Doors are open at the House That Love Built

Ronald McDonald assists Mary Virginia Terry in cutting the ribbon commemorating the new $12.5 million addition to Ronald McDonald House in San Marco Sept. 21. Crowded behind her are some of the children and parents currently staying in the house. Looking over Mrs. Terry’s shoulder to her right are Cole Fox, J.F. Bryan IV and Ronald McDonald House Executive Director Diane Boyle.

Ronald McDonald has a larger house, thanks to the generosity of Jacksonville donors. With 26 more guest rooms, the Ronald McDonald House can serve more than 1,500 families each year after a $12.5 million capital campaign allowed the San Marco-based nonprofit to expand and renovate its facility.

“Growing the House That Love Built” was concluded with a ribbon cutting on Sept. 26, 2016, opening its doors to families who travel to Jacksonville for their child’s medical treatment.

A core project of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Jacksonville, the House has been providing lodging, meals, transportation and a community of compassionate care for 28 years to families who need to be near a hospital for their child’s treatment. As Jacksonville has continued to grow as a leading medical destination for children’s healthcare, so has the demand for the Ronald McDonald House.

The RMHC of Jacksonville provides help for families receiving treatment at five  healthcare facilities: Brooks Rehabilitation, Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, UF Health Jacksonville, UF Health Proton Therapy Institute and Wolfson Children’s Hospital. The community’s contributions to the expansion and renovation of the House will not only add to the number of families served but also to the level of comfort and respite given.

In addition to the guest rooms, the three-story expansion also includes a new volunteer kitchen to support the many volunteers that prepare meals for visiting families, a learning center, a fitness center, covered parking and a beautiful rooftop garden. “The rooftop garden is an integral component of our health and wellness program,” said Diane Boyle, executive director, RMHC of Jacksonville.

Although the facility’s addition is now complete, the existing building’s renovations are planned to be completed by the end of the year. This third phase of the campaign also includes implementing a new health and wellness program. The RMHC is always in need of volunteers to cook family meals and aid in other areas as the House is open 365 days of year. Go to or call (904) 807-HOME to learn more.