Our History

rmhwm-our-historyThe Ronald McDonald House of Springfield, MA® is one of an international network of over 300 Houses that have opened since the first House was established in Philadelphia in 1974. The non-profit corporation, Ronald McDonald House of Springfield, MA® was founded for the sole purpose of building and operating our House. Serving on the Board of Directors are representatives of the Junior League of Springfield, area McDonald’s® owners/operators, medical personnel, concerned parents and community volunteers.

The first Ronald McDonald House opened Oct. 15, 1974, in Philadelphia as a result of then Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Fred Hill. Hill’s daughter, Kim, had leukemia. To be near their daughter during her treatment, Hill and his wife, Fran, slept on hospital chairs, floors, and couches. They noticed many other parents doing the same. Already committed to raising money for cancer research, the Eagles shifted gears and decided to do something to help other families experiencing the same emotional and financial traumas the Hill family faced. Ultimately, the discussion led to a joint fund-raising effort by the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia area McDonald’s restaurants. The resulting funds raised were used to purchase and renovate the first Ronald McDonald House.

In 1984, five members of the Junior League of Springfield researched and documented the need for a Ronald McDonald House to service pediatric needs, particularly at Baystate Medical Center and The Shriner’s Hospital.
Unbeknownst to the Springfield Junior League, a Monson woman, Sandra Crowley, a mother of two, had started a petition drive to bring a Ronald McDonald House to Springfield. When Crowley and the Junior League became aware of each other’s efforts, they joined forces.