RMH-NY 2023: A Remarkable Year of Collaboration, Care, and Community
Watch this 2023 Year in Review video for a look back at the best of the year!
Greetings, friends! Can you believe the incredible year that Ronald McDonald House New York (RMH-NY) had in 2023? It was a whirlwind of emotions, a rollercoaster of events, and a testament to the unwavering support of our community. Join us as we delve deep into the heartwarming collaborations, the compassionate care we provided, and the community of people that defined our year.
A Revived House and Record-Breaking Referrals
Let's kick things off by revisiting the heart of our operations—the House at 405 East 73rd Street. In 2023, it came alive again, hosting in-person programs and welcoming families with open arms (masked, of course). The Family Support team, our real heroes, witnessed a tremendous surge in family referrals, and it wasn't just any surge—it came from a record-setting 155 different social workers from our many local hospital partners. Now, that's what we call a united front!
Turning Dreams into Reality: Growth Initiatives Unveiled
As we rewind the clock, we can't help but marvel at the growth initiatives that unfolded in 2023. The vision set by President and CEO Dr. Ruth Browne and the RMH-NY Board of Directors during the pandemic years was now taking shape. Health equity projects were launched, touching every borough of New York City. The result? The largest outreach effort in RMH-NY's 44-year history aimed at eradicating health inequality for all NYC families. It was a momentous year, laying the foundation for a brighter and more inclusive future.
2023 Statistic Snapshot
Let's dive into the numbers, the heartbeat of our impact over the past year:
Families Helped: 826
Family night stays: 26,958
Countries reached: 35
States/Provinces covered: 48
Rides provided: 17,600
Languages Spoken: 18
Meals Served: 51,534
2nd floor Playroom Visits: 4,500
RMH-NY Patient Location Map - 2023 saw patients enter the House from 35 different countries around the world. The map above tells the story of where families staying in the House call home.
Now, let's shift our focus to the vibrant tapestry of events that painted our 2023:
An Eventful Year
Ronald McDonald House New York hosted 17 major fundraising events over the course of 2023. Most events were classic staples of RMH-NY’s fundraising calendar including our premiere fundraising event in the spring with partners RBC Capital Markets and the New York Rangers, Skate with the Greats. The 31st Annual Ronald McDonald House New York Gala held at Chelsea Piers on Pier 61 highlights the back half of the year. And this year the Gala was a smash success celebrating Steven J. Bensinger by awarding him the first ever Pinnacle of Vision Award among several other notable honorees.
The Volunteer Team, one of the many backbones of RMH-NY, faced an unprecedented challenge in 2023. Emerging from a period where volunteers were temporarily on hold, the team not only continued to make their invaluable contributions but also reinvigorated a nearly nonexistent volunteer fleet. By year-end, they welcomed so many brand new volunteers, a testament to the unwavering spirit of generosity.
The Volunteer Team, superheroes in their own right, orchestrated 84 Helping Hands events. These events weren't just about creating 6,104 Breakfast Bags; they were about creating connections, forging bonds, and making a real difference. With 2,811 volunteers clocking in an astounding 5,622 Helping Hands Volunteer Hours, they showcased the power of collective kindness. And yes, they deserved more than just a day off—perhaps a month, but their dedication was unwavering.
The Blavatnik Family Foundation Wellness Center: A Sanctuary for Caregivers
Now, let's take a soothing pause and ascend to the 11th floor, where the Wellness Center became a haven for caregivers. In 2023, it witnessed a surge in popularity, with 6,521 caregiver visits. These weren't mere visits; they were intentional acts of self-care—wellness sessions, massages, Zumba, Reiki, stretching sessions, personal training, manicures, circuit training, and creative art classes became essential components of our caregivers' well-being journey.
The Wellness Center also forged a partnership with Eva Pena, owner of the Wellness+Studio on the Upper East Side. Every Friday, Eva volunteered her time, offering training, stretching, and recovery sessions—a true embodiment of community support.
Celebrities Make a Splash
Awkwafina at RMH-NY
Celebrities made a triumphant return in 2023, bringing not just their fame but also their hearts to our House. Chris Pratt and Universal Studios shared Super Mario Bros. gear, creating excitement before the movie release. Awkwafina, Leo Suter, Sebastian Stan, and others took time from their busy schedules to engage with our families, bringing joy, laughter, and memorable moments.
