RBC Capital Markets and Watermelon

How This Unlikely Pair Filled Our Families with Joy 

RBC volunteers with CEO ruth Browne

At Ronald McDonald House New York, we are more than just a House. When it comes to our meal program, we are a House… that feeds you.  

In early 2023, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) gave RMH-NY (Ronald McDonald House New York) a $50,000 donation specifically geared to the Meal Program. The best part of having RBC as a long-time devoted corporate partner is that their idea of philanthropy does not stop at the monetary donation. For RBC Capital Markets, a $50,000 donation is only the beginning of their gift to the Ronald McDonald House New York meal program. 

RBC Capital Markets Goes Above and Beyond 

Royal Bank of Canada has been an incredibly giving and consistent partner to the House. Since our partnership began in 2003, RBC has deployed funding to the House each year in support of various programs and initiatives at RMH-NY. RBC has taken the reins to lead and financially back everything from Skate with the Greats, the NYC Marathon, the RBC Kids for a Day Celebration to several instances of Foundation Giving. RBC even assisted the House with a grant to support our DEI via the Social Impact Learning Program. 

As of May 2022, in the prior year, Ronald McDonald House New York saw 207 RBC-affiliated volunteers throughout the year.  

bobby and watermelon

Bobby Grubert, Head of Digital Solutions & Client Insights at RBC Capital Markets, has acted as Chairman of the Board for the last two years to help navigate the House through dark days of the pandemic and back out again. His two-year tenure as Chairman will end in October of this year. Without Bobby’s leadership, the last two years of the pandemic would have been much harder to maneuver.   

RBC has been one of the House’s greatest allies for decades, and most recently they filled our families with tasty food and tons of fun, serving dinner and celebrating National Watermelon Day. 

Watermelon Moment #1 

Watermelon is a vine-like flowering plant that is composed of 92% water. This is an obvious reason why we love to save our Watermelon intake until the hottest days of the summer. 

The Meal Program at RMH-NY 

doors to the RMH-NY decorated with watermelon garb

At RMH-NY, we provide three healthy meals a day for every member of each family currently staying in the House. The meal program is supported in many ways. There are donor-sponsored meals from NYC eateries, donated meals directly from the eateries, and corporate volunteer-created cuisines.  The House provides families with the nourishment needed to focus on the activities of the day and not have to worry about whether they will be able to eat again today.  

The meal program helps to enhance and deepen the feeling of community within the House and offers RMH-NY staff an option for an informal check-in with any family members if needed. 

To truly be that home away from home, RMH-NY goes a step further to offer our families their very own kitchen space.  Upon arrival, every family is assigned to one of our four chef’s kitchens and receives a key to a locked private storage cabinet devoted completely to them. 

RBC Volunteers serving dinner on National Watermelon Day t RMH-NY

Our incredible donors at local schools and community groups also provide stock for our Parent’s Pantry, so families always have access to cooking staples. We encourage parents and caregivers to use the kitchens to prepare their favorite dishes from home to make the transition a little more comforting for their child. 

Our kids and their caregivers often tell us how much they look forward to their in-house dinner. The House dinner becomes the thing they can rely on when a day at the hospital has depleted them of every bit of energy. And when RBC comes for dinner, you never know what kind of fun might be in store. 

The Volunteer Aspect 

August 3rd is widely accepted around the world as the official National Watermelon Day. At Ronald McDonald House New York, we love to celebrate holidays big and small. Any chance that we can get to celebrate is another chance to bring a little more joy into the House, so holidays are our jam at RMH-NY.  

However, RBC’s team members were the creative minds behind the National Watermelon Day celebration. Alongside the $50,000 meal program donation, RBC decided that the meals they fund they should also serve to our families.  

17 separate dinner services from the beginning of July to the end of 2023, RBC is providing different teams of volunteers composed of RBC executives, employees, and interns that come in and personally serve our families.  

Watermelon Moment #2 

The Heaviest Watermelon ever weighed and holder the Guinness Book of World Records title came in at a whopping 262 pounds. The gigantic fruit was grown by Tennessee-based Chris Kent. 

National Watermelon Day 

This year August 3rd  just happened to fall on a Thursday, so RBC decided to incorporate the celebration into their meal service. 

