1974: The first Ronald McDonald House opens in Philadelphia thanks to Fred Hill, a Philadelphia Eagles football player whose daughter was diagnosed with leukemia and was being treated at the children’s hospital there. Hill and his wife Fran, along with pediatric oncologist Dr. Audrey Evans, noticed there were insufficient accommodations for families who had to travel to Philadelphia for their children’s healthcare needs. Together they enlisted the Eagles organization and local McDonald’s owners/operators to raise the funds to open the first Ronald McDonald House.
1990: The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Corpus Christi opens its doors on February 10th with enough room to accommodate 16 families. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Corpus Christi is the only House in the country entirely funded by community efforts.
2001: An expansion occurs which allows the House to serve 25 families.
2003: The first Casa de Amor gala, showcasing Ted Kennedy, Jr., takes place as the signature fundraising event for Ronald McDonald House of Corpus Christi in September. Casa de Amor has become a premier event in the Coastal Bend thanks to celebrity speakers such as Tony Parker, Regis Philbin, Jeff Bagwell and many others over the years.
2005: Grunts Cantina in Sandia, TX holds its first annual Pachanga for the Ronald McDonald House of Corpus Christi. The all-day event is complete with a motorcycle ride, a BBQ cook-off and a one-of-a-kind live auction. Grunts Cantina Pachanga is in its 15th year making it the House’s longest running third-party fundraiser.
2007: Sophia, our first House dog, arrives. She is a small dog with a big responsibility of bringing a sense of home to the families at the Ronald McDonald House of Corpus Christi.
2014: The first Men Who Cook takes place in the spring and quickly becomes a very popular event in Corpus Christi. Teams of men from all over the Coastal Bend compete to see who can prepare the best dish and who can raise the most money for the House. It had a record-breaking year in 2019 and has sold out every year since 2017.
2015: A campaign to refresh all 25 rooms kicks off this year. Each room receives a fresh paint job, a new headboard, dresser and décor. Rooms are sponsored by individuals, families and organizations from the community who come together to provide a more comfortable, home-like atmosphere.
2018: This year we added a new member to the RMHCofCC family. The House was gifted a yellow lab puppy by Gloria Hicks of Hicks Family Automotive Group! Duke became our Chief Cheer Officer and he brings joy, comfort and a little feeling of home to our families and staff.
2019: This summer starts off in the sweetest way! A giant ice cream cone, a local icon, is given to the Ronald McDonald House of Corpus Christi by the family of the late Jennifer Hawn. The cone had adorned Hawn’s yard for 20 years and when she passed away this year; her family wanted the cone to live on in a place for children to enjoy.
2019: The Happy Wheels Hospitality Cart program launches as a partnership between the Ronald McDonald House of Corpus Christi and Corpus Christi Medical Center – Bay Area hospital. The cart is attended by volunteers who hand out various items, such as snacks and books to families at the hospital who are not currently staying at the House. The cart is made possible by H-E-B Tournament of Champions.
2020: This year we celebrate our 30th anniversary. There have been many Girl Scouts decorating our rooms, Boy Scouts building our fences and numerous community organizations crossing our threshold to share meals with our families over the years. Because of generous community support, we have been able to provide important amenities and programs to families who are facing some of their toughest challenges.
Our Founding Board of Directors – 1990
- Rodney E. Senterfitt
- Linda Prado
- Cathy Crews
- Barry Box
- Lana Andrews
- Paige M. Cooper
- Foster Edwards
- Russell W. Ellis
- Ann Fox
- John J. Fraser M.D.
- Ruth Hildreth
- Michael R. Karm
- Carol Kins
- George Kohler
- Sandra LaBaume
- Reese Lewandowski
- Courtney McLain
- Mary Ellen Miller
- Rebecca Muir-Rodriguez
- Karen O’ Conner
- Jacqueline Park
- Sheila Senterfitt
- Bill Stahl
- Fran Steele