Non-profit of the Year Nominee
Submitted by Claudia J. Lewis, Director of Community Relations
1. What is your mission and vision?
Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater Washington D.C. (RMHC DC) addresses one
of the most urgent needs in our community–children’s health. Since opening the doors to our
first Ronald McDonald House in Washington DC in 1980, RMHC DC, the local chapter, has helped
ease the burden of having a sick child for thousands of families in our community.
Our programs help families access critically needed healthcare for their children, help improve children’s and caregiver’s coping abilities, and improve the well-being of children. RMHC DC eases the hardship of children’s illness on families through 3 core programs. Our Vision: We believe when you change a child’s life, you change a family’s, which can change a community and, ultimately, the world. Thus, we strive to be part of the solution in improving the lives of children and their families by providing programs that strengthen families during their most difficult and challenging times.
2. How does your organization achieve its mission?
For 36 years RMHC DC’s three core programs have provided a bridge to quality health care for children, enabled family-centered care, and are a vital part of the child’s health care continuum. They help keep sick children close to their families and to get the health care they need to heal. This is accomplished with the help of a dedicated Staff and our community of friends who donate, volunteer, or act as an ambassador for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington DC families and children.
RMHC DC’s programs include: two Ronald McDonald Houses (one in Washington DC and one in Falls Church, on the campus of Inova Fairfax Hospital), two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms–one at Children’s Hospital in the oncology/hematology unit and the newest one at Inova Children’s Hospital; and the KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile that provides free healthcare to children in some of Washington D.C.’s most underserved neighborhoods. 9,182 children were served through our programs in 2015. Since 1980, the total number of families served at our RMHs is 18,625. To address the unique needs of the communities we serve, RMHC DC continues to improve and expand our programs by developing new services that help children reach their full potential.
3. How have your programs directly impacted the regional community?
Our Programs have eased the hardship of children’s illness on families and helped children heal faster, cope better, and stay healthy. RMHC DC helps children reach a better tomorrow. How? RONALD McDONALD HOUSE® - Keeping families close. Many families travel far from home and often spend weeks or months to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured children–a long time to be away or to divide a family. And, for children facing a serious medical crisis, nothing seems scarier than not having mom and dad close by for love and support. Our Ronald McDonald Houses are a “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost. RM Houses are built on the simple idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on the health of their child–not where they can afford to stay or get their next meal.
We believe that when a child is hospitalized the love and support of family is as powerful as the strongest medicine. Over the last 36 years, stressed families have stayed more than 186,000 nights at our Houses. KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic/RONALD McDONALD CARE MOBILE®-providing a medical home to under-served children. Our Ronald McDonald Care Mobile delivers health care to more than 900 children and adolescents annually in underserved communities of the District of Columbia. These children are often at risk and have poor access to comprehensive pediatric medical services. The RM Care Mobile provides cost effective, family- centered, medical care to children, regardless of financial means.
This holistic approach to healthcare focuses on the Five Pillars of Health–including physical health, mental health, vision health, nutrition and the social determinants of health. All children under the age of 21 are eligible for care. RONALD McDONALD FAMILY ROOM®-Supporting family-centered care. Our Ronald McDonald Family Rooms (RMFR) (in Children’s National Medical Center and in Inova Children’s Hospital) complement our partner hospital’s family-centered approach to patient care. The Family Rooms provide families a place to regroup just steps from their child and make it easier for parents to actively participate in their child’s treatment plan.
4. What inspires or drives your team to stay committed to your mission?
“Knowing that we are helping provide better health and hope to children and families like ours,
inspires us every day and keeps us committed to our mission to improve children’s health. Children
are our future.“
5.What advice would you give to other nonprofits trying to make an impact in their community.
“Keep focused on the needs of those you serve in an ever changing environment, and look at new
ways to make an impact - with less.”