The New York Rangers, in collaboration with the Garden of Dreams Foundation, transformed the 3rd-floor terrace into a creative haven. McDonald's Grimace surprised families during a summer dinner, and members of the Paw Patrol brought smiles to the 2nd-floor playroom, courtesy of Paramount Pictures, Allied Global Marketing, and MDC Productions.
Media Moments: Spreading Joy Beyond 73rd Street
Media played a crucial role in amplifying our impact. Special House Fundraisers and Events, such as Hoppy Spring, Heroes on the Ave Block Party, Macy’s Annual House Christmas Decorating Celebration, and Miracle on 73rd Street, became not just local highlights but garnered coverage from major news outlets, including NBC, ABC, CBS, Pix 11, NY1, and even a news station from Japan.
Outside the Four Walls: Serving the Greater NYC Community
But the heartbeat of RMH-NY wasn't confined to East 73rd Street. On May 15th, the House announced that President and CEO Dr. Ruth C. Browne was named to Crain’s New York Business’ Notable Leaders in Health Care list and coupled it with the unveiling of a strategic growth plan. This plan extended our reach beyond the East 73rd Street House, venturing into hospitals in underserved communities throughout all five boroughs of New York City.
A few months prior, RMH-NY celebrated the official opening of its second Ronald McDonald Family Room in partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, serving caregivers of children admitted to the Queens public hospital. And the vision for 2024 includes breaking ground on three more family rooms in partnering hospitals in Manhattan and The Bronx.
Our local outreach expanded through Hospitality Carts in many partnering hospitals and NICUs around the city, delivering Programs-to-go designed by the same team that crafts our fantastic children's enrichment programming at the House. In 2023, we continued to add new hospital partnerships, and our programs-to-go service reached more and more children in NYC communities every day.
Strategic Partnerships: The Catalyst for Growth
With a brand-new strategic partnerships team in place at the beginning of the year, RMH-NY launched and/or expanded 16 Health Equity partnerships in NYC. These partnerships addressed critical social determinants of health, such as food security, child development, and healthcare quality. The team also extended its support to two baby showers for third-trimester mothers at NYC Health & Hospitals/Metropolitan, securing in-kind baby essentials from strategic partner like Skip Hop among others.
Our strategic growth plan was gaining momentum, and 2023 was a year of laying the groundwork for a more inclusive and impactful future. The House looked beyond its physical borders, reaching out to communities in need, forging connections, and creating a network of support that went beyond the confines of East 73rd Street.
This grant, which will primarily be utilized to power the Health Equity Data Center for Children and Families, will enhance RMH-NY activities and is integral to its goal to increase the number of families reached by 30% each year. Included within the grant will be RMH-NY’s very first EHR (Electronic Health Records) system.
Ronald McDonald House New York also partnered with insurance giant, Health First, to provide care and coordination services to Medicaid families across the five boroughs. In 2023, the team provided 700 outreach services and 600 navigational services for the families participating in the program.
As part of the evolving resources provided our new cohort of families served, the House also partnered with Columbia University's School of Nursing & Division of Pediatric Oncology to establish a research/community-based partnership targeting food insecurity and other social needs for pediatric cancer patients and their families. God’s Love We Deliver was added to the research team as a partner in Fall 2023 to provide medically tailored meals to patients and their caregivers.
A Heartfelt Thank You
RMH-NY extends a massive shoutout and heartfelt gratitude to every person who played a role—big or small—in making 2023 a year to remember. Whether you gave your time, your money, or offered your talents, you contributed to the mission of Ronald McDonald House New York, ensuring it not only endured but began to grow and shine all over New York City like never before. Your collective efforts created a ripple effect of kindness, compassion, and community spirit that will resonate for years to come.
Thank you for being an integral part of our incredible journey! 🌟
To every single group who has so compassionately and effortlessly given their time, money, and manpower to further the mission of RMH-NY and enrich the lives of the children and families we serve who are facing unbelievably challenging moments in their lives… THANK YOU!
Casey and Andrew's story unfolded at Ronald McDonald House New York in 2022. Facing the challenges of neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that primarily affects young children, the family's resilience became evident during their prolonged stay at the House.
The family’s life took an unexpected turn when their oldest son, Jayden, developed a mass in his liver about the size of an adult man’s fist and was diagnosed with fibrolamellar carcinoma, a rare type of liver cancer that rarely affects kids his age and is only found in one in every five million people. Read about Jayden's family's time at RMH-NY and their impactful journey through the various programs provided by the House.