate charter from the National Kidney Foundation and became the NKF of Middle Tennessee.

End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) benefit within Medicare is established providing federal government financing for nearly all Americans with kidney failure, the only federally funded chronic disease care program to date.

1973       On behalf of the Kidney Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Dr. Earl Ginn accepted an award from the National Kidney Foundation. The national award was presented to the state for advances made in the kidney program, including leading other states in printing organ donor forms on the backs of drivers’ licenses.

Ernest Conner Jr. is replacing John Cail as the new Executive Director of the Kidney Foundation of Middle Tennessee by Hewitt Rogers, Assistant Director of Vanderbilt Hospital and President of the Kidney Foundation.

1974       Miss Sandy John Thomas began the pilot program at Jackson County High School to educate children on the importance of kidney disease.  Miss Thomas visits students in science and chemistry classes in schools throughout the 40 counties of Middle TN.  The program was the first in the country set up under the regional Medical Program and the National Kidney Foundation.

Governor Winfield Dunn proclaims April to be “Kidney Month” in Tennessee

Dolly Parton is named the Fund-raising chairman for the Kidney Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

1978       The first “Great Pumpkin Ball,” a fund-raiser for the Middle Tennessee Kidney Foundation, was held at the Hyatt Regency ballroom and raised $6,500 for the foundation.

1979       Judge Wilburn Kelley Jr., of Williamson County, signs the proclamation making the month of March “Kidney Month”.

Mrs. Irving Silver, a member of the board of the Kidney Foundation of Middle Tennessee, is named to the Renal Disease Advisory Committee of the state Department of Public Health.

1981       In March of this year CMA teamed with the National Kidney Foundation to host its first annual country music radiothon.  This is the first time CMA had ever lent its support to a national event of this kind, and the first national public education and fundraising event in the foundations history.  Charlie Daniels and Brenda Lee          co-chaired the event that involved more that 125 radio stations.  This radiothon would spark the Country Music Festival.

1982       The Uptown Hoedown hosted by the National Kidney Foundation of Middle Tennessee became the Country Music Festival’s kick off event.   Mrs. Lamar Alexander was the 1982 Uptown Hoedown honorary chair and Johnny and June Carter Cash co-chaired the music festival.

1983       Powerful new anti-rejection drugs enable thousands more to benefit from kidney transplantation.

1984       National Transplant Act passes.

1986       The first Kidney Kaper was held at the Vanderbilt Plaza hotel.

1990       First U.S. Transplant Games are help in Indianapolis, IN.

1991       The first Cadillac Invitational Golf Tournament was held at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs

1995       The National Kidney Foundation of Middle Tennessee received an award from the National Kidney Foundation for singular achievement in public education for the “Trees of Life” tribute held on November 20 in Centennial Park honoring organ and tissue donor s and their families.  Mary Lynch Jarvis of Franklin received an award posthumously for her years of dedicated service.  Kenneth W. Snell of Murfreesboro also received an award for his organizing the Cadillac Invitational Golf Tournament in Murfreesboro.

2000       First ever “Gift of Life Walk” is held at Crockett Park in Brentwood, TN.

The Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) is launched.

2002       The Gift of Life Walk becomes Kidney Walk.

2006       The NKF of Middle Tennessee receives the Center for Non-profit Management Salute to Excellence 2006 Nashville Business Journal Excellence in Communications Award.

2007       The NKF of Middle Tennessee receives the Center for Non-profit Management Salute to Excellence 2007 The Frist Foundation Award for Achievement-Making a Difference.

2009       The National Kidney Foundation of Middle Tennessee became the Tennessee Kidney Foundation (TKF)

2014        The first Spring Soiree, a black tie gala, was held at the Omni Nashville to raise funds for TKF and became the new signature event for the organization