Relationship with McDonald’s

Our Founding and Forever Partners

Image of Hands making Heart Shape with McDonald's logo

The first Ronald McDonald House opened in 1974 in Philadelphia, thanks to Dr. Audrey Evans and Philadelphia Eagles player Fred Hill. Fred’s daughter had leukemia and as a result of their experience with the illness, they took the opportunity to provide a place for families who may need to travel to give their own children the highest level of care. McDonald’s owner/operators in Philadelphia made the first House possible by donating proceeds from the sale of Shamrock Shakes, requesting the House be named after their favorite clown, Ronald McDonald.

Since 1974 McDonald's has been our Founding and Forever Mission Partner but Ronald McDonald House Charities is separate from the McDonald's Corporation. While McDonald's has helped RMHC provide valuable services to families around the world, McDonald's Corporation does not provide all of our funding. In fact, local restaurants provide less than twenty percent of our total operating funds.

Each Ronald McDonald House must develop their own fundraising relationship with their local McDonald’s restaurants. Our local McDonald’s owner/operators support RMHC South Dakota by providing sponsorships for specific projects or events, volunteering, and offering in-kind support. The restaurants also provide customers with the opportunity to donate through change canisters and the Round Up program, with customers rounding up their transaction to the nearest dollar and that change going to support local Ronald McDonald House Charities.