More than 92000 Americans are on waiting lists for organ transplants, and an average of 17 of them die each day while waiting. The US Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative (ODBC), which began in 2003 at the request of the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, was a formal, concerted effort of the donation and transplantation community to bring about a major change to improve the organ donation system. The nationwide Collaborative was housed within a Health and Human Services agency, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Division of Transplantation, and included participation of the organ procurement organizations (OPOs) throughout the United States and the American hospitals with the largest organ-donor potential. HRSA leaders used the Breakthrough Series Collaborative method, originally developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, as the model for the intervention. Expert practitioners drawn from hospitals and OPOs that had already demonstrated their ability to achieve and sustain high organ donation rates were chosen as faculty for the collaborative and best practices were gleaned from their institutions. The number of organ donors in Collaborative hospitals increased 14.1% in the first year, a 70% greater increase than the 8.3% increase experienced by non-Collaborative hospitals. Moreover, the increased organ recovery continued into the post-Collaborative periods. Between October 2003 and September 2006, the number of total US organ donors increased 22.5%, an increase 4-fold greater than the 5.5% increase measured over the same number of years in the immediate pre-Collaborative period. The study did not involve a randomized design, but time-series analysis using statistical process control charts shows a highly significant discontinuity in the rate of increase in participating hospitals concurrent with the Collaborative program, and strongly suggests that the activities of the Collaborative were a major contributor to this increase. Given the stable nature of the historical increases over many years, the HRSA estimates that more than 4000 annual additional transplants have occurred in association and apparently as a result of these increases in organ donation.