Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) provides support to the families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. On Tuesday, the RMHC of the Capital Region partnered with BitPay to accept bitcoin donations.
“Part of what sold us (eased our novice worries) was knowing that the United Way, Green Peace accepted donations via Bitcoin,” – Jeff Yule, Executive Director Albany RMHC
The Ronald McDonald House that lessens the burden and financial hardship of families with children suffering from a life-threatening illness. Some families live thirty minutes, or more, away. The houses are more than just a place to sleep. They provide warm, safe, and comfortable homes for sick children and their families.
Volunteers are available twelve hours a day. They home cook meals every night. And they take care of the family’s every need so moms and dads stay rested and focused as best they can.
Ronald McDonald Family Rooms are located in hospitals and give parents a respite from the confines of a hospital corridors and rooms. Family Rooms have two bedrooms, a kitchenette with refrigerator and microwave. Each month, 100 volunteers staff Family Rooms. The kitchen and snack area is stocked by community donations.
Care Mobile provides restorative dental care to children of Capital District. In 2005 over 44% of Albany children had dental caries, and dental issues were the leading cause of absenteeism in schools. Care Mobile brings instant access to full dental care and treatment for low-income areas and increases preventative care awareness.
Albany’s Ronald McDonald House has 16 rooms and will be opening their third house in a few weeks – adding another ten bedrooms. In 2012 Albany RMHC was recognized by Success Magazine on its thirtieth anniversary.
One of the realities that drew us to accepting bitcoins were the micro donations that can be generated…. we have been in that business forever… In our area (Albany, NY) we collected over $250,000 a year via donation boxes at 70 local McDonald’s… average donation is likely under $0.25! We know how donations can add up.
Reddit user BeijingBitcoins recommended putting a QR code Bitcoin address on those 70 local boxes. Jeff responded positively and agreed to bring the idea forward.
On whether or not other RMHCs would accept bitcoin, Jeff explained,
In the USA, we are all independent of one and other, and rather decentralized, which I think is a good thing as our oversight/control is left by and large at the local level…
But he agreed to talk to a friend he knows – A McDonald’s House executive in Northern Alberta.
Jeff Yule also explained how their investment and gift policies do not allow them to hold any gifted stocks or collectibles. They must convert these items into currency. It would be great if this were updated to allow for purchases from other Bitcoin companies – such as taking advantage of the purchasing discounts on site’s like Purse and Brawker.
Also read: Pantera Capital Leads $3.5m Investment In Bitcoin Microtransaction Service Changetip
So far, Albany Ronald McDonald House has raised over $1,000 USD from users around the world. Jeff mentioned some initial confusion over Bitcoin prior to accepting donations. However, he said, after the first $500 donation came in the board was quite impressed and pleased.
Bitcoin Foundation Patrick Murck said in his Reddit AMA that his greatest fear was Bitcoin’s community pulling itself apart before Bitcoin reaches its tipping point.
Jeff explains why Ronald McDonald House is a great fit for Bitcoin, and not “Big Oil running a charity to save seals. ”
We are not owned by or managed by McDonald’s… We do maintain a licensing agreement with them that has two main purposes –
1) to protect their trademark and
2) to ensure we operate within all pertinent laws, rules, etc locally, at the state level and nationally…
Beyond that, they have little reach or control.
In the USA the 1st House was started in 1982 when a Pediatric Cancer Doc in Philadelphia asked the Philadelphia Eagles pro football team to help her buy an empty YMCA across the street for her families to use… She was frustrated with them sleeping on the floor, in chairs, waiting rooms, cars or going broke in hotels. The sponsor who ponied up the $ was McDonald’s and thus the name… The concept of corporate philanthropy as we know it did not exist then… it was very grass roots and local from what I know… The concept spread around the country… in NFL cities… as it seems the owners kept close eyes on what others did…
We opened in 1982…
We are not advocates for McDonald’s but I have many wonderful friends who own McD’s restaurants, work for McDonald’s, own companies which service them, etc… End of the day its people…
Completely respect your decision to invest charity dollars in causes / orgs close to your heart. We are about keeping families close to their sick kids, never charging for any of the services we provide, and working to meet their every need. McD’s is our biggest partner no doubt, but we are a separate entity with a unique mission statement and purpose.
I hope this is not taken as offensive, etc… just wanted to share my view/perspective.
The Albany Ronald McDonald House bitcoin donations page
What do you think? Comment Below
Images from Ronald McDonald House Charities, Success Magazine and Shutterstock.