Ronald McDonald House of Detroit holds successful grand opening gala

Detroit … Nearly 200 guests attended the Grand Opening Gala for the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit on May 30 at Max M. Fisher Music Center to celebrate the new House at 4707 St. Antoine, Suite 200, in Detroit’s Midtown. The event raised $37,000 for the House.

The theme, “A night on the town in Midtown” played well as guests, attired in long gowns and tuxedos, enjoyed cocktails and appetizers in the reception area of the Music Center. The character Ronald McDonald joined in the festivities, posing for photos and joking with guests. Dinner in the Music Box room of the Music Center featured lavish food stations and classical music by Sasha.

During the reception portion of the event, guests were able to board a shuttle that took them to the House, located about 1-1/2 mile away, for a tour. Guests said they were impressed by the size, the attractive furnishings and the elegance of the House, which opened to residents on April 1, 2015.

During the program, Jennifer Litomisky, executive director of the House, spoke about “The Heroes behind the House,” giving thanks for the work of Gary Granader, who oversaw construction. His father Harry built the first Ronald McDonald House of Detroit in 1979, next to Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Jackie Meara, regional director of Global Operations for Ronald McDonald House Charities, noted the importance of longtime support of McDonald’s owners and operators and La-Z-Boy, which furnishes all the new Houses in the U.S. and around the world.

Larry Gold, CEO of Children’s Hospital of Michigan, spoke about the partnership between the hospital and the House. He recalled that one parent said to him, “On the worst day of my life (when my child was in the hospital), the House was the best thing that happened to me.” Families who had stayed at the House spoke about their experience and told how much the kindness of the staff and comfortable House meant to them during a very trying time in their lives.

Donors who contributed $10,000 or more to the Hearts, Hands and Home Campaign were given engraved crystal hearts on stage, presented by Litomisky and Teresa Saputo, chair of the campaign.
“The gala was our way to thank donors for their gracious support and generous contributions over the years and especially during the renovation for the new House,” said Litomisky.

To date, the House has raised nearly $2 million for a $3 million campaign that runs through August 2016. Learn more at rmhc-detroit.org or by calling 313.745-5909.

Ronald McDonald House of Detroit announces new location and $3 million fundraising campaign

The Ronald McDonald House® -Detroit, which provides a home away from home for families of patients at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, is moving one-half mile north from its original site at Children’s Hospital to its new home at 4727 St. Antoine in the Hutzel Professional Building in early 2015. As part of the move, Tenet Healthcare Corp. will charge the house only $1 per year for its 100-year lease.
Along with the momentous move, the charity recently announced its first major campaign to raise $3 million over the next two years, according to Jennifer Litomisky, executive director of Ronald McDonald House of Detroit. The campaign, “Hearts, Hands & Home,” seeks to strengthen the foundation of the organization for the families who stay there by increasing the house’s nearly $1 million endowment and expanding its range of services.
The move was prompted by a new patient tower being built at Children’s Hospital in the same location that the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit has been hosting families for 35 years. Tenet Healthcare Corp., owner of the Detroit Medical Center (DMC), which includes Children’s Hospital, is constructing the new tower as part of its $850 million investment in the health care system.
“This site offers many amenities and will be completed without any gap in service to the families who come to us in need of housing and support,” said Litomisky.
“Renovations to turn former hospital rooms into guest rooms are already underway,” said Conrad Mallet Jr., chief administrative officer of DMC, who was quoted in Crain’s Detroit Business.
The new house will have 28 large guest rooms with private bathrooms, a playroom, a teen room, communal living room areas, a guest kitchen, and a peace garden. Wireless connectivity will allow families to stay in touch with loved ones and get updates on their children’s care. Five extended-stay rooms with TVs and refrigerators will be available for parents whose children are undergoing long-term treatment at Children’s Hospital.
Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates and Kraemer Design Group are the architects and designers, and Roncelli Inc., of Sterling Heights, is the general contractor. The 26,000 square-foot space extends across the second floor of the building. It is 10,000 square-feet larger than the existing house.
To fund the move, DMC is contributing $3.45 million to the project and Ronald McDonald House of Detroit will contribute $800,000.
The move will bring added costs of providing a new van service to transport parents to and from Children’s Hospital, maintaining a larger space, funding programs at the house and continuing to give grants to children’s programs in the community.
Of its $1 million annual operating budget, Ronald McDonald House of Detroit receives approximately 10% of funding from McDonalds Corp. Other funds come from McDonalds franchises, corporate and individual donations, grants and fundraising events. The nonprofit plans to add two to three full-time equivalent staff positions to assist with operations and fund raising.
“For families that need to travel from the suburbs (or from other counties) to Detroit, the location of the Ronald McDonald House saves a lot of driving. That’s time better spent with your child in the hospital,” said Renee Sullivan, a parent and former houseguest. Annually, the house provides rooms for approximately 1,500 guests.
A $10 daily fee is charged for a guest room and use of common areas including a kitchen, laundry room, play room and entertainment areas. No family is turned away due to a lack of funds.
To donate to the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit, please visit: www.rmhc-detroit.org/grow