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Featured Charity: Ronald McDonald House Charities
With more than 290 local chapters in 57 countries and regions, this global organization creates and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families.
Prior to Ronald McDonald House Charities’ cornerstone program, the Ronald McDonald House, being with a hospitalized child meant parents were sleeping in their cars or in chairs in the waiting room, eating out of vending machines, or bearing the expense of impersonal hotel rooms. Serving as a “home-away-from-home”, the Ronald McDonald House provides comfort and care to families while their child is receiving treatment at a local hospital or medical facility. The only criteria for a family to stay at a Ronald McDonald House is that the child receiving treatment must have a medical referral for the stay and meet the age requirements of the local RMHC chapter.
To gain a better understanding of RMHC’s impact on a local scale, I interviewed Debbie DePierro – Marketing and Communications Manager of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida (RMHCCF).
How are Ronald McDonald House Charities Funded?
Each Ronald McDonald House is owned and operated by a local RMHC Chapter, which is governed by a Board of Directors responsible for that chapter’s program development, standards and operations. For 37 years, Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) has been McDonald’s “charity of choice” and McDonald’s has been RMHC’s largest corporate donor. However, although local McDonald’s restaurant owner/operators generously fund portions of the annual operating costs of Ronald McDonald Houses, no company can solely fund RMHC’s programs and expanding operations. The majority of RMHC annual operating income comes from individual donors, organizations and businesses.
Take Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida (RMHCCF) for example:
With approximately 65% of families served by RMHCCF residing within a nine-county Central Florida area, 80% of RMHCCF’s funds come from individual donors and multiple businesses from the local community. A true grass roots organization, the ongoing need for RMHCCF’s services is growing. With two local Ronald McDonald House locations often operating at full capacity (with waiting lists), every monetary donation is critically important to RMHCCF and to the families who use its services – even the smallest donation from an individual donor.
What kind of impact will my donation have?
RMHCCF’s Share-A-Night Annual Giving campaign allows members of the community to underwrite family overnight stays for those who have a child facing medical crisis and are staying at our two Ronald McDonald Houses. Although the nightly operating cost is approximately $68 per room/night, as little as $15 can help underwrite a family’s stay so they may be close to their seriously ill or injured child when it’s most important. A wonderful quote from a past RMH mom explains the impact well:
“While the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was saving my daughter, the Ronald McDonald House was taking care of me. My strength, gave her strength.”
Although donations are greatly appreciated to ensure that its doors remain open, there is no charge for RMHCCF’s services. As a global RMHC policy, no family is ever turned away because of their inability to contribute. Therefore, RMHC Chapters like Central Florida rely greatly on the support of individual donors and businesses in the local community.
How can a company or individual help?
Companies can help by including Ronald McDonald House Charities and its local chapters like Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida in matching gifts programs or consider them as grant recipients. Many companies offer matching gifts programs that make it easy for employees to help with the click of a button or by filling out a form. It’s so easy and it makes such a difference in the lives of families with children in medical crisis.
Operating 365 days a year, some RMHC Chapters like Ronald McDonald House of Central Florida operate close to full occupancy daily, with waiting lists many nights. More than ever, help from the community is needed in order to support each local RMHC chapter’s growth and sustainability.
For Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida, the goal of its Share-A-Night campaign is to communicate the need for financial gifts throughout the year – and to provide the opportunity for members of the community to help underwrite family overnight stays for those with children facing medical crisis.
RMHCCF has several different events coming up to engage the community and encourage donor support:
- Tour The Track – June 2, 2012: Tour The Track is a motorcycle event in its inaugural year to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida. Motorcyclists from all over the community are encouraged to ride to Daytona International Speedway for a pace car-led celebratory lap around the race track! Afterwards, participants will receive an event gift, enjoy music, a silent auction and a BBQ lunch! For more information and to register, visit: www.tourthetrack.org.
- Ride-4-Ronald – September 23, 2012: For the third year in a row, bicyclists from all over Central Florida are encouraged to ride and fundraise on behalf of our children’s charity. Three enthusiast level bike routes of 30 mile, 60 mile and 100 mile distances are available for anyone to enjoy. After the ride, participants are encouraged to celebrate at the post event festivities where they will enjoy food, drinks and music and can take a tour of our Ronald McDonald House on the campus of Florida Hospital for Children! To register, visit www.ride4ronald.org.
- Clambake – October 19, 2012: Our signature fundraising event is back for its 13th year! Guests can enjoy the relaxing ambiance at SeaWorld’s Sea Harbor Pavilions with games, activities, silent auction, our fabulous lobster buffet and live music by Orlando’s Simulcast! To sponsor a table, contact Laura Heidrich at email@example.com or 407-206-0957x102.
For RMHC events around the country and near you, click here.
What makes Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida successful?
RMHCCF prides itself on the quality and care that is provided to the families it serves 365 days a year, as well as its fiscal responsibility and transparency. RMHCCF has been able to grow and sustain its organization in the Central Florida community for over 15 years and intends to help many more families with children in medical crisis as long as its service is needed - but RMHCCF’s top goal will continue to be about quality.
Want to learn more about Ronald McDonald House Charities and its local chapters?
Web Site: www.rmhc.org
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Find Your Local Chapter: http://rmhc.org/who-we-are/chapter-search/
For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida: