Donate Life America Announces Winners of 2021 Pinnacle Awards

Innovative Donate Life Community Programs Help Save Lives in a Challenging Year

RICHMOND, VA, November 1, 2021 – Each year, Donate Life America (DLA) recognizes successful Donate Life State Teams and their member organizations for innovative and successful programs that increase donation education and donor registrations. Identifying and sharing successful programs with the Donate Life Community is key to increasing donor registration and saving more lives through organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation.

2021 created unique challenges, and organizations across the country overcame obstacles to develop and implement creative programs to reach their local communities with the Donate Life message.

Programs submitted for DLA Pinnacle Awards are peer reviewed for clear goals and objectives, implementation, innovation and creativity, donor registration, positive cultural change, return on effort, and the incorporation of the Donate Life symbol – the national symbol for the cause of donation.

DLA recognized seven program category Pinnacle Awards this year, and seven “Best of the Best” Pinnacle Awards. The “Best of the Best” Pinnacle Awards recognize the best overall program (Platinum), as well as those outstanding in innovation, multicultural community outreach, remixing a standard practice into something successfully reimagined, and – especially important this year – virtual programs.

Congratulations to all of the 2021 DLA Pinnacle Award winners!

Program Categories:

DMV
Third Party Outreach 2020, Donor Network of Arizona

Youth Education
Donate Life Indiana Youth Activity Boxes, Indiana Donor Network (Donate Life Indiana)

Miscellaneous
Empowering Rural Sheriff Coroners to Make Donation Possible, Nevada Donor Network

Event
Donate Life Tennessee Corn Maze, Tennessee Donor Services/Donate Life Tennessee

Hospital/Healthcare
Spread Generosity, Not Germs, Donor Network of Arizona

Media Campaign
Live to Save Lives Concert, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates

Ambassadors
Ambassador Appreciation Red “Car”pet Event, Lifeline of Ohio

Best of the Best:

Platinum
Ambassador Appreciation Red “Car”pet Event, Lifeline of Ohio

Innovation Award
Donate Life Tennessee Corn Maze, Tennessee Donor Services/Donate Life Tennessee

Best Multicultural Outreach
All of Us Youth Education Program, Gift of Life Michigan

Best Remix
Feria de Salud Familiar, LifeLink of Georgia

Best ROE
Empowering Rural Sheriff Coroners to Make Donation Possible, Nevada Donor Network

Best 2020 Virtual Program (tie)
Virtual Trivia, Gift of Life Michigan and #LetsTalkTuesday, Gift of Life Michigan

Most Outstanding Observance
2020 Blue & Green Drive Through, New England Donor Services

Thank you to the 2021 DLA Pinnacle Award winners for leading the Donate Life Community in reaching the public, engaging our partners in education about the cause of donation, and inspiring individuals to register their lifesaving decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor.

The winning programs were recognized at the October 25-28, 2021, DLA Virtual Annual Conference.

Brief descriptions of all 2021 DLA Pinnacle Award winning programs are included below.

Best Remix 

Feria de Salud Familiar, LifeLink of Georgia
Feria de Salud Familiar – Family Health Fair is a community event focused on serving and educating the Hispanic Community of Georgia on organ, eye and tissue donation. The health fair serves the community by providing a variety of free medical screenings and health examinations. Feria de Salud Familiar – Family Health Fair encourages the Hispanic Community to register their decision to be organ, tissue and eye donor, all in ONE day and in ONE place.

Best Multicultural Outreach

All of Us Youth Education Program, Gift of Life Michigan
The All of Us Youth Education Program teaches students about the importance of donation and transplantation in every community. The program features youth transplant recipients and donors from diverse backgrounds who reinforce the message that all of us have the power to save and heal lives through the gift of organ, eye and tissue donation.

Most Outstanding Observance

2020 Blue & Green Drive Through, New England Donor Services
New England Donor Services hosted its first Blue & Green Drive Through for organ and tissue donation as an opportunity to physically bring the community together in a safe way to honor donors and donor families, recognize living donors, thank volunteers, gather staff and host a tribute to all impacted by donation and transplantation. The Drive Through was a drive-able loop lit up in Donate Life colors and images that featured interactive stations viewed from the safety of the participants’ vehicle. Drivers followed a path of signs with myths and facts about donation, viewed the Donor Family Butterfly Path, Circle of Life Garden, Wall of Hope Luminaries, balloon arch and Donate Life Trunk Tunnel. Elements of the drive-through were also broadcast to Facebook Live for those who could not participate in person.

Best 2020 Virtual Program (Tie)

Virtual Trivia, Gift of Life Michigan
Virtual Trivia is a fun and educational mix of donation facts and pop culture. Virtual Trivia engages new audiences by spreading donation awareness and encouraging donation in a non-intimidating fashion, and engages and supports the community through partnerships with local businesses during Black Business Month.

#LetsTalkTuesday, Gift of Life Michigan
#LetsTalkTuesday is a virtual community outreach program intended to inspire, educate and motivate people in multicultural communities, and Michigan residents as a whole, to embrace organ, eye and tissue donation and join the organ donor registry. #LetsTalkTuesday addressed concerns expressed by Michigan’s Black, Latinx and Arab-American communities based on marketing research Gift of Life Michigan conducted in 2019, regarding a lack of knowledge about and distrust of the donation process. The program was a spin-off of a larger multi-year #LetsTalk campaign to inspire conversations about donation and transplant in those multicultural communities. #LetsTalkTuesday provided a digital means to reach people wherever they were through livestreamed social media videos talking with the diverse staff who honor life through donation at Gift of Life Michigan.

