What began as one family’s misfortune became good fortune for millions of families worldwide. In 1974, Kim Hill, the 3-year old daughter of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill, was diagnosed with leukemia. During Kim’s three years of treatment, Fred and his wife Fran often camped out on hospital chairs and benches and ate makeshift meals out of vending machines. The Hills watched other parents around them doing the same thing. They learned that many of the families traveled great distances to bring their children to the hospital, but couldn’t afford hotel rooms.
A Better Way
The Hills began to think that there had to be a solution. Fred rallied the support of his Eagles teammates to raise funds and help other families experiencing the same emotional and financial traumas as his own. Through Jim Murray, the Eagles’ general manager, the team offered its support to Dr. Audrey Evans, head of the pediatric oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Evans dreamed of a home-like temporary residence for families of children being treated at her hospital.
Together, they created the first Ronald McDonald House.
That first Ronald McDonald House opened in Philadelphia in 1974. By 1979, ten more Houses had opened. By 1984, McDonald’s restaurants and local communities founded 60 more Houses; then 53 more opened by 1989. Today, there are more than 300 Ronald McDonald Houses around the world.
Our Relationship with McDonald’s
Ronald McDonald House Charities has been McDonald’s “charity of choice” for 35 years.
We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, but McDonald’s is our largest corporate donor. Portions of the annual operating costs for Ronald McDonald Houses are graciously funded by McDonald’s and owner/operators of local McDonald’s restaurants. The remainder of our annual operating income comes from the generosity of individual and corporate donors.
McDonald’s involvement extends beyond monetary support:
- Franchises partner with local Chapters for promotional and fundraising events.
- McDonald’s employees are dedicated volunteers.
- Owner/operators participate in local and global RMHC boards.
- RMHC Donation Boxes hosted in restaurants are the largest source of ongoing RMHC Global fundraising.
- In-restaurant sales of USA Today are all donated to RMHC.
- McDonald’s conducts an annual fundraiser in November called McHappy Day. Since 2002, it has raised $150 million for RMHC and children’s charities around the world.
Although McDonald’s is our largest corporate donor, no company can solely fund RMHC programs and our projected growth. We need the support of the entire community and greatly value any support you can afford to RMHC, whether it’s through cash donations, your time or fundraising efforts.
Local RMHC Tampa Bay History
Ronald McDonald House of Tampa Bay is comprised of four Houses, three in St. Petersburg and one in Tampa, offering 80 bedrooms with private baths. We are owned and operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay, a non-profit Florida corporation whose board consists of representatives from our community’s parents, leaders, McDonald’s, medical profession and other interested individuals.
St. Pete West with 18 bedrooms opened in 1980. Adjacent to All Children’s Hospital, it was the first House in Florida.
St. Pete East, our largest area House with 34 bedrooms, opened next to All Children’s Hospital in 1996.
St. Pete Central opened in March 2010 inside the new Outpatient Care Center at All Children’s Hospital. This house offer 14 bedrooms for all families with children receiving treatment in the hospital.
Together, our Houses became a “home-away-from-home” and serve 2,000 pediatric families annually. The supportive environment at each of our Houses, offered through dedicated volunteers, staff and other residents, provides comfort and care to those who supply the love, understanding, nurturing and emotional support essential for their child’s recovery from illness or injury.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Each local Ronald McDonald House Charities Chapter is a separate public charity, operated by a local Board of Directors. In addition to its cornerstone Ronald McDonald House program, the Chapters support a variety of other programs, which may include a Ronald McDonald Family Room™, a Ronald McDonald Care Mobile™ and/or college scholarships for high school students.