Donor Alliance wins 2018 Malcolm Baldrige Award

November 15, 2018

Organ procurement organization becomes the sixth-ever Colorado organization to earn the presidential-level honor, winning the 2018 Malcolm Baldrige Award

Baldrige Award Recipient 2018

Donor Alliance, the federally designated nonprofit organization that facilitates organ and tissue donation in Colorado and most of Wyoming, was named today a 2018 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award winner by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. A Presidential-level honor, the award recognizes exemplary U.S. organizations and businesses that demonstrate an “unceasing drive for radical innovation, thoughtful leadership and administrative improvement.”

The Baldrige Award is the highest level of national recognition for performance excellence that a U.S. organization can receive. Donor Alliance is one of only six Colorado organizations ever to achieve the Baldrige Award in its 30-year history. (City of Fort Collins, 2017; Elevations Credit Union, 2014; Poudre Valley Health System, 2008; Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business, 2004; Operations Management International, Inc., 2000.) This year’s only honoree in the nonprofit category, Donor Alliance becomes the second federally designated organ procurement organization to earn Baldrige recognition, following St. Louis-based Mid-America Transplant (2015).

Only five U.S. organizations were named 2018 winners following review by an independent panel of judges and evaluation by a board of examiners. This year’s Baldrige Award recipients were selected from a field of 27 finalist applicants, each of whom had prequalified by winning a Baldrige-based performance excellence award at the state or regional level.


Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross presents the Baldrige Award to Donor Alliance executives Sue Dunn and Jennifer Prinz.

“These awardees are inspiring in so many ways,” Ross said. “Each honoree strengthens our economy through its organizational excellence and positive impacts for its customers, students, patients and employees. They exemplify the American spirit in action and are role models for success in business and commerce.”

For Donor Alliance the award is the culmination of a near decade-long performance excellence journey that included marked achievements in engagement, organizational effectiveness and sustainability. With a mission to save lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation, Donor Alliance has increased the number of organ transplants steadily over the past five years and boasts some of the nation’s highest donor designation rates; directly translating to more lives saved and healed through transplantation.

“We are dedicated to continuous improvement as an organization, because our lifesaving work impacts thousands of patients in need here in our community and across the country,” said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “It is for this reason that we began the performance excellence journey. It has been instrumental in our work to maximize all donation opportunities. We are very proud to achieve this exclusive honor and to join an exemplary group of organizations.”

The 2018 Malcolm Baldrige Award was presented at a ceremony on April 7, 2019, during the Baldrige Program’s 31th annual Quest for Excellence® conference, which was held in National Harbor, MD. The Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 and is not given for specific products or services. Since the first group was recognized in 1988, 123 awards have been presented to 115 organizations (including eight repeat winners).

Baldrige Award

Photo: Crystal Manufactured by Pelucida Glass

About Baldrige

The Baldrige Program raises awareness about the importance of performance excellence in driving the U.S. and global economies; provides organizational assessments, training, tools and criteria; educates leaders in businesses, schools, health care organizations and government and nonprofit organizations; shares the best practices of national role models; and recognizes those role models with the Baldrige Award. The Baldrige Program is a public-private partnership managed by NIST and funded in part through user fees, with some support from the Baldrige Foundation. For more information, visit the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program website.

About Donor Alliance

Donor Alliance is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. As the organ procurement organization and accredited tissue bank for Colorado and most of Wyoming, Donor Alliance serves more than 5.8 million residents and more than 100 hospitals. The organization adheres to medical, regulatory and ethical standards: 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. 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, and is also an American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) accredited tissue bank. For more information visit or the Donate Life Colorado or Donate Life Wyoming Facebook pages.