The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass is to create and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and to strengthen families by keeping them together in times of medical need.
The vision of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass is to be the recognized community leader in the provision of quality and innovative services, facilities and support that positively impact the health and well being of children and their families.
The idea of a home for families of hospital patients first developed in Philadelphia, PA, in 1973. Fred Hill, a member of the Philadelphia Eagles football team learned that his daughter had leukemia. During the course of her successful treatment, Hill and his team members and management asked what they could possibly do to help the children’s hospital. The idea of a place for children’s families to stay was born at that time. The Eagles football team worked together with the local McDonald’s stores to raise funds, and eventually a home was opened in Philadelphia. That House became the first Ronald McDonald House in the country.
Today there are:
- 354 Ronald McDonald Houses
- 199 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms
- 49 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles
In Lexington, this same need was recognized by doctors and parents of children who had undergone treatment in our area hospitals. The Fayette County Medical Society and Auxiliary, parents, McDonald’s representatives and other volunteers formed a non-profit organization called Children’s Oncology Services of the Bluegrass, Inc. It’s purpose was to establish and operate the Ronald McDonald House of Lexington. (COS is now called Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass.)
The University of Kentucky Athletic Department provided a 1.43 acre site near Commonwealth Stadium convenient to all area medical centers. Successful fundraising by committed volunteers resulted in a 17 bedroom House opening debt-free in December 1984. Since that time, our Ronald McDonald House has served over 25,000 families. While most of these have come from central and eastern Kentucky, the House has served families from all parts of Kentucky, 38 states and 10 foreign countries.
Today’s RMHC of the Bluegrass
In 1997, the Ronald McDonald House expanded to 20 rooms and the name and mission was expanded through the formation of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass. As an RMHC Chapter, we have created new programs to extend our impact on families and children throughout the Bluegrass and beyond.
In 2005, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile (a partnership between the University of Kentucky and RMHC of the Bluegrass) began offering Eastern Kentucky’s children free professional dental services and education aboard a state-of-the-art mobile clinic. Centered in Hazard, KY (Perry County) the Care Mobile cares for underserved children in their own neighborhoods and schools.
The Ronald McDonald Family Room began welcoming guests in 2009 inside the walls of Kentucky Children’s Hospital in Lexington, KY. The Family Room provides a comforting and quiet area of respite, relaxation and reflection for families and loved ones of children who are being treated in the critical care units (NICU, PICU) of the hospital.
In 2013, McDonald’s of Southeastern and Central Kentucky partnered with RMHC to form a grant making program to help the area restaurants give back directly to the communities in which they serve.
RMHC of the Bluegrass turns 30!
In early 2014, the 30th anniversary year of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass, the facility received an extensive renovation to all of its guest rooms thanks to generous support from community donors. This project allowed for the addition of one more guest room resulting in a total of 21 rooms and 7,665 nights of available lodging. Renovations included deconstruction of all rooms down to the studs, replacement of wiring and plumbing, installation of insulation and sound proofing materials, as well as all new surfaces, fixtures and furnishings. Additionally, green technologies and materials were utilized throughout the project which is estimated to result in significant operating cost savings annually.
The significant investment made toward the renovation of guest rooms at the Ronald McDonald House illustrates a strong commitment to serving families and children for many more years to come.
Ronald McDonald House Charities qualifies as a 501 c3 and therefore contributions to RMHC may be tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Affiliated Hospitals & Medical Centers
Families staying at the Ronald McDonald House for the first time must be referred by a physician or hospital/medical center personnel. The Ronald McDonald House accepts referrals from all following area hospitals and medical centers:
Baptist Health Lexington (Central Baptist Hospital)
Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital
Kentucky Children’s Hospital
Ridge Behavioral Health System
Saint Joseph East Hospital
…and local outpatient surgery centers.
House volunteers provide van service to these locations three times per day.