Keeping Families Close Since 1990
We Believe Families Heal Better Together
Since 1990, we have been a place of hope and healing when families felt alone. We provide care, comfort, community and a free place to stay so families can focus on what’s most important – the health of their child.
To provide a ‘home away from home’ for families traveling to Grand Rapids whose children are experiencing a serious illness or injury requiring hospitalization.
We envision a community where all families have access to quality healthcare and can heal together as a family.
House before opening, 1989
Ronald Ribbon Cutting, 1990
5 Year Celebration
Original Bedrooms, 1990
Baby Sara, October 12, 1994
Each night, we keep 17 families close to their child during medical treatment in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Care, hope, comfort, love – It’s all on the House.
Providing families a place to stay close to their hospitalized child supports the child’s health and well-being while saving families more than $400,000 in hotel and food costs each year.
Dr. Audrey Evans, a pediatric oncologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the 1970s, saw families spend night after night sleeping in hospital chairs while their children received life-saving medical treatment. She knew that families needed to heal together because a sick child is a sick family. She envisioned a house where families could stay together 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 Eagles’ General Manager Jimmy Murray approached St. Christopher’s about donating to the hospital, Dr. Lawrence Naiman suggested there was an even greater need for funds resting with Dr. Evans. Mr. Murray met Dr. Evans, he became a champion for her vision, and later became a Co-Founder of the Ronald McDonald House, along with Dr. Evans. To help fulfill the vision they had, Murray approached Don Tuckerman and Stanley Elkman of Elkman Advertising, which represented McDonald’s, with the idea that the company could offer the proceeds from their Shamrock Shake sales to help purchase this House that Dr. Evans envisioned as a home away from home. McDonald’s agreed, and the first Ronald McDonald House was born in Philadelphia on October 15, 1974.
Ronald McDonald House Charities West Michigan opened on March 23, 1990. The 19,000 square foot facility was designed specifically as a Ronald McDonald House. Located on five park-like acres, the House has seventeen bedrooms with private baths; two are isolation equipped and three are handicap accessible. Common rooms include a large family-style kitchen with four complete cooking areas, a dining room, great room with fireplace, sitting room, sunroom overlooking the backyard that has a playground area and walking path and children’s playhouse, a laundry room, and recreation room.