LITTLE ROCK, AR (February 15, 2017) – The fourteenth annual Chocolate Fantasy Ball was the sweetest yet, setting a new record for money raised to help families stay close to their children who are being treated in area hospitals. The event brought in over $390,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Arkansas (RMHCA) to use in serving families who need a "home-away-from-home".
The black-tie event was held on Saturday, February 11, 2017 in the Wally Allen Ballroom at Statehouse Convention Center. It brought together over 650 guests who enjoyed signature chocolate martinis, 6,000 pieces of decadent chocolate delights, dining, dancing, spectacular live auctions, over 300 silent auctions and a unique raffle. KTHV’s Craig O’Neill served as the event’s emcee and Doug Westgate with Wilson Auctioneers performed the live auction.
Carla Gunderman, who has volunteered with Chocolate Fantasy Ball for the past five years, was Chair of this year’s successful event. The 2017 honoree was Susie Morgan who was recognized for her hard work, dedication and accomplishments as a Ronald McDonald House volunteer and board member.
“We are extremely grateful for our friends and partners in the community who stepped up to support the 2017 Chocolate Fantasy Ball,” said RMHCA Executive Director Janell Mason. “It costs much more to operate our new facility, so we needed to grow this year’s event to continue giving families a free place to call home during very stressful times. Thanks to our sponsors, donors and attendees, it was the most successful gala to date.”
The Chocolate Fantasy Ball raises money to support the two core programs of RMHCA. The Ronald McDonald House® is a 32-bedroom "home-away-from-home" that provides housing and services to families who have a child receiving treatment at an area hospital. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® is a 40 foot, state-of-the-art mobile unit that provides free, full-service dental care and education to children who would not otherwise have access to dental care.
For more information about Chocolate Fantasy Ball or Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas, please visit www.rmhcarkansas.org or call (501) 978-3118.
Fourteenth Annual Ronald McDonald House Gala Helps Keep Families Close
LITTLE ROCK, AR (February 11, 2017) – The fourteenth annual Chocolate Fantasy Ball, benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Arkansas (RMHCA), is set for 6:00 p.m. this Saturday, February 11 at the Statehouse Convention Center.
The annual black tie event is Little Rock’s premier Valentine’s gala and is the largest fundraiser for RMHCA, with last year’s event resulting in $350,000 in contributions. This year’s special Chocolate Fantasy Ball honoree is RMHCA board member and volunteer Susie Morgan and the event chair is Carla Gunderman. The elegant evening will be emceed by KTHV’s Craig O'Neill and live music will be performed by White Chocolate.
This year’s celebration will be sweeter than ever with a chocolate-themed cocktail reception featuring our famous chocolate martinis and thousands of pieces of decadent chocolate from over 40 chocolate makers. There will also be a gourmet dinner, dancing, live and silent auctions, and a limited participation raffle with chances to win The Closet (for ladies) or The Cellar (for gentlemen), worth thousands of dollars each.
The fabulous live auction will include one of a kind items, such as a large, custom-built backyard playhouse created by Nabholz Construction, a custom-made gold and chocolate pearl necklace and earring set valued at $13,000 from Jones & Son, and a fantastic Super Bowl travel package for next year’s game provided by Clinton McDonald with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There will also be hunting trips, vacation getaways and more.
Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Arkansas enhances the lives of children and their families by creating and supporting programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. The Chocolate Fantasy Ball raises money to support the two core programs of RMHCA. The Ronald McDonald House® is a 32-bedroom home away from home that provides housing and services to over 900 families a year who have children receiving treatment at area hospitals. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® is a 40 foot, state-of-the-art mobile unit that provides free, full-service dental care and education to children who would not otherwise have access to dental care.
To purchase tickets for this year’s event, or to learn more about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas, please visit www.chocolatefantasyball.com or call (501) 978-3118.
LITTLE ROCK, AR, (November 15, 2016) – After years of hard work, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas (RMHCA) is celebrating the grand opening of the new Ronald McDonald House facility at the corner of 10th and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Little Rock.
The celebration of the new House begins at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 15 with a VIP Donor Preview Party and the inaugural lighting of the Beacon of Hope and culminates with a public ribbon cutting at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 16.
“Our current facility has served us well by allowing us to provide a ‘home away from home’ for 30,000 families over the past 36 years, but it has always had limitations on providing all the comforts of home,” says Janell Mason, RMHCA Executive Director. “Our new facility was designed specifically with families in mind, so the House will have everything families need to feel at home while remaining close to their child in the hospital. It’s three times larger, much brighter and more interactive than our old facility, so children and adults can get a respite from the daily stressors they are facing.”
The new Ronald McDonald House is now a reality thanks to the dream and hard work of the RMHCA Board, Capital Campaign Committee, and Design and Construction Committee. Nearly 400 donors contributed a total of $9,004,291 specifically to it’s construction. The facility was built with the highest quality by Nabholz Construction and was designed by the team at WDD Architects.
The schedule of events for both the VIP Preview Party and the Grand Opening Celebration are as follows:
VIP Donor Preview Party - Tuesday, November 15 at 5:30 p.m.
Grand Opening Celebration - Wednesday, November 16 at 10:00 a.m.
