Happy 44th Birthday Ronald McDonald House!

October 15, 2018

When an unlikely partnership formed in Philadelphia in 1974 between a doctor, an NFL team, and a restaurant chain, no one could have imagined that the dream of Dr. Audrey Evans—a home away from home for families of seriously ill children—would grow to become an international phenomenon. Working as a pediatric oncologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Evans saw families spend night after night in the hospital while their children received life-saving medical treatment. She knew there had to be a better way, and envisioned a house where families could stay during these stressful and uncertain times.

At the same time, the Philadelphia Eagles were raising funds in support of player Fred Hill, whose daughter, Kim, was in treatment for leukemia at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. When the Eagles General Manager Jimmy Murray approached St. Christopher’s about making a donation, Dr. Lawrence Naiman suggested there was an even greater need for funds resting with Dr. Evans.

Jimmy Murray met Dr. Evans and quickly learned of her concept of a home for families. He reached out to their advertiser, McDonald’s, with the idea that they could offer the proceeds from their Shamrock Shake sales to benefit this new house. McDonald’s agreed, and the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House was born on October 15, 1974.

The Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House has grown into a true community offering comfort and hope for thousands of families, and the House continues to grow still. As the local hospitals kept getting bigger, the need for the House kept increasing. It was clear that a significant expansion was needed. So plans were put in motion to build a brand new 8-story tower that would help more than twice as many families. The tower is almost complete! This new tower will more than double our current space—adding 104 guest rooms and increasing our available room nights from 16,000 to more than 40,000 per year.

Over 90% of our annual operating budget comes from the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundation grants, and the remaining10% is provided by Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Philadelphia Region. With your support, we will be able to open up our new tower early next year and keep it running for the families who need it the most!

Please join us in wishing the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House a very happy 44th birthday!

When you are out and about in the city on the 15th, look up! Many building will be lit with red or red and white lights to celebrate the House’s birthday.