The Birth of GTF
Tommy Smith approached his transplant social worker, Pat Dunkerley, with the crazy idea to start an organization that could provide immediate support to patients and their families in crisis situations and throughout the transplant process. He wanted to make sure that no Georgia patient would ever have to make a choice between eating or taking the medications needed to maintain their life-saving transplant. Pat and Tommy knew the chore would be herculean, but they rolled up their sleeves, pulled in their friends and family, and the Georgia Transplant Foundation was born.
Tommy was the visionary and Pat worked right by his side to make his dream come true. Today, GTF has evolved beyond its roots to become the largest organization of its kind in the country. Georgia Transplant Foundation impacts more than 2,000 individuals each year, supplying more than $2.08 million in financial assistance annually.
Georgia Transplant Foundation was founded in August 1992 by kidney transplant recipient Thomas “Tommy” F. Smith, a veteran of the Vietnam War serving his country in the United States Marine Corps. Recognizing first-hand the tremendous financial impact that patients and families face before, during, and after transplantation, Tommy decided that he needed to do something to help needy Georgians.
IMPRINTS IN GTF'S HISTORY
Georgia Transplant Foundation is founded in August 1992 by Tommy Smith.
After receiving a letter in his mailbox about the plight faced by transplant patients, baseball Hall of Fame legend, Tom Glavine, gives his support to GTF and lends his name to the Foundation (for the next 25+ years) through his "Tom Glavine's Spring Training" event, raising more than $5.9 million for Georgia's transplant community.
The first Board of Director’s is formed. Tommy Smith brought together a founding board of dedicated individuals who, despite having full-time careers, were willing to work nights and weekends to make sure transplant recipients received the support and financial assistance they needed.
The first Carlos and Marguerite Mason Trust grant is awarded to GTF for a total of $400,000 over a three-year period for: Financial Assistance Programs, GTF Informational Brochure, and a 1-800 telephone number. That same year, GTF expanded the list of programs offered to include: Pre-Transplant Assistance, Pre-Transplant Insurance, and Housing Assistance.
The first GTF logo is born.
The first Brayson Homes Transplant House raised $65,058.60 for GTF.
The first Trends iN Transplant (TNT) Conference is held in Columbus, GA.
Hospitality Highway Century - more than 1,500 cyclists pedaled their way down the GA-400 highway as it was temporarily shut down to benefit GTF. The inaugural event raised more than $55,000 for the Foundation.
GTF awards $1.2 million in direct financial assistance.
The first issue of GTF’s Imprint Magazine is published and distributed to more than 20,000 state-wide.
The Dialysis Center Liaison (DCL) Program is launched to encourage dialysis patients to consider transplant as a treatment option by being made aware of the programs and services offered by GTF.
Thanks to the generosity of the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Trust, GTF moved to its forever home with the purchase of a building.
The inaugural Celebrate Life Gala was created and became GTF’s new signature event.
More than 10,000 individuals helped through GTF’s direct financial assistance programs.