If you walked into the 2nd floor dining room of the House at 5 pm that day, it would have been hard to miss the theme. RMH-NY Volunteer Team led by Lindsay, had turned the dining room into a watermelon wonder. They had watermelon balloons, watermelon centerpieces, watermelon wall coverings, along with the watermelon flatware, napkins, and tablecloths. It looked watermelon delicious. 

Once the buffet-style meal was served, each family had a chance to sample fresh watermelon from the watermelon station which was manned by none other than RMH-NY Chairman of the Board, Bobby Grubert. He was serving up watermelon to House residents so fast, you could have sworn it was a 4th of July picnic. 

To celebrate the national holiday, RBC also brought life-size watermelon coloring books and crayons for all the kids to enjoy the red and green wonder that is the watermelon.  

Rmh-NY and RBC gave coloring books of watermelon to the kids

more of a man with the coloring books for kids at RMH-NY

RBC Capital Markets consistently comes through for our families by way of our meal program but remember that their philanthropic support of the House does not end there.  

A Healthy Partnership 

RBC Capital Markets has been an incredibly reliable and dynamic partner to Ronald McDonald House New York for almost 20 years now. Their contribution to the meal program has been enormous, but the corporate partner has also had a leadership presence on the RMH-NY Board for many years, they have given previous gifts-in-kind to support other areas of the House including a $200k gift in October 2022, and RBC even created a recent campaign that focused on mental health and featured our Wellness Programs and RMH-NY's Assistant Director of Wellness and Family Rooms  Jillian McKiernan just to highlight a few.  

RBC Foundation USA has even been a central support to RMH-NY's strategic growth plan, partnering with the House to help the digital acceleration of the current health equity outreach RMH-NY is focused on to help more families here at home in the five boroughs of NYC. 

 We are appreciative to all members of the RBC Capital Markets team that take the time to be a part of making it easier for us to provide for our families every day.  

Watermelon Moment #3 

Watermelons usually have a sweet, juicy, red inside that tastes so good, but did you know that not all Watermelon insides are red. Some watermelon come in orange, yellow, and white rather than the most-frequently seen red inside. 

Need to know more about this juicy summertime treat? Visit watermelon.org to learn everything you ever wanted or needed to know about this fruity favorite. 


Other RMH-NY Meal Program Partners 

While a $50,000 gift from RBC will feed our families many nights over the following months, it takes the kindness of many different corporate partners to raise the full capital needed to fund the whole of our meal program for an entire year. Other generous corporate partners from the financial sector who give to the meal program at Ronald McDonald House New York include: 

  • Deutsche Bank 
  • Wells Fargo 
  • Bank of America 
  • Invesco 
  • JP Morgan Chase 
  • Annaly Capital Management 
  • Virtu 
  • Bloomberg 

RMH-NY Meal Program Achievements  

The following outcome is based on quantifiable data produced by RMH-NY. 

  • 95% of caregivers report increased food and nutrition intake for themselves and their families. 
  • 92% report increased energy levels. 
  • 95% of caregivers report that their daily routine and structure has improved. 
  • 84% of caregivers reported experiencing reduced feelings of stress. 

    Garnering these types of achievements would have never been possible without the generosity of the amazing people at RBC Capital Markets and other corporate donors who give so willingly year after year to solidify our ability to feed our families 365 days out of the year.  

    Thank you to Bobby Grubert and all the executives, staff, and interns at RBC Capital Markets that give their time to give back to our families. It would be impossible to do this without your generous gifts and your continued volunteer presence in our House. 

    Would your company like to sponsor a meal and come serve it in the House?  Click here to fill our families with food and joy. 

     Watermelon Moment #4 

    The first known civilization to cultivate Watermelon were the ancient Egyptians. Watermelon seeds have been recovered in important Egyptian monuments including the tomb of King Tut. 

    About RBC Capital Markets 

    We are part of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), a leading, diversified provider of financial services and one of the strongest banks globally. Founded in 1864, RBC is the 11th largest bank globally and the 5th largest in North America, as measured by market capitalization. RBC is among a small group of highly rated global banks and is recognized time and time again for its financial strength, market leadership, and philanthropic work. 

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