by Jan Gunter
When you donate to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas – see our spiffy new “Donate Now” button to the right? – your donation stays local to help families facing pediatric medical crisis in Austin hospitals. Did you know that?
We have the benefit of being part of a wonderful global organization, Ronald McDonald House Charities, with more than 300 Ronald McDonald Houses and 170 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms worldwide.
But the distinction – and sometimes confusion – comes because each Ronald McDonald House Chapter is licensed, operated and funded locally, just like we are here in Austin. Our network with other RMHC Chapters is fabulous as we share best practices for operating and funding the work we all do to help children heal, but each Chapter is operating locally in their own city, state or country.
The first Ronald McDonald House opened in 1974 in Philadelphia. Here in Austin it all started in 1983 when a group of local leaders including the Brackenridge Foundation, the Junior League – for their 50th Anniversary project – and local McDonald’s Owner/Operators came together with a shared vision to open a Ronald McDonald House.
They sought 501(c)3 licensing, raised funds locally, and the vision became a reality that has continued to grow to this day.
Early funds were raised through the Junior League, McDonald’s promotions, Lady Longhorns basketball events, selling gift cards, and eventually an annual event in McDonald’s stores, Share the Love, which continues every year in the Austin area in February. From the beginning, those funds were raised locally here in Austin thanks to the generosity of hundreds of individuals donating to keep families together during pediatric medical crisis.
Our budget – and our fundraising – have grown exponentially since those early days, through our fundraising events and through individual donations, but one thing has remained the same. We depend on local support, and your support does indeed stay local. When you donate, you become a quiet hero to families in need.
I hope you learned something from reading this post today – please share your thoughts in the comments below.