SOURCE: Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities

November 10, 2014 07:54 ET

Ronald McDonald House Charities Celebrates 40 Years, Honors First Families and Leaders From Around the World

Charity Announces $1 Million Gift to Support Key Programs and Rocks Out With Grammy Award-Winning Legends Chicago at Global Awards of Excellence Ceremony

OAK BROOK, IL--(Marketwired - Nov 10, 2014) - Since opening the doors at the first Ronald McDonald House® in 1974, Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) has helped ease the burden of having a sick child for millions of families, keeping them close by and together during an unimaginable time. On November 8th in Rosemont, Ill. the Charity and its global leaders came together to celebrate that 40 year legacy at the annual Awards of Excellence Gala. During the event, the Charity paid homage to those that inspired ten of its first family-centered care programs and surprised guests by announcing a $1 million gift to support them. The honorees represented the first RMHC programs founded in North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.

The first Ronald McDonald House® was inspired by former Philadelphia Eagles player Fred Hill and his wife, Fran, who spent nights sleeping next to their daughter's hospital bed while she battled leukemia. The Hill's story inspired the opening of the first House and generated awareness around the impact and need for family-centered programming. RMHC has pioneered programs and services that meet those needs and today operates 340 Ronald McDonald Houses, 195 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms® and 52 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles in 62 countries and regions. Through those programs, RMHC directly improves the health and well-being of nearly nine million children and families globally each year.

"This is an important year for us and it's an honor to bring so many together to recognize these leaders and the difference they've made in the lives of children around the world," said RMHC President and CEO J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez. "Our goal is to provide a bridge to quality health care as well as enable family-centered care and tonight we can truly recognize the global reach and impact our work is having."

The RMHC Chapter honorees were celebrated for their pioneering efforts and recognized as being the first RMHC program in their area of the world. In addition to the grant awards, the evening celebration included a performance by Grammy Award-winning rock legends Chicago. A complete list of the honorees can be found below.

During the evening, the Charity's Board Chair Linda Dunham was awarded the prestigious Gerry Newman McTLC Award of Excellence for her leadership and commitment to RMHC. Dunham is a McDonald's owner/operator with restaurants in New York and New Jersey and has been devoted to supporting programs that help young people reach their full potential. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including Ebony's Power 150, Governor of New York's African-American Award of Excellence and McDonald's 365 Black Award that honors individuals who nurture their communities. Dunham's term as board chair ends December 10, 2014, and she will be succeeded by Steven M. Ramirez.

Each year at the Awards of Excellence, RMHC recognizes individuals for their contributions to improving the health and well-being of children. Past recipients have included founder of Southwest Airlines, Herbert D. Kelleher (2010), Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan (2002); Former First Lady Betty Ford (1998); and the late Jim Henson (1990), among others.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities®
Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®), a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) corporation, creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. Through its global network of 58 Chapters, its three core programs, the Ronald McDonald House®, Ronald McDonald Family Room® and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®, and millions of dollars in grants to support children's programs worldwide, RMHC provides stability and resources to families so they can get and keep their children healthy and happy. All RMHC-operated and supported programs provide access to quality health care and give children and families the time they need together to heal and cope better.

2014 RMHC Awards of Excellence Honorees

First Ronald McDonald House

  • Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House (1974)

Second Ronald McDonald House in the United States

  • Ronald McDonald House Charities Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana: Ronald McDonald House (1977)

Next Ronald McDonald House to Open

  • Indonesia: Jakarta Ronald McDonald House (2014)

First Ronald McDonald Houses® In Each Area of the World

  • Canada: Toronto Ronald McDonald House (1981)
  • Pacific: Sydney Ronald McDonald House (1981)
  • Europe: Amsterdam Ronald McDonald House (1985)
  • Latin America: Rio de Janeiro Ronald McDonald House (1994)
  • Asia: Hong Kong Ronald McDonald House (1996)

First Ronald McDonald Family Room®

  • Kansas City Ronald McDonald Family Room (1992)

First Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®

  • Eastern New England Ronald McDonald Care Mobile (2000)

Contact Information