Our History

Keeping Families Together

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Since 1982, the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus, Ohio has provided one million nights of rest for families of seriously ill, hospitalized children. Over the span of the last four decades, the organization has grown to be a leader globally in facilitating family-centered care.

The first Ronald McDonald House in Columbus opened on 18th Street in March 1982 when an old apartment building was purchased and renovated. The new facility was met with a great deal of excitement from the local community, especially the new partner Nationwide Children’s Hospital. As the hospital grew, so did the need to provide a place for families to stay nearby. In 1988, capacity was increased to a total of 28 rooms, along with several other specialty areas that helped to make the House a home, where families could come together and help one another through the good times and the bad.

In 2008, in conjunction the Nationwide Children’s Hospital expansion project, a beautiful 80 room Ronald McDonald House was opened, making it one of the largest Ronald McDonald Houses in the world. Located only 200 steps away from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the House is designed to meet the needs of families from throughout Ohio, the United States, and the world.

In 2014, construction was completed on a 57 room expansion project at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House. This new campus expansion allows us to provide a guest room for 137 families every night, equaling nearly 15,000 additional nights at the Ronald McDonald House every year.

In 2017, RMHC of Central Ohio opened the first Ronald McDonald Family Room in Columbus, located at the OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.  This space serves as a respite for families with babies & children receiving medical care at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. We provide a relaxed space for families to grab a snack or a drink, take a shower, do a load of laundry, or take a quick break just steps from their inpatient child, if only for a few moments.

The second Ronald McDonald Family Room in Columbus opened in 2020 at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion, the first of its kind to be located in a behavioral health facility. Centrally located in the Pavilion, the Ronald McDonald Family Room offers families a place to rest and regroup while remaining close to their child by providing a welcoming, homelike environment.

In order to serve even more families at the House, RMHC of Central Ohio has embarked on the largest expansion project in our history – a transformational campaign to provide a million more nights of rest for families when they need it most. This project will include:

  • An additional 80 guest rooms to accommodate more families
  • New community rooms, expanded kitchen and dining, and green space for families
  • Necessary renovations to the existing structure

With the expansion RMHC will be equipped to serve an additional 2,000 families each year, increasing the families served annually to 6,500. Without the services RMHC provides, the families who rely on RMHC for housing and food will be forced to pay an average of $100 a night for local accommodations as well as an average of $20 per person, per day, to feed three meals. Therefore, the total annual savings to families after the expansion will be approximately $14,200,000.

“We are thrilled to embark on this new project and work with our community for A Million Reasons,” said Dee Anders, CEO and Executive Director for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. “This expansion will allow us to make a difference in the lives of so many more children and families, and we sincerely appreciate the support of our community. Without the generosity of Columbus and the Central Ohio region, we would not be able to accomplish this exciting growth.”

When a child is sick and needs specialty care in a hospital, the Ronald McDonald House is there to help keep families close. Located directly across the street from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus, Ohio is one of the largest of its kind in the world. In fact, over 82,000 nights of rest are provided every year through the program.

Doctors and nurses take care of patients – RMHC takes care of the family. If it weren’t for the Ronald McDonald House and the services provided by the tireless staff and volunteers, many families would simply not be able to afford the necessary care for their children.

As part of this campaign, the charity has created the Red Shoe Shuffle, a new TikTok and Instagram Reels dance. The dance, which was choreographed by local dancer Katie Fontana, is set to original music and originally performed by two middle school students from Central Ohio. The video will be released on Wednesday, December 15 on all of the RMHC of Central Ohio social media platforms, and can be viewed on the charity’s YouTube.com channel. The official video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/mzU7H5at-lo. In addition, the charity has an instructional video showing everyone how to do the Red Shoe Shuffle. That video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/NwK7O5c7zgA.

RMHC of Central Ohio currently serves more than 4,500 families annually whose children are treated at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, OhioHealth, Mount Carmel Health Systems, and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. As those tremendous hospital systems grow, so the need at RMHC grows. RMHC of Central Ohio is kicking off a Community Campaign titled A Million Reasons. The charity has provided about one million nights at the Ronald McDonald House since opening in 1982, and is expanding to continue to provide that service for the many families who need it. The Community Campaign is aiming to raise one million dollars of community support. Visit the Ronald McDonald House Community Campaign website: www.RMHC-CentralOhio.org/AMillionReasons

Want to see this beautiful facility for yourself? To schedule a tour email Ryan Wilkins.