History

Keeping families with sick children close to each other and the care and resources they need.

The first Ronald McDonald House® opened on October 15, 1974 in Philadelphia, thanks to the vision and partnership of Dr. Audrey Evans of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Philadelphia Eagles’ player Fred Hill, whose daughter had leukemia; Philadelphia Eagles owner Leonard Tose; and McDonald’s.

The desire for a program that supported the unique needs of families with critically ill children quickly spread to other cities. It was in 1978 in Cincinnati that a group of concerned parents, known as the Children’s Oncology Parent Endeavor, met with the administration at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to discuss the living conditions of the families whose children were hospitalized. From this group’s initial meeting with Cincinnati Children’s, a grassroots effort was born.

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November 1982
Cincinnati’s first Children’s Family House opened its doors. There were 21 rooms plus a manager’s suite. Quickly, the need began to outgrow the capacity of the existing house.

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November 2001
A new Ronald McDonald House opened directly adjacent to Cincinnati Children’s. The new House had 48 bedrooms, including 26 long -term suites, common spaces and on-site parking.

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Spring 2009
The House was expanded by 30 rooms in an attempt to meet demand. The House featured a total of 78 rooms, more laundry rooms, common spaces and additional kitchen and dining space.

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2015
Ten of the House’s 78 rooms were designated exclusively as short-term rooms. These rooms are for families whose stays will four nights or less and gives us the opportunity to serve more families than ever before.

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2016
In 2016, we created the Taste of Hope meal program. Groups are now guided by a professional chef who plans meals that are healthy, delicious and appealing to our families from all around the world.

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2018
In order to meet the growing need, our House announces the largest expansion in its history. On September 12, 2018, we broke ground on a six-story, 107-room tower that will attach to our existing House, giving us a total of 177 rooms.