Miscellaneous & Best Return on Effort (RoE)

Empowering Rural Sheriff Coroners to Make Donation Possible, Nevada Donor Network
Outside of the two most populous Nevada counties, rural sheriff offices assume coroner duties in every other county in the state. Most Nevada sheriff offices were not previously involved with donation and had no knowledge about the important role they could play in the process. Nevada Donor Network and the Nevada Highway Patrol had previously partnered to ensure that all on-scene highway deaths would be referred to Nevada Donor Network to preserve the opportunity for tissue and cornea donation. Sheriff Office support is just as vital. The goal was to inspire Nevada’s sheriff coroners to make these lifesaving notifications, giving more registered donors and families the opportunity to save and heal lives.

DMV Program

Third Party Outreach 2020, Donor Network of Arizona
In the summer of 2020, Donor Network of Arizona became an associate level member of the Motor Vehicle Providers Association. There are roughly the same number of authorized third-party offices operating across Arizona as there are traditional state-run Motor Vehicle Divisions (MVDs), thus doubling the number of locations and opportunities to educate the public about donation. Unlike their state-run counterparts, authorized third-party offices are privately owned businesses. Joining the Motor Vehicle Providers Association provided critical access and the ability to connect with authorized third-party office owners, managers, employees and customers.

Hospital/Healthcare Program

Spread Generosity, Not Germs, Donor Network of Arizona
Generosity is the core of Donor Network of Arizona’s mission, and despite the COVID-19 crisis, that foundation remained a focal point throughout 2020. During Donate Life Month, Donor Network of Arizona launched the Spread Generosity, Not Germs campaign to continue to encourage Arizonans to celebrate donation while also thanking and supporting partners that were overwhelmed with the growing pandemic. Donate Life Month is a time for celebration, and Donor Network of Arizona wanted to give their donation advocates a way to express their support during a challenging time.

Media Program

Live to Save Lives Concert, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates
The Live to Save Lives 2020 Concert was a four hour long virtual concert featuring 13 artists, including national recording artist Lee Brice and the legendary John Ellison. The purpose was to increase new registrations. The project included a digital and email ad campaign, social media influencer campaign, radio ad campaign, and innovative stakeholder engagement. The program resulted in a significant spike in new donor registrations while simultaneously improving education and awareness among our target population.

Youth Education Program

Donate Life Indiana Youth Activity Boxes, Indiana Donor Network (Donate Life Indiana)
Donate Life Indiana’s youth initiative focuses on educating elementary through college-aged students across all 92 Indiana counties. While the pandemic disrupted many in-person school presentations and community events in spring 2020, the youth education team noted that families and groups were still yearning for resources. The team quickly pivoted to develop a new educational opportunity that was fun and easily accessible to families following national and statewide COVID-19 safety guidelines. Activity kits were developed based on the subscription box concept. The kits introduce the topic of donation through simple materials and activities that provide hands-on learning, and come with an accompanying follow-along activity packet.

Event Program & Innovation Award

Donate Life Tennessee Corn Maze, Tennessee Donor Services/Donate Life Tennessee
The pumpkin farm and Donate Life Tennessee corn maze were open Friday, Saturday and Sunday September 26-October 31, 2020. The Donate Life maze was a puzzle within a puzzle. Seventeen education stations were placed throughout the maze with facts about organ and tissue donation along with key words. People were challenged to travel through the maze and received a crossword puzzle and word search to complete using the donation facts from each station. In addition to the maze, there was an educational barn with a Donate Life Tennessee information table and a Wall of Donor Quilts to share the lifesaving story of donation. Attendees were encouraged to ring the Donate Life Bell when they signed up on the donor registry.

Volunteer Program & Platinum

Ambassador Appreciation Red “Car”pet Event, Lifeline of Ohio
Each year Lifeline of Ohio hosts an Ambassador Appreciation Event to celebrate their Donate Life Ambassadors and thank them for their service the previous year. This event typically kicks off Donate Life Month. The COVID-19 pandemic derailed traditional plans, but the Lifeline of Ohio team came up with the idea of a drive-by parade. Ambassadors came to the Lifeline office to be celebrated by our staff in a socially-distanced manner and picked up their appreciation gifts. A video created from footage of the event “starred” the ambassadors and gave way to the red “car”pet theme. The video was shared on Facebook and YouTube, allowing the ambassadors to watch from their homes, and to invite their friends and family to watch as well.

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About Donate Life America

Donate Life America (DLA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization leading its national partners and Donate Life State Teams to increase the number of donated organs, eyes and tissues available to save and heal lives. DLA owns, manages and promotes Donate Life℠, the national brand for the cause of donation; motivates the public to register as organ, eye and tissue donors; provides education about living donation; manages the National Donate Life Registry at RegisterMe.org; and develops and executes effective multi-media campaigns to promote donation.

DLA Media Contact:
Hilary Kleine Czarda
hczarda@donatelife.net