What began as one family’s misfortune became good fortune for millions of families worldwide. In 1974, Kim Hill, the 3-year old daughter of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill, was diagnosed with leukemia. During Kim’s three years of treatment, Fred and his wife Fran often camped out on hospital chairs and benches and ate makeshift meals out of vending machines. The Hills watched other parents around them doing the same thing. They learned that many of the families traveled great distances to bring their children to the hospital, but couldn’t afford hotel rooms.
The Hills began to think that there had to be a solution. Fred rallied the support of his Eagles teammates to raise funds and help other families experiencing the same emotional and financial traumas as his own. Through Jim Murray, the Eagles’ general manager, the team offered its support to Dr. Audrey Evans, head of the pediatric oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Evans dreamed of a home-like temporary residence for families of children being treated at her hospital.
Together, they created the first Ronald McDonald House.
That first Ronald McDonald House opened in Philadelphia in 1974. By 1979, ten more Houses had opened. By 1984, McDonald’s restaurants and local communities founded 60 more Houses; then 53 more opened by 1989. Today, there are 286 Ronald McDonald Houses in 35 countries around the world.The McDonald's Relationship
Ronald McDonald House of Tampa Bay is comprised of four Houses, three in St. Petersburg and one in Tampa, offering 80 bedrooms with private baths. We are owned and operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay, a non-profit Florida corporation whose board consists of representatives from our community’s parents, leaders, McDonald’s, medical profession and other interested individuals.
St. Pete West with 18 bedrooms opened in 1980. Adjacent to All Children’s Hospital, it was the first House in Florida.
St. Pete East, our largest area House with 34 bedrooms, opened next to All Children’s Hospital in 1996.
St. Pete Central opened in March 2010 inside the new Outpatient Care Center at All Children's Hospital. This house offer 14 bedrooms for all families with children receiving treatment in the hospital.
Together, our Houses became a “home-away-from-home” and serves 2,000 pediatric families annually. The supportive environment at each of our Houses, offered through dedicated volunteers, staff and other residents, provides comfort and care to those who supply the love, understanding, nurturing and emotional support essential for their child’s recovery from illness or injury.
Ronald McDonald House Charities is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization with
• 314 Ronald McDonald House programs currently operating in 31 countries
• 178 Ronald McDonald Family Room programs in 19 countries
• 45 Ronald McDonald Care Mobile programs in 8 countries.
Each local Ronald McDonald House Charities Chapter is a separate public charity, operated by a local Board of Directors. In addition to its cornerstone Ronald McDonald House program, the Chapters support a variety of other programs, which may include a Ronald McDonald Family Room™, a Ronald McDonald Care Mobile™ and/or college scholarships for high school students.