Behind the Scenes: Ronald McDonald House Endowment Grants

October 16th, 2020
Filed Under: Foundation | Philanthropy

During the We Believe Campaign, the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Endowment was established at the Alpha Delta Pi Foundation as a way for every chapter to participate and support the We Believe Campaign. With an initial investment from Jan Foltz Larson, Alpha Eta-Kansas State University, this permanent endowed fund provides support to Ronald McDonald House facilities and programs, particularly those without local support from Alpha Delta Pi chapters and alumnae associations.

In 2019, the Alpha Delta Pi Foundation began making annual grants from the RMHC Endowment. A committee of dedicated volunteers reviews all completed grant applications and makes their grant recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. The members of all of our grant-making committees are held in confidence until a volunteer completes their term on the committee. This year, Shelby Lewis, Zeta Omega-University of Central Florida, served a one-year term on the RMHC Endowment committee and offered to provide a glimpse into the process.

Q&A with Shelby Lewis, Zeta Omega-University of Central Florida

Shelby Lewis, Zeta OmegaQ: Let’s start with a bit about you: where are you from, what’s your major, and do you hold any chapter offices?

I am from Tampa, Florida. I am majoring in Political Science and minoring in Marketing. This past year I served as the Director of New Member Experience where I got the amazing opportunity to initiate 102 sisters.

Q: Approximately how many complete grant requests did you review? Can you share a little bit about the different types of projects that were submitted?

I reviewed 39 applicants. The projects that were submitted varied greatly. The projects that I remember the most are those that were submitted as a result of COVID. Some of the grants were needing new equipment so their kitchen can safely operate during this pandemic. Others were submitting grants to cover meal programs. We also saw a few grants that were looking to build or expand their playrooms and even rebuild their home.

Q: What surprised you most about the grant requests?

What surprised me most about the grant requests was the range between them all. Some of the requests were simple, for example, they were hoping to replace their rug or repaint their home. Then there were many large requests such as rebuilding or remodeling their home, updating their security systems and implementing computer rooms and playrooms for their guests. Also, how much COVID affected these Ronald McDonald Houses around North America really surprised and saddened me. Homes lost pledges from companies, income from guests and support from nearby organizations due to COVID. These requests made it so difficult to choose the recipients but also made awarding these grants that much more special.

Q: What did you learn from serving on the RMHC Endowment Grant Committee this cycle?

I learned how much Alpha Delta Pi chapters help their local Ronald McDonald Houses. This became so apparent to me while going through the grant requests. Most of those who submitted grant requests either do not a chapter nearby them or they did not receive as much support as years prior due to COVID. We were able to help Ronald McDonald Houses throughout North America that do not typically receive direct support from nearby chapters and that is what makes this committee so special.

Q: Is there anything we didn’t ask you about that you’d like to share about your experience?

It was amazing to work alongside the women of this committee. Seeing their passion for Ronald McDonald House Charities was both amazing and inspiring. I’m excited to be as involved as they are when I am a Pi.

The 2020 recipients of RMHC Endowment grants will be announced on October 30, 2020, in honor of the 41st anniversary of Alpha Delta Pi’s partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Are you interested in helping support the RMHC Endowment? We are more than 75% of the way to our fundraising goal of $1,000,000. In addition to many individual donors who have made gifts to the RMHC Endowment, we are particularly grateful to the 142 chapters, 14 alumnae associations, and 1 house corporation that have supported this fund through philanthropy event proceeds or direct donations. Make a gift to the Alpha Delta Pi Foundation’s RMHC Endowment at https://donate.alphadeltapi.org/RMHC.