CO & WY See Another Record Year for Organ Donation in 2020

January 11, 2021

Local nonprofit mitigates harshest impacts of COVID-19 through surge planning, accelerated COVID-19 testing and remote work to help save record number of lives in 2020


Colorado and Wyoming recorded another record year for organ donation in 2020. Donor Alliance, the federally designated non-profit organization that facilitates organ and tissue donation in Colorado and most of Wyoming, saw a 13% increase in organ donors and was able to facilitate more organ transplants than ever by 4%, exceeding the previous record set in 2019. The generosity of the donors and their families in Colorado and Wyoming helped 215 organ donors save the lives of 622 people through organ donation and transplantation. Saving and healing the lives of tens of thousands more recipients in need, 1,899 tissue donors in the region also provided bone and skin grafts allowing others to regain mobility and lead active lives after disease or trauma.

“The waitlist can’t wait, even amidst a pandemic. As challenging as 2020 has been, there are many things to be proud of when it comes to donation and transplantation,” said Jennifer Prinz, Donor Alliance president and CEO. “Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, our mission has remained at the forefront of every decision we’ve made, allowing our work to maximize every gift of life and save as many lives as possible through donation and transplantation to continue. The generosity of Colorado and Wyoming residents combined with the determination and resiliency of our staff and volunteers to continue our mission helped to save and heal more lives in our region than ever before.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, Donor Alliance has actively worked to plan for and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the organization’s mission to save lives. To ensure the ability to continue adequate medical evaluation and care, Donor Alliance instituted a surge plan in collaboration with its medical partners. Those steps, along with the transfer of donors to the organization’s stand-alone recovery center, helped minimize impact on hospitals and ensured the gift of life could continue. Accelerated COVID-19 testing was also established for all potential donors, reducing delays and allowing staff to safely sustain the donation and transplantation process.

Through all of the trials that 2020 presented, Colorado and Wyoming remained two of the most generous states in the nation when it comes to organ and tissue donation. Nearly one million residents signed up to become donors in 2020, with more than 870 thousand Coloradans and nearly 82,000 Wyomingites adding their names to the organ, eye and tissue donor registries. Both states also maintained some of the highest donor designation rates, or percentage of individuals joining the state donor registries, in the country, at 68% and 62% respectively. Both states far surpass the national average of 49%, according to Donate Life America.

In addition to facilitating another record year for local deceased organ donation in 2020, Donor Alliance helped coordinate 140 transplants from donors outside of our region, as well as assisting in 39 of the region’s 118 transplants from living donors.

While the achievements in donation and transplantation this year have been incredible, nearly 2,000 people across the region continue to wait for a lifesaving transplants. It’s with these patients in mind that Donor Alliance continues its tireless efforts to educate the public on the need for donation and collaborate closely with 115 acute care hospitals, four transplant centers, division of motor vehicles and other partners throughout the two-state area. For more information about donation, or to sign up as an organ, eye and tissue donor, please visit or

Local Organ and Tissue Donation by the Numbers


ORGAN Donation 2017 2018 2019 2020
Local Organ Donors 144 160 191 215
Kidney Transplants 246 268 325 351
Liver Transplants 88 98 119 141
Heart Transplants 43 59 63 68
Lung Transplants 24 52 72 54
Pancreas Transplants 6 11 15 7
Small Intestine Transplant 0 1 2 1
Local Organs Transplanted 407 489 596 622


TISSUE Donation 2017 2018 2019 2020
Local Tissue Donors 1,752 1,684 2,118 1,899
Bone Donors 832 902 1,109 904
Skin Donors 1,503 1,512 1,950 1,664
Heart Valve Donors 140 95 127 127
Joint Restoration Donors 97 90 121 83

About Donor Alliance

Donor Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. As the organ and tissue procurement agency for Colorado and most of Wyoming, Donor Alliance serves more than 5.8 million residents and more than 100 hospitals. Donor Alliance adheres to the highest medical, regulatory and ethical standards, and meets every performance standard. By respectfully working with the families of organ and tissue donors, maintaining partnerships with hospitals, educating residents on the life-saving benefits of donation and inspiring them to sign up on the state’s donor registry, Donor Alliance is able to save lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Colorado and Wyoming boast some of the highest rates of donor registration in the country, which directly translates to more lives saved and healed through organ and tissue transplantation. Donor Alliance is one of 58 federally designated organizations of its kind in the United States. For more information visit or the Donate Life Colorado or Donate Life Wyoming Facebook pages.