Ronald McDonald House
The Birmingham Ronald McDonald House is a temporary housing facility for the families of patients at Children's Hospital. The facility is owned and operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama (RMHCA), a locally-governed chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities, headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois. RMHC Global and McDonald's restaurants provide partial funding for the facility's operations while private contributions, grants and program-related income provide the rest of the budget. The executive director is Mike Singer.
The Birmingham Ronald McDonald house was the fifth of over 250 such facilities now in operation worldwide. It opened on May 30, 1979 at 920 17th Street South and incorporated two buildings built in the 1920s and 1950s. The facility was expanded to 32 bedrooms and upgraded in 1991, but remained too small, too distant, and too costly to maintain to adequately support the facility's mission. A formal facility evaluation in 2003 confirmed those findings.
Soon later the RMHCA announced plans to construct a new, larger facility at the corner of 4th Avenue South and 17th Street, closer to Children's Hospital. A $400,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation helped kick-start a fund-raising campaign led by Alan Lott and Todd Sharley. Honorary co-chairs of the campaign were AmSouth Bank CEO Dowd Ritter and his wife Susan.
The new $7 million building, which opened in 2007, encloses 33,000 square feet in which are arranged 41 guest rooms, many with private baths and kitchens as well as community rooms and play areas. The new building is more accessible to disabled guests and has more space for administrative, meeting, storage and dining areas. The building was designed by Williams-Blackstock Architects.
In 2008 the house served 1,064 families.
- Seale, Kathy (June 19, 2007) "A new home away from home." Birmingham News
- Faulk, Kent (September 13, 2009) "Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham celebrates 30th anniversary and 31,000 served." Birmingham News