Michigan Organ Donor Registry sees major growth thanks to Check Your Heart Act

More than 12,000 people joined the Michigan Organ Donor Registry this year while filing their income tax returns.

More than 12,000 new registrants added during 2024 tax season

Thanks to the Check Your Heart Act, the Michigan Organ Donor Registry has 12,475 new registrants. This increased volume resulted in year-over-year growth for the Donor Registry for the first time since 2021, with 73,357 new registrations taking place between Jan. to April in 2024.

“The Check Your Heart Act did exactly what we had hoped it would do,” said Dorrie Dils, President and CEO, Gift of Life Michigan. “It helped us provide an easy and unique way for residents to document their decision to save lives, and ultimately grow the Donor Registry. We are so grateful for the support of our friends at the Michigan Department of Treasury who helped make this a reality.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Check Your Heart Act into law in July 2023, making Michigan the first in the nation to allow residents to sign up as organ, eye and tissue donors on their state income tax forms. The bill was sponsored by representatives Felicia Brabec of Pittsfield Township, Cynthia Neely of Flint and Natalie Price of Berkley.

Michiganders have long been able to join the registry when renewing their drivers’ licenses,” said State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks. “This year, we became the first in the nation to allow people to register when filing their individual income taxes. The new process is easy, secure and leverages the tax forms that people file each year. We hope this is just the beginning and other states follow Michigan’s lead.”

Prior to the Check Your Heart Act, the Donor Registry was growing at a significantly slower pace than in previous years. This is due to a variety of factors, including less in-person visits to the Secretary of State where 95 percent of new sign-ups take place. As of today, 17 percent of new sign-ups can be attributed to the tax form question.

Thanks to the tax forms, over 171,000 residents checked the box to join the Donor Registry, for many reaffirming their decision to save lives. Currently, more than 4.5 million Michigan residents are on the Donor Registry. About 2,500 Michigan residents are waiting for a life-saving organ. The best way to save lives is by joining the Donor Registry.  To register or learn more about the donation process, visit giftoflifemichigan.org.

A large crowd gathered on the Michigan Capitol steps (including mascot Hartley T. Heart) holding Donate Life flags and banners for donor families, living donors, transplant recipients and those waiting to live.

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