Care is in our name at Fresenius Kidney Care, and renal care extends far beyond the compassion we show to patients in thousands of centers. Kidney health education and raising kidney disease awareness are ways we demonstrate our commitment to improving health outcomes for our communities. As part of Fresenius Medical Care’s corporate citizenship strategy, we are helping communities in need build habits that will lead to healthier lifestyles and longer lives.
In 2022, we started a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) to share Fresenius Medical Care’s Kidney Kid with youth and show our commitment to health equity in action as we bring kidney health education to at-risk communities.
There are several elements to our $250,000 national sponsorship:
We support community health and wellness as a national supporter of BGCA’s Healthy Habits program, which reaches thousands of children across the U.S. The Kidney Kid initiative — an edutainment program that teaches children about their kidneys and the importance of kidney health through interactive media, materials, and activities — was delivered to select BGCA locations. With the help of the hero character The Kidney Kid and employee volunteers, Club youth are quickly engaged in the material and having fun while learning important tips for healthy living.
In 2023, we increased our sponsorship by $25,000 to become the first corporate partner of the Club’s National Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C. This is an annual event where BGCA leaders meet with members of Congress to discuss issues affecting youth, including food insecurity. Members of Fresenius Medical Care's Government Affairs team participated in these meetings in March 2023.
“I am proud that our company brings a fun and engaging kidney health program to children of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America,” said Jessie Newman, vice president of Sustainability and Citizenship at Fresenius Medical Care. “We hope to continue empowering kids to learn more about their kidney health, a key component of ensuring overall well-being later in life.”
To date, through Fresenius Kidney Care’s support of Healthy Habits, we’ve reached over 40,000 youth with health and wellness programming. We’ve hosted 20 events directly impacting approximately 600 kids. These events are run by Fresenius Kidney Care employee volunteers who guide participants through interactive lessons on kidney health.
The Kidney Kid program reached kids ages 6–10 in markets such as Arizona, California, Hawaii, Michigan, Washington, D.C., and more. Two events took place on tribal land in Hollister and Pembroke, North Carolina — home to the Haliwa-Saponi and Lumbee Tribes, respectively. In the first year of the partnership, 78 percent of youth reached were from communities of color, which data confirms are disproportionately impacted by kidney and other chronic diseases. Through the end of 2023, we will host another 10 events across the country, focusing on communities at high risk for kidney disease.
“Communities’ risk level for kidney disease was one of the most important factors in determining the markets where we wanted to activate The Kidney Kid,” said Newman. “We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to live a healthy life, and equipping kids with the knowledge they need to make decisions about their health and fitness is one way we are working to close gaps in health equity.”
While the primary goal is making a difference for youth, the program impacted volunteers too. In fact, our employees shared:
100% rated their overall volunteer experience as excellent or satisfactory
97% said opportunities to participate in community initiatives like this partnership positively impact how they feel about working for Fresenius Medical Care
100% felt their event was impactful in helping kids practice healthy habits
99% think partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to educate youth about kidney health advances Fresenius Medical Care's goal of helping future generations combat chronic kidney disease
99% would participate in another Fresenius Medical Care volunteer opportunity
Todd West, a marketing manager working out of Fresenius Medical Care’s Waltham, Massachusetts, headquarters, worked as an employee volunteer. He said the event in Waltham was exciting for kids and volunteers alike.
“I think the volunteers were surprised at how quickly the kids grasped the educational concepts,” West said. “Not only was it accessible and useful for them to learn, but the volunteers also had a blast interacting with them. It was fun to engage with the kids and bring them something new that they could understand.”
The volunteers discussed the importance of healthy diets, exercise, and other healthy actions that maintain kidney health. Club members played digital games, enjoyed healthy snacks, and participated in fun physical activities. Kids received superhero capes and stress balls as they learned more about healthy habits.
"I loved seeing the volunteers engage with the kids and make them feel comfortable to be silly while they were learning,” said Danielle Trinidad, a clubhouse director at Spalding Club in Hawaii. “It was nice seeing the kids run around with the kidney stress balls, telling me that it is the size of their fist and knowing their kidneys work by looking at it.”
To learn more about Fresenius Medical Care’s Kidney Kid program, go to https://fmcna.com/company/corporate-responsibility/kidney-kid/.