After personally experiencing the power of organ, eye, and tissue donation, Sara Royf realized that students, like her, had an important role to play in reducing the organ shortage. So, she founded the first SODA chapter at Washington University in St. Louis in 2014. Sara and the other original student leaders overcame a lot of challenges when leading this first chapter–establishing a mission, creating a brand, raising money, connecting with partners, and encouraging peers to become organ, eye, and tissue donors was a lot of work.
When students from other campuses expressed interest in saving and healing lives, Sara wanted to make advocacy fast and easy for them by expanding SODA to provide mentorship, supplies, event funding, how-to guides, and other resources to the new student leaders. The second and third SODA chapters were founded in 2017.
In 2019, SODA was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization. To support the growing organization, we hired our first employee, Nicole Nidea, to lead the SODA National Team, build partnerships, guide strategy, and more in 2021. In 2022, SODA hired Engagement Manager, Sophia Renner, to provide student and local partner support. SODA is also supported by a Board of Directors that is made up of people with connections to donation/transplantation and a team of part-time support.
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Some of our life-saving chapter leaders and event hosts
Today, SODA supports students who want to make a difference by helping them host education and registration events and lead organ, eye, and tissue donation advocacy chapters on their high school, college, and graduate school campuses. These students' efforts save lives, build leadership skills, and create positive ripple effects throughout their communities.
At SODA, we believe students represent a promising segment of the population to become educated about the critical need for organ, eye, and tissue donation and to register as organ, eye, and tissue donors.
We reduce barriers for high school, college, and graduate school students so they can mobilize organ, eye, and tissue donation ambassadors and their peers, spark a passion for organ donation that can last a lifetime, and fulfill an unmet need for student-focused organ, eye, and tissue donation education and registration efforts across the United States.
To support our events and chapters, SODA works with Community Outreach Teams at 30 Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs).
Join the SODA National Leadership Team
and help cultivate this nationwide movement!