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Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness (OTDA) Education Program: Mini-Grant Opportunity


The Pennsylvania Department of Education has contracted with Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (IU13) to develop and implement an Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness (OTDA) Education Curriculum Framework in Pennsylvania secondary schools. IU13 has conducted field research to inform this curriculum project and, with the help of collaborators, has developed the OTDA Curriculum Framework and Classroom Toolkit.  The curriculum framework is multidisciplinary in nature and could be piloted by secondary teachers in any academic discipline.

Through the Robert P. Casey trust fund, the Organ Donation Advisory Committee is able to award up to $7,000 in grant monies over a three-year period to schools that incorporate an OTDA curriculum.  OTDA can be implemented in any content area, and grant funds can be used for activities, fieldtrips, cost of transportation, and substitute teacher costs.  Apply for the mini-grant at OTDA Mini Grant Application.  Deadline for applications is June 15, 2021. 

Brief History

In 1994, Governor Robert P. Casey, passed Act 102 which stipulates that Pennsylvania make a comprehensive and collaborative effort toward increasing organ and tissue donation awareness among its citizens.  He created the Robert P. Casey Trust Fund which, along with the Pennsylvania Departments of Education, Health, Transportation, and Revenue, to take certain initiatives to increase awareness.  The Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit13 has partnered with the PDE since 1996 to bring education to secondary schools in the form of the Organ & Tissue Donation Awareness Project.

Why is this Important?

  • There are over 115,000 people waiting for lifesaving organs in the United States.
  • Over 7,500 people in Pennsylvania await lifesaving organs.
  • 96% of Americans believe in organ donation, however, only 46% of Pennsylvanians are registered.
  • This is a Department of Health concern and can discern myths vs. facts about organ donation.
  • Having OTDA can assist in making an educated decision when applying for a driver’s license. 

Who Can Participate?

  • Pennsylvania secondary school students and staff
  • For all students grades 7-12th
  • The goal is to encourage staff in secondary schools to apply for the OTDA mini-grant for a three-year grant opportunity for up to $7,000.
  • Staff has access to the award winning curriculum toolkit shared electronically containing lesson plans across all subject areas and aligned with PA standards. 

Apply for the mini-grant at OTDA Mini Grant Application.  Deadline for applications is June 15, 2021. 

Questions?  Contact Karen Herr at or John V. Kashatus at .

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