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® (RMHC) 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.
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 Maine History
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maine® (RMHC of Maine) is comprised of two Ronald McDonald House programs, one in Bangor and one in Portland, the Ronald McDonald Family Room® located in the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities Grants Program. We are owned and operated by RMHC of Maine, a non-profit Maine corporation whose board consists of representatives from our community including parents, leaders, local McDonald’s Owner/Operators, medical professionals and other interested individuals.
Ronald McDonald House Bangor, the 30th Ronald McDonald House, opened its doors on December 16, 1983 and has 14 bedrooms. The House was founded through the steadfast efforts of Marjie Harris, Judy Collier, Anita Peavey Haskell, Jim Coffey, Dr. Demetrius Traggis, and Benita Deschaine. Former Governor Joseph Brennan deeded the property to Ronald McDonald House of Bangor in a public ceremony. After months of renovations by John Rohman and WBRC Architects and Engineers of Bangor the house that love built opened its doors.
Ronald McDonald House Portland, the 70th Ronald McDonald House, opened it’s doors in 1995 thanks to a diverse group of community leaders banded together, known as Stand by Me. In 2005, it was evident that the 15 bedrooms were not enough, and expansion to 21 bedrooms followed from the work of the Thaxter Company and Scott Simons Architects. Together, our Houses became a “home-away-from-home” and serve more than 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®, grants and/or college scholarships programs.