The Past: 1979-1990
Four Rochester area families united together around a common vision -to provide a “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children. Today, the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester carries out their dream, serving an ever-increasing number of families in need of comfort, care & hope.
These families reached out to doctors, nurses, social workers, business leaders and community members with a goal of securing a home for families with ill children, a home where children, siblings and parents could support one another as they shared similar medical scenarios – as well as a home where they could share the responsibility and costs, of day-to-day living.
In 1980, they realized their goal with the formation of Northland Children’s Services, a nonprofit organization established to operate a 12-bedroom home for families with seriously ill children.
The House, located at 613 Second Street SW, operated for 10 years as Northland House. Then, due to the efforts of a strong core of volunteers as well as the support of then McDonalds owner/operator Phil Henoch, the Northland House was invited to become a licensed Ronald McDonald House in 1990.
The affiliation with Ronald McDonald House gave children and their families a common “face” to look for, a smiling clown after whom the home is named. It also provided higher visibility and recognition in our own community, and enhanced our ability to raise much-needed funds to support daily operations.
The Ronald McDonald House operated for another 5 years at its original site on Second Street. In the meantime an active board was pursing expansion opportunities, and set its site on a new, accessible home, that would serve even more children and families each year.
New Facility & Expansion 1995 – 2005
In 1995, we moved to our present location. Ronald McDonald House became a 24 guestroom home, complete with living areas, kitchen, laundry, playrooms and a game room for children to enjoy. In the new facility, each room was accommodated with a private bathroom (a great improvement from the “old House). The board, volunteers and community rallied to build and support this facility raising $2.2 million for construction costs.
An organized volunteer program of “HouseWarmers” was developed to help support day-to-day activity at the House. HouseWarmers greet visitors to the House, they answer calls, assist with light housekeeping and help check new families into the House. More than 100 volunteers serve as HouseWarmers throughout the course of the year.
The next several years saw increasing need for our mission and in 2004, we opened 18 additional rooms, expanding this home to 42 total guest rooms. Six of the rooms are specially designed as long-term guest rooms, providing expanded space for those families who must stay months for prolonged medical care.
Today we strive to serve an ever-increasing number of families in need of support.
In 2011, 990 families called us HOME. Families came from 40 states and 22 different countries
We work hard to continue the tradition of fiscal responsibility that early board members established. The Ronald McDonald House is highly regarded in this community and within the Ronald McDonald House network as well.
- well maintained, safe, comfortable home for families
- accountable and efficient management of our resources
- rewarding opportunities for volunteers and staff
- commitment to responsible philanthropy