Since opening its doors nearly 32 years ago, the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Greater Chattanooga has served as a pillar of support for families during trying medical times. Today, the mission continues with Dr. Michael Brown, President and CEO, at the helm.
Brown’s personal experience launched him into the field of Human Services, which is where he has spent the last 35 years serving people in need. With decorated experience transforming organizational processes and systems to drive advancement, program enhancements and community outreach, Dr. Brown has his sights on the growth and longevity of Chattanooga’s Ronald McDonald House.
In partnership with Erlanger Hospital and regionally-operated McDonald’s owners, the heartbeat of the mission remains keeping families together during their most challenging times. RMHC provides services at no additional cost to families to ensure that their sole focus is on the care of their loved one(s).
More than just a place to rest, the Ronald McDonald House, with the help of community volunteers, provides daily meals and support services to the families they serve. The facility offers some comforts of home, from a private kitchen on each floor to a laundry room, living area, playroom and library. Annually, the Ronald McDonald House of Chattanooga serves over 500 families with children who are undergoing inpatient and outpatient treatment at local Chattanooga hospitals. Additionally, Chattanooga is home to the fourth Ronald McDonald Family Room located on the third floor of the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. This special space provides families with some respite while their loved one receives intensive medical care.
In order to sustain its successful longevity, Dr. Brown is laser-focused on prioritizing what he coins “friendraising.” “We must continue to tell our story to better inform our friends and community leaders. There is no way we can do this work alone,” Brown told us.
Brown adds that while there is growing admiration for the Ronald McDonald House, few understand the depth of services they provide to families within our area. As such, prioritizing brand awareness is a vital pillar to growing community support. Dr. Brown’s plan of action includes hosting various Jeffersonian Dinners where community leaders and volunteers will get an intimate look into the future of the organization and learn how best to collaborate and support the mission at hand.
Expanding on his friendraising approach, Dr. Brown also plans to establish medical navigators who would serve as the first touchstone of RMHC and would assist with intake and post-stay re-entry. Moreover, Dr. Brown envisions establishing a partnership with local college campuses, including the University of Chattanooga and Chattanooga Community College, to institute clubs that would not only address the volunteer needs of RMHC but also provide first-hand experience for students looking for a career in social work, counseling, or culinary arts, or for students who want to volunteer in their community. Given these efforts, it is clear that the Ronald McDonald House will continue its vital support for the families it serves alongside a growing community alliance.
Brown notes that some building renovations are needed for the 28-bedroom facility to improve overall operational efficiency that will ensure another 30-plus years of high-quality services and accommodations.
From operational help and collecting various goods to donating financially in support of the ongoing campaigns, there are a number of ways that you can contribute to the mission of RMHC. Visit www.rmhchattanooga.com to learn more about how you can get involved with the Ronald McDonald House of Greater Chattanooga–a pillar of support during trying times.