Latest News

Every Community Has Opportunity – How You Can Save A Life!

July is host to the National #DonateLifeECHO campaign.

What does ECHO stand for?  Every Community Has Opportunity.

What does this mean? It is a belief that each message and story can be carried or echoed through a community when someone shares their decision of registering as an organ, eye, and tissue donor. 

 Every Community Has Opportunity, ECHO Donate Life, Campaign, Organ Donation

Why is it important? California is the most diverse state in the country, giving us a unique ability to increase multicultural registrations in order to save lives around the nation. Currently, only 32% of donors come from a multicultural background but 58% of those on the waiting list are as well. While not every case requires a match of ethnic backgrounds, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) “successful transplantation often is enhanced by the matching of organs between members of the same ethnic and racial group.”

Signing up as an organ and tissue donor can save not just one but up to eight lives, and change even more. Learn about some of the stories of hope from the #DonateLifeECHO campaign including Christopher, a young man who received a heart transplant that saved his life here Every Community Has Opportunity, Wait list pie chart ethnicity, organ donation

What can you do to help save lives? The first step to help saves lives is becoming an organ donor yourself! If you’ve already done so, thank you, if you haven’t yet taken this step click here where you can register as organ and tissue donor.

Now that you’ve signed up as a donor, join is with the #DonateLifeECHO campaign where you can multiply your impact to save lives by doing something as simple as letting your friends know you’ve decided to become a donor. Remember, Every Community Has Opportunity to save lives.

Consider sharing a post on social media and use the hashtag #DonateLifeEcho, making a 30-second video and sharing it with your network, or bring in donuts to the office with a note on why they should consider becoming a donor.

As we continue to expand the organ and tissue donor registry in California and around the nation we’ll be able to close the gap and ensure that everyone on the waitlist, no matter their backgrounds, have access to the organs they need.

Find out more about the #DonateLifeEcho at

New CEO Takes Reins at Donate Life California

West Sacramento, Calif., April 19, 2017 – Long-time Sacramento resident Jim Martin has been named chief executive officer of Donate Life California, the nonprofit organization that administers the official state registry for organ, eye and tissue donors.

“With 14 million registrants, California has the largest organ, eye, and tissue donor registry in the world, but currently less than half the population of our state has signed up,” notes Monica Johnson, president of the Donate Life California Board and executive director of Sierra Donor Services, the organ procurement organization serving the Sacramento valley, located in West Sacramento. “Jim Martin comes to this important statewide position with a strong strategic background in advocacy work and building community partners, as well as fiscal planning, administration and project management. Under his leadership, we know we’ll be able to save even more lives thanks to transplantation.”

Currently 21,911 Californians – approximately 1 in 5 people on the US Waiting List – need an organ transplant to survive. Last year, 939 Californians became organ donors saving the lives of nearly 3,200 people. Tragically 1,045 people died waiting here because there aren’t enough donors.

“Jim looks forward to continuing our strong collaboration with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and seeking exciting new partnerships for Donate Life California, providing innovative ways for Californians to sign up on the Donate Life Registry,” Johnson added.

Martin says his plan of action begins with establishing the Donate Life California office in Sacramento and developing a strategic plan to build statewide advocacy. His overarching goal is to increase the number of Californian’s registering as organ, eye and tissue donors, through the DMV and online.

Previously Martin was executive director of Martin’s Achievement Place in Sacramento, a residential treatment program for at-risk foster boys.

“I’ve spent my entire life in the nonprofit service world – serving youth and families. I’m excited to continue serving families by creating opportunities for all Californians to sign up on the Donate Life California Registry and ultimately save lives. Organ, eye, and tissue donation is the ultimate act of humanity,” Martin said.

Donate Life California Honors Senator Ben Allen as Legislator of the Year

SAN DIEGO, Calif., April 4, 2017 – Donate Life California kicked off April as National Donate Life Month by recognizing California Senator Ben Allen as Legislator of the Year for his work on legislation in support of organ, eye and tissue donation. Donate Life California is the state’s nonprofit, state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry.

Senator Allen also co-authored a Senate Resolution designating April 2017 as Donate Life/DMV Partnership Month in California, with Senator Tom Berryhill, who received a heart transplant in May 2001. The Donate Life California board of directors witnessed the resolution presentation on the Senate Floor.

“Donate Life California wants to recognize Senator Allen as Donate Life California’s Legislator of the Year for his leadership in authoring legislation that decriminalizes organ donation between HIV-positive donors and HIV-positive recipients,” said Monica Johnson, Donate Life California Board President. “The implementation of this bill allows us to honor the wishes of people with HIV who choose to be organ donors, and in doing so, saves more lives through donation and transplantation.”

Senator Allen authored SB 1408, which amends an outdated California statute to remove a provision that prohibited HIV-positive individuals from donating organs, thus bringing state law in line with federal law under the HOPE (HIV Organ Policy Equity) Act and allowing for organ donation between HIV-positive donors and HIV-positive recipients.

“I am honored to receive this award from Donate Life California, a wonderful organization that saves thousands of lives each year by promoting organ, eye and tissue donation. I am proud to be an ally in this worthy effort,” Senator Allen (D – Santa Monica) said.

National Donate Life Month, celebrated each April, is a national campaign aimed at encouraging the public to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor and to celebrate those who have saved lives through the gift of donation. This campaign is especially important in California, which has the longest waiting list but where only about 40 percent of adults are signed up to be organ, eye and tissue donors, putting California well below the national average of 50 percent.

The Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry – which has grown from 9,000 when it launched in 2004 to nearly 14 million in April 2017 – offers hope to those on the waiting list who count on the kindness and generosity of others for the “gift of life.”

Earl Lovell of Suisun City, CA, a retired Navy veteran, husband and father, and was the picture of health until he suffered a “widowmaker” heart attack in June 2009 that so severely damaged his heart, he required a transplant. On August 1, 2012, Earl received a “new” heart, thanks to his donor, a 42-year old husband and father. “It is the greatest gift I could ever have received. I owe it to my donor and the family he left behind to tell the world of his unselfish act.”

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is an important Donate Life California partner, with 95 percent of California’s nearly 14 million registered organ, eye and tissue donors having checked “YES!” while applying for or renewing their California driver license or ID. Californians can also sign up on the registry at

Each day in the U.S., 22 people die waiting because the organ they needed did not come available in time. Organs needed for transplant are heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas or intestine.

Tissue transplants, meanwhile, save and heal lives. Tissues for transplant include cornea, skin, heart valves, bone tissue, tendons, veins, ligaments and cartilage. More than a million tissue transplants are done each year, and the surgical need for tissue has been steadily rising. Corneal transplants restore sight to nearly 50,000 people each year.

Fast Facts from Donate Life California:

  • 21,886 people are on the organ transplant waiting list in California; 118,368 are waiting nationally (i.e. one in five on the national organ transplant waiting list lives in California.)
  • More than 33,000 people in the U.S. begin new lives each year thanks to organ transplants (about 91 transplants every day).
  • 22 people die each day because the life-saving organ they needed did not become available in time.

About Donate Life California

Donate Life California is the nonprofit, state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry. Individuals can add their name to the registry by checking “YES!” every time they renew/apply for their driver license or ID card at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This ensures their desire to donate life will be carried out. A pink “DONOR” dot is added to their driver license or ID as a symbol of their decision. Individuals can also sign up online at or As a public service, the registry ensures all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel at the time of an actual donation opportunity. The registry is administered by Donate Life California and California’s four nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organizations (OPOs): Donor Network West, Lifesharing, OneLegacy and Sierra Donor Services.

Switch to our mobile site