(Contest Nominee) RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES OF DENVER Helps Comfort Families in Need

Citywide Banks employees have nominated seven Colorado charities to compete in its Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place on Facebook from July 7-21, 2014. The community is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. $8,000 in cash donations will be split between nominees based on the voting results.  Facebook Voting Page

In 1979, a group of eight local McDonald franchise owner/operators put up the funds to start the third Ronald McDonald House in the nation, a temporary residence for out-of-town families to stay while their child undergoes treatment in a Denver hospital. Back then, the house, located near the old Children’s Hospital on 21st Avenue, had 10 bedrooms. Today, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Denver (RMHC) boasts two locations with rooms for 76 families. Many of the original founders are still involved today.

“We started with a small house on 16th and Ogden,“ says Pam Whitaker, executive director for RMHC. “But the demand was so great we built a new larger one from the ground up nearby in 2001. Then Children’s Hospital moved across town so we built another one.”

Families who live outside of 60 miles from Denver can stay at either house as long as they like, while their child is being treated for anything that requires an overnight stay whether it’s cancer, a premature baby, cystic fibrosis, cardiac issues, organ transplants, trauma or something else.

“We have families from around the world staying. We have one from Singapore now and have had ones from Saudi Arabia and the Czech Republic. We have families who have stayed with us for a night or two and some who have stayed for a year. It just depends on why they’re coming here,” Whitaker explained.

Over the years, the organization has branched out in different ways to help families. For the last 34 summers, RMHC has operated a camp called Sky High Hope Camp for childrendiagnosed with cancer. It’s a weeklong program held outside of Golden, Colorado. The camp is run entirely by volunteers including doctors, nurses, arts & craft counselors, archery instructors, etc. “We have 90 kids that come,” says Whitaker. “Everyone is taken care of and we provide a great week for them.”

RMHC also offers a scholarship program for graduating high school seniors who don’t have adequate access to educational opportunities. The program has awarded over two million dollars’ worth of scholarships since it began. This year, 65 scholarships were awarded.

The organization also manages a community grants program that provides grants to other nonprofits in the area that are dedicated to helping children.  For example, the Anchor Center for the Blind, Colorado Children’s Chorale, and the Boys and Girls Club of Denver are a few that have benefited from this program.

RMHC also partners with Rocky Mountain Youth to operate three Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles. These vehicle-based clinics go out into underserved communities, providing medical and dental services for Colorado’s uninsured children. The program treats about 2,500 kids a year.

And last, but certainly not least, they also run three Ronald McDonald Family Rooms at Children’s Hospital Colorado and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. These are rooms within the hospital designed for families of sick children where families can rest, get a snack, watch TV, check emails, take a nap, and even get their laundry done or take a shower.

Whitaker says that their greatest need right now is financial contributions. They are working to expand programs to accommodate more families. “Right now we’re turning away about 2,200 families a year because we don’t have room for them,” she says. “And then the operating costs increase all the time.”

And, as a 24/7, 365 days a year operation, the nonprofit continually needs volunteers to help keep things running smoothly. “It’s busy around here all the time,” says Whitaker. Their greatest need for volunteers are House Managers and Family Room volunteers.

A $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks would go toward building more rooms to help accommodate more families.

For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.RonaldHouse.org or follow RMHC on Facebook.

 

How to Give RMHC a Hand-Up

  1. “LIKE” THEM ON FACEBOOK during the July contest (charity nominee with biggest % increase in Facebook followers will receive an extra $500 donation from Citywide Banks)
  2. VOTE FOR THEM on contest voting page at Citywide Banks Facebook page (charity nominee with most votes will get $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks)
  3. POST A COMMENT about what you like about RMHC on Citywide Banks Facebook page
  4. SHARE posts about this contest and RMHC with your family, friends, and coworkers (tell them to support RMHC)

About the Citywide Banks Charity Hand-Up Contest
For more than 50 years, family owned, Colorado focused Citywide Banks has been a passionate champion of our local charities. Our Charity Hand-Up Contests spotlight seven Colorado causes nominated by bank employees. Then, based on a 15-day community vote on Facebook, Citywide Banks splits $8,000 in donations to the nominees. The charity with the most votes receives the top $5,000 donation. Contest voters can also enter to win great prizes, including dinner for two at a top Denver restaurant. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. Full contest details are at www.CitywideBanks.com/contest/.

How to Cast Your Vote – July 7-21, 2014
The contest is open to the general public within the Denver/Boulder community (non-customers welcome to participate; no purchase necessary). The easiest way to vote is online by clicking the “Charity Contest” tab on the Citywide Banks Facebook page at  www.Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to “like” the bank’s Facebook page to submit a vote/entry online. One vote/entry per person is permitted during the 15-day contest. After voting on Facebook, users can use the sharing buttons to easily invite their Facebook friends to vote for their favorite charity. There is even an added bonus prize drawing for those voters that post the contest on their own Facebook timeline.

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