There was an overwhelming feeling of excitement and gratitude in the air at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) of Cleveland grand opening celebration last week. The new wing was packed with people with all kinds of ties to RMH – from donors and founding families to parents of children who are patients at nearby medical centers. No matter the connection, the sentiment was the same; RMH had made a lasting impact on each person.
You simply can’t understand the magnitude of a project like this by looking at a report on the number of rooms that were added, the additional number of people housed or the projected financials. It doesn’t really sink in until you are sitting at the grand opening listening as RMH parents describe how staying at the house enables them to visit their premature baby girl at the intensive care unit multiple times each day. This precious life entered the world three months early with a heart problem and underdeveloped lungs and stomach. Listening to their story, there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience.
Despite all they’ve been through, these loving parents shared their personal experience with humility and grace. They didn’t dwell on their daughter’s illness or the struggles they were facing. They spoke of how grateful they were for Ronald McDonald House and how staying there enabled them to be proactive in their daughter’s treatment. Staying at RMH gave them a sense of community and a supportive “family” forged through shared experiences.
Finance Fund provided $9.2 million in federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing and $2.5 million in state NMTC toward the construction project which added 18 new guest rooms, a larger kitchen facility, an extended recreation room for families to gather and an expanded conference center available for community meetings. This expansion project was critical for RMH of Cleveland. Last year alone over 1,500 families were turned away due to lack of available rooms.
Finance Fund’s partnership in this project enabled RMH of Cleveland to be the first chapter in the nation to incorporate NMTC into the financing of a capital campaign, paving the way for other chapters. Every room built helps another family in a time of crisis.