Initial efforts to build a Ronald McDonald House in Memphis began in the early 1980s when local McDonald’s owners/operators, led by Saul Kaplan discussed the possibility of a Ronald McDonald House in Memphis.
When in 1983, Dr. Joe Simone became the medical director of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a group of McDonald’s operators met with St. Jude administrators to formally discuss the formation of the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis, a program of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis. Construction began in 1990 and the house opened in September 1991.
In the late 1990’s St. Jude announced plans for a major expansion and the demand for patient housing increased dramatically. In 1999 St. Jude officials asked the Ronald McDonald House Board of Directors to expand to house more families. In 2000 Ronald McDonald House became more than twice its original size as 27 bedrooms were added to the original 24, providing a total of 51 bedrooms for our families.
In 2014 two 2-bedroom apartments were added to better accommodate families needing extended stays or other special needs.Ronald McDonald House of Memphis is now a 53 bedroom home, providing care and comfort to families whose children are battling cancer.
With support from the community, local McDonald's Memphis Area Co-Op, and founding partners such as Alpha Delta Pi sorority, The FedEx Pilot's Wives Association and proceeds from our annual Radiothon, Ronald McDonald House of Memphis now features a fitness room with state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a meditation room and a teen room with pool tables, gaming systems and lounge areas.
Since opening its doors in 1991, Ronald McDonald House of Memphis has provided a home for more than 9,400 children from nearly every state and 45 countries.
Learn more about the history of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis.