Donate Life Connecticut Staff
Alison Keating - Executive Director
Melanie Tietjen - DLC Coordinator
Barb Doyle - Marketing Coordinator
2021 Board of Directors
Dan Drew - Co-chair
Jennifer Williams- Co-chair
Cheryl Edwards, RN - Secretary
Robert Roth - Treasurer
Eileen Cain, LCSW
Cary Caldwell, MD
Elizabeth Cohen, PharmD
Sanjay Kulkarni, MD
Kari Rancourt, RN BSN CCTC
Sheila Wiatr Sokolski
Dana White, RD
The Connecticut Coalition for
Organ and Tissue Donation (CCOTD)
Known as Donate Life Connecticut (DLC)
Message From the Co-Chairs
On behalf of our Donate Life Connecticut (DLC) family we would like to welcome you!
Maybe you have been touched in some way by organ donation and transplantation already, either having born witness to a family member or friend who was a true hero and passed on the gift of life to another or having shared in the miracle of receiving that gift which provides an opportunity for renewed health, prosperity, and the promise of more time with loved ones. Maybe you have seen tragedy turned into hope through organ donation and are continuously reminded of the goodness in humanity and the beauty of life, or perhaps, you are new to the concept of organ donation and transplantation. Regardless of your connection or your knowledge of the world of organ donation, we are excited for your interest.
Our DLC family is dedicated to increasing the number of registered organ and tissue donors through public education and awareness of all Connecticut residents and beyond. To be successful in our mission, DLC hosts many large-scale awareness programs throughout the state including community events and educational programs. DLC works harmoniously with many organizations including New England Donor Services, the American Liver Foundation, National Kidney Foundation, Department of Motor Vehicles, and the CT advisory council on organ and tissue donation under the auspices of the Governor of CT.
Please bookmark our webpage and return often to stay up to date on events, information, opportunities to participate, and stories about our patients and donors. Please join us in our campaign to dispel the misconceptions and myths surrounding organ donation and ultimately increase the number of lives saved through the miracle of transplant.
Jennifer Williams and Dan Drew
Co-chairs Board of Directors Donate Life Connecticut
95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 54% are registered.
Help increase that statistic.
Join Us/Membership Information
Donate Life Connecticut membership shall be open to all persons interested in contributing to the coalition's objectives. DLC shall not establish restrictions or qualifications for general membership based on, but not limited to, sex, age, race, religious creed, nationality, ancestry, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, physical and/or mental disability, lawful source of income, professional training, or experience.
If you are interested in becoming a Board Member of Donate Life Connecticut, please email us at DonateLifeCT@gmail.com. If you are interested in volunteering - please go to the Volunteer page on this website.
History of Donate Life Connecticut
1985 Key agencies and OPOs identified and agreed to establish a statewide coalition to raise public awareness about the need for organ and tissue donation.
1986 Partnership with DMV established.
1988 First Coalition sponsored poster contest involved three (3) schools in the Milford area. Seventeen (17) posters were submitted for judging. Keith Koontz judged the contest.
1989 First statewide poster contest endorsed by CT Department of Education.
1992 Coalition is incorporated in state of Connecticut as a non-profit corporation and received Federal Employer Tax ID Number.
1993 US Surgical Corporation funded the printing of a calendar that contained poster winners. Posters were distributed via CT DMV emission testing centers.
1996 CCOTD received IRS tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) corporation.
1998 CCOTD became associate member of CT Community Health Charities.
2000 In partnership with SNET, organ donation information and cards were inserted in all employee paycheck envelopes.
2000 Developed cookbook as a fundraiser, comprised of recipes from organ and tissue donors/recipients and professionals in the Coalition community.
2001 Connecticut Coalition website launched.
2001-2002 Received Allstate Foundation funding for publication and printing of Coalition Annual Report.
2001-2003 Organ donation movie held 57 screenings in six theaters in Connecticut had organ Coalition and donation information as tag for each screening.
2004 Rotary district representation on Board of Directors. Presentations given at local CT Rotary meetings.
2004 Created Coalition note cards as a fundraiser, which illustrated artwork from previous poster contest winner submissions.
12/2005 “Thanks for Asking” Campaign kicked-off to recognize the employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles for their assistance in registering organ and tissue donors during driver license or ID card applications or renewals.
2005/2006 Organ donation registration information incorporated into the DMV driver’s manual (inside cover).
1/2006 Light Up Someone’s Life…Be An Organ Donor: Donate Life CT monthly United Illuminating newsletter “The Source”.
4/2006 Public acknowledgement and declaration of April being “Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Month” in the State of Connecticut, given by Governor M. Jodi Rell and the Connecticut General Assembly and a donor flag raising ceremony at the State Capitol.
9/2006 Dedication Bench and engraved stone installed at the State Capitol building to honor organ and tissue donors and their families.
