Ron has contributed to the Ronald McDonald Scholarship program from the very beginning. Since 1999, the Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) has awarded more than 4.5 million dollars in scholarships to deserving youth who might not otherwise have been able to afford a higher education. Ron also donates four cents from every Happy Meal sold at his restaurants directly to the RMHC charity and supports all fundraising events including Runnin’ for the House 5K/1M Walk, The Annual Gala, Giving Tuesday, and many more.
The Golden Arches Brand Believes In Living By The Golden Rule
McDonald’s is a business that serves more than amazing McMuffins® and World Famous Fries®. It is a longstanding brand that is committed to giving back, making a positive impact on communities across the globe, and exemplifying kindness. For those who are not aware of the amazing work the Ronald McDonald House does, you’ll want to take a few minutes to learn more about how this amazing nonprofit is changing lives for the better.
Alyson McCarthy, the Ronald McDonald House Chairwoman, was kind enough to take the time to answer some of our questions and shed some light on the RMHC story. We promise it will be as convenient as the drive thru and the information you’ll be able to digest will be equally as satisfying.
1. How did the Ronald McDonald House get its start?
The first Ronald McDonald House Charities opened in 1974 in Philadelphia and was a collaboration between McDonald’s and the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles Football Team. Eagle’s Offensive Lineman, Fred Hill, had a two year old daughter who was diagnosed with cancer. Fred and his best friend, the owner of a local McDonald’s in Philly, bought a house across the street from the Children’s Hospital so that families who had to travel far from home for their children’s medical treatments would have a place to stay.
Today, there are 182 Ronald McDonald Houses throughout the United States and 370 around the world. Here in Las Vegas, the first and only Ronald McDonald House opened in 1998 and was built by the Junior League of Las Vegas, with help from local McDonald’s Owner-Operators, local construction companies, and the local medical community.
2. What is the main mission of the Ronald McDonald House?
The mission of Ronald McDonald House of Greater Las Vegas is to create and support programs that directly improve the health, education, and well-being of children in our community. We fulfill our mission by providing a “home away from home” at the Ronald McDonald House for families who travel to Las Vegas to receive critical medical treatment for their children. We also manage programs that serve the immediate needs of thousands of children and families in our own community and beyond.
3. What are the main services and support the Ronald McDonald House provides?
Ronald McDonald House of Greater Las Vegas serves both local and out-of-town families through four core programs:
1. The Ronald McDonald House, which is our cornerstone program
2. Our Ronald McDonald Family Room, located on the grounds of Sunrise Children’s Hospital right inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
3. Our Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, which is a state-of-the-art mobile dental unit that travels throughout rural Nevada and inner-city Las Vegas to provide children from low-income families with dental services and oral health education at no cost to the families
4. Our Ronald McDonald Scholarship Program, which provides college scholarships to local high school seniors from Clark and Nye County and continuing college students
4. How many families has the organization helped since its inception?
Since opening our doors in 1998, the Ronald McDonald House, alone, has served 5,352 families for a total of 65,978 nights of comfort and care, meals and transportation. The Family Room serves 20,000 families with short bursts of respite every year, the Care Mobile has served more than 11,000 children so far, and since 1999, the Ronald McDonald Scholarship Program has awarded more than 4.5 million dollars in college scholarships. As big as those numbers are, we have big aspirations to continue increasing the amount of people we are able to help.
5. What are some of the best ways for others to get involved?
The Ronald McDonald House is a wonderful place to volunteer and there are so many ways to help. Whether it’s making lunch, cooking dinner, being a host in our hospital family room, assisting as a shuttle driver for our families, or offering your time and assistance at one of our events — there is something for everyone. For more information go to www.rmhlv.org and click on How To Get Involved.
6. What is it that you are the most proud of as the Chief Executive Officer for the Ronald McDonald House?
I am so proud and absolutely in awe of the 15 dedicated employees who work alongside me at the House That Love Built! This team of men and women have an incredible passion for helping families in crisis. So many have been here for 5, 10, 15 years and longer. Their commitment to excellence and their compassion to help those who are going through some of the darkest days of their lives is an inspiration to me every day!
7. What are your bigger plans and/or visions for the future of the organization?
After 23 years of serving families in medical crisis at the Ronald McDonald House, we have finally outgrown our existing House. Thanks to a generous donation of property from a neighbor just down the street, RMHC has an extra acre of land to build a second Ronald McDonald House, allowing us to serve up to another 200 families every year. This second House will cater to larger families and those with extended stays.
1 out of every 3 families who currently stay at the Ronald McDonald House of Greater Las Vegas are with us for longer than a month.
The House will consist of 8 independent living homes, with kitchens, bedrooms, a living room, laundry facilities and many communal outdoor areas for children to play and families to relax. RMHC breaks ground on this exciting new project in March of 2022 and our grand opening will take place right before the holiday season next year. This 4 million dollar project will be funded with generous donations from our community and will be a lasting legacy in Las Vegas to serve families in medical crisis for decades to come.
Alyson McCarthy is the Ronald McDonald House CEO. Alyson spent 20 years as a television news anchor and consumer investigative reporter for News 13 Inside Las Vegas and 8 News Now before she was bitten by the “nonprofit bug” and resigned from the news business permanently in 2010. When approached about the opportunity to lead the charge for the Ronald McDonald House Charities mission, she felt it was an opportunity of a lifetime that could not be missed.
Since then, Alyson has enjoyed the challenges and rewards that come with leading a wonderful organization and staff whose mission is to help families in crisis. As with the Ronald McDonald House mission, family comes first for Alyson. She is happily married to Las Vegas CPA Bill McCarthy and is a proud mom to her three sons – Nicholaus, Matthew, and Andrew.
Does the Ronald McDonald House Charities mission resonate with you?
We could always use the extra support! For more details, visit Ronald McDonald House Charities Greater Las Vegas and click on How To Get Involved. You can also choose to make a donation – every little bit helps and is greatly appreciated.
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