The Katie Caples Foundation is committed to increasing the number of registered organ donors and eliminating the wait for the more than 125,000 adults and children in need of a lifesaving organ transplant.
We are inspired by Katie’s example. We are inspired by her decision to become an organ donor. We are inspired by the five lives she saved. And we are inspired to continue the movement she ignited.
The Katie Caples Foundation believes that anyone and everyone should register to become an organ donor. And that’s why we live, breathe, walk, run, ride, educate and advocate for organ donation.
125,000 adults and children are waiting for an organ transplant. 21 people will die today while they wait, and tomorrow 144 more will be added to this too-long-of-a-list. We know those people in dire need of a transplant could be your mother, father, son, daughter, sister, brother or friend. Together, we will do the right thing and end the wait. So join us. Help others share life by saying yes to becoming an organ donor—because yes saves lives.
Learn how Katie’s Story inspires us to register
Katie Caples Foundation
The Katie Caples Foundation, a non-profit 501 (c) (3), was founded by David and Susan Caples in the fall of 1998 after the death of their daughter Katie. Katie had just turned 17 and as a new driver she had recently made the decision to register as an organ donor. Her ultimate act of generosity saved the lives of 5 individuals (aged 9 to 62) and further enhanced the lives of several others. Since 2005 the Foundation has delivered the message of the impact of organ donation to more than 150,000 individuals in the northeast Florida area. Partnerships with Mayo Clinic, University of Florida, Shands Hospital, DMVs and Tax Collectors’ offices have furthered the Foundation’s reach and in 2014 educational programming extended throughout 30 Florida counties. Since the creation of these programs, the number of young people between the ages of 15 – 18 who registered to become an organ donor increased by 381% in the area Foundation serves. Additionally, the Donor Designation Rate (in this same service area) consistently exceeds the State’s DDR by 20%.
The Katie Caples Foundation and David and Susan Caples have received numerous awards for their contribution within the organ donation, transplant and non-profit communities including the National Donor Memorial Award for Excellence presented by the United Network for Organ Sharing (2015), Communicator Award of Distinction for Non-Profit Video Content presented by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (2015), E. William Nash Jr. Community Partner of the Year Award presented annually by the YMCA Florida First Coast (2012), the James S. Wolf, M.D. Courage Award, presented annually by Donate Life America in recognition of significant contribution toward educating the public about the need for organ and tissue donation (2011), and the President’s Volunteer Service Award, awarded as part of an initiative of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation in Washington, D.C. (2005).
Held each year in April (National Donate Life month), the Katie Ride was created in 2005 to raise awareness about organ donation and to raise funds to support the Foundation’s expanding Organ Donor Registration Education programs. The ride provided an opportunity to create media attention and communicate the impact Katie had as an organ donor. The community has embraced the ride and its popularity continues to grow attracting participants from across the country.
The fully-supported ride caters to cyclists of all abilities and includes a fun-ride, 18 miles, 36 miles, 62 miles, 100 miles and an off-road option. In 2009, a 5K and 10K walk and fun runs were added as another option for participants to support the cause. 2014 saw the creation of Katie Spin, an 8 hour marathon spin class for indoor cycling enthusiasts. Proceeds from the Katie Ride support the Foundation’s organ donor education program.
Public Education Program
Katie Caples designated herself as an organ donor when obtaining her driver license. That two-minute decision saved the lives of five others through organ donation and enhanced many more lives through her gift of tissue donation. Her story is ours to share.
Deciding to designate your wishes as an organ donor is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. Sharing your life with others so that they can live on not only impacts organ and tissue recipients but also their family, friends and community.
We feel strongly that providing education is the real heartbeat of the Katie Caples Foundation. So much so that the Katie Caples Foundation formed a partnership with LifeQuest, (link to Lifequest http://www.lifequestfla.org/) North Florida’s organ procurement organization, to provide funding for public education coordinators who develop powerful presentations aimed at educating high school students about organ and tissue donation and the impact of a life-saving decision.
To date the Katie Caples Foundation in partnership with LifeQuest has educated over 140,000 students on the importance of organ and tissue donation. Those students are encouraged to go home and share this life-saving message with their parents.
The education program is mainly aimed at high school students who are at the driving age and will be asked the question “Do you want to be an organ donor?” Our goal is to educate the students on who the recipients are, who the donors are and how the process works. We use professional videos to communicate powerful stories and a lot of times have organ recipients and donor families from our local community share their journey.
Education is key! The number of teenagers getting their license and saying “yes” to donation in our area leads the nation. The rate at which high school students in our donation service area join the registry is consistently a dozen points higher than the average for Florida’s average and 10 points higher than the national donor designation rate.
Where Your Support Goes
The Katie Caples Foundation’s public programs raise awareness and educate individuals about registering to become an organ donor. In addition to public marketing and awareness raising campaigns, we currently provide funding for two educators who deliver over 125 public programs each year, reaching more than 15,000 potential organ donor registrants in high schools and community centers across the region. Their efforts have resulted in impressive success as the Donor Designation Rate (the number of people who register to be an organ donor) in the areas we serve exceed the national average by more than 20%.
The Foundation is developing numerous programs to build upon this success and welcomes like-minded individuals and organizations to partner in the funding of these programs. We are indebted to the support of our donors and partners; we know we cannot do this without you!
The Katie Caples Foundation is a recognized 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation registered in Florida. Tax ID: 59-3580838.
To learn more about our IRS filings and where your support goes, please access our 2013 Form 990: here.
Board of Directors
Susan Caples | Founder & President
David Caples| Co-Founder
John Combs | Fernandina Beach, FL
Tom Oden | Fernandina Beach, FL
Ashley R. Pratt | Jacksonville, FL
Amy Reese | Jacksonville, FL
Judy Walters | Fernandina Beach, FL
Tom Shouvlin | Jacksonville, FL
Dr. Andrew Keavny | Jacksonville, FL
Ken Kneisel | Fernandina Beach, FL
Tim Oden | Bellvue, Washington
Mark Pietan | Jacksonville, FL
Harrison Poole, Esq.| Fernandina Beach, FL
Rob Southwick | Fernandina Beach, FL
Dr. Joseph Tepas | Jacksonville, FL