2007 The Connecticut Coalition for Organ and Tissue Donation (CCOTD) began doing business as Donate Life Connecticut (DLC) to better align with the national Donate Life campaign.
8/2007 Awarded State of Connecticut grant for funding public education activities and promoting organ and tissue donation awareness.
2009 Celebrated major milestone of reaching 1 million registered donors in the state of Connecticut
6/2009 1st Annual Toast to Life Fundraiser held.
2010 25 year anniversary of the coalition.
3/2010 Donate Life Connecticut (with LifeChoice Donor Services, New England Organ Bank and The Connecticut Eye Bank) offered its first annual public speaking volunteer workshop. This would go on to become the Annual Volunteer Summit.
11/2014 1st Annual Donate Life Gala with comedian Alonzo Bodden as the entertainment for the evening. 200 guests attended the gala held at Aria Banquet Facility.
11/2014 DLC participated in the Stamford Downtown Parade event in Stamford, CT.
3/2016 2nd Annual Gala and first with Dancing for Donations as the entertainment for the evening. 500 guests attended the event to see 12 couples perform a ballroom dance. The event was held at Aria Banquet Facility.
4/2018 First DATE Symposium to introduce the new DLC Organ and Tissue Donation Curriculum to the DLC Community.
2018 Inaugural rollout of our new DLC TV Commercials on cable television throughout the state.
2019 DLC Billboard Project
2019 2nd Annual DATE Symposium
2019 DLC received the Organization Award from the Boy Scouts of America Connecticut Chapter
2019 10th Annual Toast To Life Event
2020 First Virtual Toast to Life with original music created by professional singers/songwriters
The Connecticut Coalition for Organ and Tissue Donation (CCOTD) was established in 1985. CCOTD became a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation in 1996. The statewide coalition is comprised of volunteers with a shared interest in public education about organ, eye and tissue donation and increasing the number of transplants that save lives. The membership body includes donor families, transplant recipients and allied health professionals who advocate organ, eye and tissue donation. The coalition is guided in its work by a set of Board approved Bylaws, which are reviewed and updated periodically. Officers are nominated and selected through democratic process and membership is extended to all groups and individuals having interest in organ, eye and tissue donation. CCOTD is an affiliate of Donate Life America, the national organization most recognized for its work in increasing organ, eye, and tissue donation through massive public education and advanced communications campaigns. In 2007, CCOTD began doing business as Donate Life Connecticut (DLC) to better align with the national campaign.
The American Liver Foundation (ALF) is the nation's leading nonprofit organization promoting liver health and disease prevention. ALF provides research, education and advocacy for those affected by liver-related diseases, including hepatitis.
Eversight Connecticut, formerly the Connecticut Eye Bank, began as a project of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekah’s, a national fraternal organization founded to give aid to those in need. The initial grant was received from John Hopkins University in 1961, and by 1962 the eye bank was incorporated and open for business. Through the continued efforts of the Odd Fellows and local Lions Clubs, Eversight Connecticut not only has helped restore sight for over 35,000 people, but has also expanded its role in the community by funding local researchers and by providing pediatric vision screening in area schools.
Eversight Connecticut was one of the first eye banks to receive accreditation from the Eye Bank Association of America.
The goal at the Hartford Hospital Transplant Program is to provide the highest quality patient-centered care in a community setting with a multidisciplinary approach to patient care utilizing the enormous talents and resources of a broad team. The Transplant Program is certified by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
New England Donor Services (NEDS) coordinates organ and tissue donation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, the eastern counties of Vermont and Bermuda. Through its federally designated organ procurement organization, New England Organ Bank (NEOB), and its centralized tissue donation services operation, NEDS serves thousands of donor families each year who have generously made the decision to donate and honors the wishes of those who registered as donors and gave the gift of life.
Responsible for one of the 57 OPOs that make up the nation’s donation system, NEDS works with nearly 200 hospitals and serves 14 million people in our region, screening nearly 50,000 potential donor referrals annually. Working sensitively with the donor families, NEDS staff leads donation authorization discussions, maintains medical support of potential donors, coordinates recovery surgeries, allocates organs according to the national transplant waiting list and directs transport of organs to transplant centers and tissues to processors.
Through these gifts of life, New England Donor Services saves and heals the lives of organ and tissue transplant recipients in our region and across the country.
Yale-New Haven Transplant Center(YNHTC) has earned a reputation of technical excellence, leading-edge research and a commitment to excellent patient care that results in high success rates. A world pioneer in live-donor transplants, YNHTC offers a unique service for patients with both kidney and liver disease that requires transplantation: patients with one or more family members willing to donate a kidney or a portion of a liver may have the procedures performed when the need presents itself, without waiting for a cadaveric organ. Yale-New Haven doctors are known for advances in transfusion-free medicine and surgery.