OAK BROOK, Ill. – McDonald’s Corporation is celebrating the opening of the world’s 300th Ronald McDonald House in St. Louis on the campus of St. John’s Mercy Medical Center. The facility can provide housing for hundreds of families each year while their children receive life-saving treatment for conditions such as cancer, heart disease and birth defects.

“At today’s opening of the world’s 300th House, we are proud to honor all of the families who have found strength over the years while fighting for their children’s recovery,” said Jim Skinner, McDonald’s chief executive officer. “Ronald McDonald House Charities is the heart and soul of McDonald’s, and our support of this charity is one of the most rewarding things we do.”

The first Ronald McDonald House was born 36 years ago in Philadelphia. The daughter of former Philadelphia Eagles player Fred Hill underwent years of intense medical treatments, and out of that hardship grew the idea to create a “home away from home” near a hospital where families could stay together during difficult times.

The generous McDonald’s owner/operators in Philadelphia rallied together with the company to raise funds to build the very first Ronald McDonald House.

“When our very first Ronald McDonald House was built in 1974, no one could have imagined that one day, we might open another – let alone 300 of them,” said Marty Coyne, R.M.H.C. president and c.e.o. “The new House in St. Louis is a testament to the commitment and support of the local Chapter, deep relationships with the medical community and the generous support of the staff, volunteers and individual and corporate donors. Just like the 299 Houses before it, this House will ensure families have more than a place to stay, but also a place to find strength – emotionally, physically, and spiritually – as they focus on healing their children.”

Each night, Ronald McDonald Houses welcome nearly 7,200 families, saving them approximately $250 million a year in hotel costs alone. The Houses provide comfortable beds, warm meals, hot showers and families who share similar challenges of having seriously-ill children.

This new $4.5 million Ronald McDonald House is the third in Metro St. Louis and will serve approximately 700 families annually. It was made possible by lead gifts from St. John’s Mercy, the St. Louis McDonald’s Co-Op and other generous contributors. The project is contracted by Kadean Construction, designed by Gray Design Group, and financed through UMB.

R.M.H.C.is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, and McDonald's is its largest corporate donor. Portions of the annual operating costs for Ronald McDonald Houses are funded by McDonald's and owner/operators of local McDonald's restaurants. The remainder of annual operating income comes from the generosity of individual and corporate donors.