How one real estate exec rallied an industry to promote organ donations

CRAINS NEW YORK | Robin D Schatz

A friend of Scott Salmirs' challenged him to leverage his industry connections to tackle the transplant shortage.

About 10,000 New Yorkers are awaiting an organ transplant, and about every 18 hours, a New Yorker dies waiting for a heart, lung, kidney or pancreas. New York state is ranked last in the nation for the share of people registered as organ donors—just 27% versus a national average of 50%, according to LiveOnNY.

"The reality is, if you need an organ transplant in New York, you are going to die. If you need one in Utah, you would schedule it because they have a much higher percentage rate of people signing up," said Scott Salmirs, the president and chief executive of ABM Industries, an international facility-management company.

To remedy that dire mismatch between supply and demand, Salmirs helped found Donate Eight, a nonprofit that focuses on raising money within the local real estate, building management and building service community to further the cause of organ donation. Continue Reading