Our History

At Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater Washington, DC, we owe our continued success to the tireless work of volunteers and the countless contributions from our donors.

Because of you, we have been helping improve the lives of children and their families for more than 35 years.

Here are some of the historic milestones that donors like you have made possible.


The first Ronald McDonald House opened in Philadelphia thanks to Dr. Audrey Evans, pediatric oncologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She had long seen the weary parents of the young patients she was treating and knew that if there was a safe, home-like setting for these parents to live while their children received medical treatment, the entire family would benefit. The parents would be better rested and less stressed, and the children would have the comfort of knowing their parents were nearby. When his daughter, Kim, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, Fred Hill, former NFL player with the Philadelphia Eagles, experienced first-hand the difficulties a family experiences when a child is seriously ill. Hill approached the Philadelphia Eagles General Manager Jimmy Murray about raising funds to support the medical efforts for critically ill children. Dr. Evans shared with Murray her vision of a “home-away-from-home” for the parents of these seriously ill children. When Jimmy Murray approached the McDonald’s ad agency in Philadelphia, a beautiful partnership was born. Through the sale of Shamrock Shakes, McDonald’s and the Philadelphia Eagles raised the funds needed to purchase an historic mansion on Chestnut Street in downtown Philly.


Carey Randall, then president of the metropolitan Washington, DC chapter of the Candlelighters, became interested in the RMH concept. With the active support of the Greater Washington Advertising Cooperative of the McDonald's Corporation, RMHC was incorporated as a non-profit, volunteer organization and our cornerstone program, the Ronald McDonald House, was launched.


The original Ronald McDonald House® of Washington, DC (RMH) opened its doors in June of 1980, and was the sixteenth House to open nationwide in the six years since the program began.


The first Ronald McDonald Family Room® (RMFR) opened in Children's National Medical Center. The RMFR compliments our partner hospital's commitment to family-centered care and makes it easier for parents to actively participate in their child's treatment plan.


RMH merged with Ronald McDonald House Charities to become Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater Washington, DC (RMHCDC).


RMHCDC opened its second Ronald McDonald House in Northern Virginia.


Worth magazine names RMHC one of “America’s 100 Best Charities of 2002.” It’s the second consecutive year RMHC receives this honor.


RMHCDC puts the first KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile on the road in Washington, D.C. District Wards 5-8.


A Capital Campaign was launched to raise funds to build a new RMH located on 14th Street NE.


Ronald McDonald Family Room® at CNMC moved to a new wing.


RMHCDC unveiled a brand new Ronald McDonald House of Washington, DC with 25 rooms and 4 isolation suites for children with compromised immune systems. We built "green" for our families and the community for generations to come.

Kim Hill, the girl who inspired the first Ronald McDonald House, passed away at the age of 44.


RMHCDC opened a larger, newly renovated Ronald McDonald Family Room at CNMC to include a full-size kitchen, laundry room, staff and programs for families.


RMHCDC unveiled a new KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. The vehicle, replacing an older aging unit, was purchased with the support of the owner-operators of McDonald's Family Restaurants of the Greater Washington area.


RMHCDC opened a new Ronald McDonald Family Room at Inova Children's Hospital with a sitting area, computer bays, and kitchenette.  Additionally, the RMFR at Inova hosts a Happy Wheels cart loaded up with toys, snacks, toiletries, and other amenities for families at the hospital.


Our second and newest Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, home to the FITNESS program, is a partnership between RMHCDC and the Division of Community Pediatrics at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital as well as local schools, to deliver an innovative nutrition and exercise curriculum to children.


The Ronald McDonald Family Room (RMFR) at Inova Children’s Hospital expanded service to two Family Rooms. This new RMFR meets families and kids where they are by extending our reach to multiple floors.