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Case Statement – Ronald McDonald House

The House That Love Built
Imagine you live in rural New Mexico and that your child has just been diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening illness. Your doctors confess that there is a limited amount that they, or anyone in your town, can do for your child. They explain that there is a doctor and a medical facility in Albuquerque that may be able to help. This is the scenario that has been faced by 30,000 New Mexican families over the last 24 years who have arrived at the doorstep of the Ronald McDonald House.

What they find upon entering is a warm, homelike environment filled with families confronting the same uncertainties. Some travel less than an hour, some hundreds of miles. Some stay for a week, some for several months. There are vast differences in their backgrounds and situations, yet they have an important connection:

They will do whatever it takes to help their child get well.

Families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House do all they can to support, reassure, and comfort their children, and the House is there to support them. Since 1982, the Ronald McDonald House of New Mexico has provided a loving home-away-from-home for families undergoing a profoundly difficult experience. The families that call upon the services of the House are often simultaneously faced with the emotional roller coaster ride of caring for a seriously ill or injured child, the stresses of being away from home, being financially strapped, and possibly having to quit a job to remain near their child.

For some, the Ronald McDonald House is a place to catch a couple hours of sleep after an all-night bedside vigil. For others, it’s a hot meal and a chance to compare notes with families in similar situations. For the families of seriously ill or injured children, the Ronald McDonald House provides warm beds, showers, televisions, a kitchen, laundry facilities and a playroom – all the material comforts of home.

But the House’s truest comforts don’t come from furnishings and appliances, rather from the humanity within. There is an understanding staff that has lived the triumphs and struggles of families. There are “chefs” from all over the community who regularly drop by the House to serve up a home-cooked meal. And of course there are the families themselves, who gain amazing strength from the most difficult of circumstances by sharing experiences with each other.

The Ronald House currently has 18 sleeping rooms, a big kitchen, a dining room, a family room/children’s playroom, a laundry room, an outdoor playground and a courtyard. The Ronald McDonald House’s services are non-duplicated in New Mexico, and open to anyone. A modest fee of $15 per night is requested however no family is ever refused accommodations for lack of ability to pay.

Requested Nightly Fee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $15
Estimated Cost of Housing a Family for One Night . . . . . . . . $65
Percentage of Families who Cannot Pay Full Fee . . . . . . . . . 75%
Total Families Served Last Year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 802
Average Nights Per Stay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

RMHC's Extensive Service Area
The map below illustrates the number of nights of lodging that were provided at the House in 2005 to families from communities throughout New Mexico. The Ronald McDonald House is truly a statewide organization, serving families from every corner of the state.

In 2005, RMHC provided 5,805 room nights of lodging to 802 families. An additional 480 room nights of housing were provided to families traveling to Albuquerque from Arizona, Colorado, and Texas.

Our Challenge
The Ronald McDonald House has provided a critical service for more than 24 years. As Albuquerque’s medical facilities continue to expand their complement of specialized pediatric care services, a growing number of families will seek the services of the Ronald McDonald House in the future. However, a major roadblock threatens its ability to provide a home-away-from-home for New Mexico's families.

The Ronald McDonald House is forced to turn away families for lack of space. In fact, more than 300 families were turned away in 2005 simply because there was no room for them.

Although it would be impossible to ensure that every family seeking the accommodations and support of the House could be served, our goal is to substantially increase the number of New Mexico families we can help.

A Solution
Leaders of the Ronald McDonald House have plans to expand the size of the current House. The UNM Board of Regents graciously granted an adjacent parcel of land on which RMHC may expand its facility.

Plans call for a 12,500-square-foot addition, including 12 guest rooms (for a total of 30), laundry facilities, a library, computer room, expanded kitchen, storage space, and common areas. Existing office and board room space will be renovated (1,300 square feet) to better meet the needs of volunteers and staff. An elevator will also be added in order to comply with ADA requirements.

Expanding the House will allow RMHC to serve approximately 400 more families each year, for a total of about 1,200.

Capital Campaign
To fund the expansion and renovation project, RMHC Board of Directors and Staff have launched a $3 million capital campaign entitled, "Expanding the House that Love Built."

The goal includes all costs associated with the project:
  • Construction and Renovation $2,450,000
  • Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment 225,000
  • Professional Fees & Fundraising Costs 225,000
  • Contingencies 100,000
Total: $3,000,000

As of August 2006, $841,000 has been raised from about 11 donors. The public launching of the campaign will occur in early 2007. Commemorative naming opportunities will be available for those who wish to name a particular room in the House. (List of rooms to be finalized when architectural plans are completed)

We hope we have left you with a better understanding of the work that we do to help families in need – a service that only the Ronald McDonald House provides.

Please help us create a larger House that can better serve more children and families in their time of need.

Thank you for opening your heart and financially supporting this project . . . together we can Expand the House that Love Built!

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