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES® OF ARKANSAS AWARDED $15,000 LET’S PLAY CONSTRUCTION GRANT FROM DR PEPPER SNAPPLE GROUP AND NATIONAL NON-PROFIT KaBOOM!
LITTLE ROCK, AR, October, 18, 2016 – Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and national non-profit KaBOOM! awarded Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Arkansas a $15,000 Let’s Play Community Construction Grant that will be used to build a playground at the new Ronald McDonald House facility at 10th and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in Little Rock.
The grant is part of Let’s Play, an initiative by DPS to provide kids and families with the tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority. Unstructured, child-directed play has proven to help kids develop physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually, yet today’s kids have less time and fewer opportunities to play than any previous generation. As a result of expanded Let’s Play grants and projects, more than 1 million kids will benefit from new or improved playgrounds around the nation by the end of 2016.
“We are thrilled that we can create this fantastic playground for the children who are living in Ronald McDonald House, thanks to the generosity of Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM!,” said RMHCA Executive Director, Janell Mason. “The children staying in the House desperately need an outlet to relieve stress and have fun, so this playground is just what the doctor ordered.”
The grant will be used to purchase a colorful new play area designed for 5-12 year olds who are staying at Ronald McDonald House. It will feature a rock wall climber, jungle vine climber, rock n’ roll slide, touch and play piano, touch and play drum and a tom-tom drum. Having this playground will allow kids who are being treated at the hospital, or are here because a sibling is in the hospital, a way to get exercise and have fun with playing with new friends. The playground will be a part of the healing process, both mentally and physically.
DPS launched Let’s Play in 2011 with a $15 million commitment to KaBOOM! to build or improve 2,000 playgrounds. In 2014, Dr Pepper Snapple and KaBOOM! extended their partnership through 2016 with an additional $10 million commitment from DPS to continue providing kids with the active play they need.
Visit Let’s Play at www.LetsPlay.com to join the conversation and learn how to apply for the various available grants to make communities more active and playful.
About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas
Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Arkansas enhances the lives of children and their families by creating and supporting programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. These programs include the Ronald McDonald House® and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®. The Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home for families with ill children being treated at local hospitals. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile is a 40-foot, state-of-the-art mobile clinic that provides free dental care and education to underserved children in their own neighborhoods. To learn more, visit rmhclittlerock.org. Social Media: @RMHCArkansas #KeepingFamiliesClose
About Let’s Play
Let’s Play is an initiative launched in 2011 by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to provide the tools, places and inspiration to make play a daily priority. By 2017, DPS will provide nearly 10 million children across North America with new opportunities to play and be active through Let’s Play. In partnership with the nonprofit organizations KaBOOM! and Good Sports, Let’s Play is working to eliminate the ‘play deficit’ by building and improving play spaces and providing grants for athletic equipment and gear. For more information, please visit LetsPlay.com or Facebook.com/LetsPlay.
About Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) is a leading producer of flavored beverages in North America and the Caribbean. Our success is fueled by more than 50 brands that are synonymous with refreshment, fun and flavor. We have 6 of the top 10 non-cola soft drinks, and 13 of our 14 leading brands are No. 1 or No. 2 in their flavor categories. In addition to our flagship Dr Pepper and Snapple brands, our portfolio includes 7UP, A&W, Canada Dry, Clamato, Crush, Hawaiian Punch, Mott's, Mr & Mrs T mixers, Peñafiel, Rose's, Schweppes, Squirt and Sunkist soda. To learn more about our iconic brands and Plano, Texas-based company, please visit www.DrPepperSnapple.com. For our latest news and updates, follow us at www.Facebook.com/DrPepperSnapple or www.Twitter.com/DrPepperSnapple.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open, or improve nearly 16,300 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers, and served 8.1 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters and why cities are embracing #playability: visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES OF ARKANSAS TEAMS UP WITH NIKE FACTORY STORE TO BUILD PLAYGROUND IN A DAY
LITTLE ROCK, AR, (October 18, 2016) – Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas (RMHCA) is teaming up with volunteers from the Nike Outlet Store and the United States Air Force to build the playground at the brand new Ronald McDonald House at the corner of 10th Street and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Little Rock.
On October 31 and November 1, volunteers from Nike Outlet Store and U.S. Air Force Unit 373TRS will work with RMHCA staff to build a colorful new play area designed for 5-12 year olds. It will feature a rock wall climber, jungle vine climber, rock n’ roll slide, touch and play piano, touch and play drum and a tom tom drum.
The build will incorporate the professional guidance and community-build model of Davis Playgrounds.. After a two-day construction “blitz”, the amazing new playground will stand where there is currently just a concrete slab. Davis Playgrounds will also install a two story spiral slide that allow kids to travel from the second floor treehouse down to the playground itself. After the poured-in-place rubber surface is installed a few days later, the new playground will be ready for kids and families to enjoy.
The Grand Opening of the new Ronald McDonald House will take place on Wednesday, November 16, at 10:00 a.m. After the ceremony is complete, a child will take the first slide down from the treehouse and children will be encouraged to use the playground for the fist time. After families start moving in to the new House on November 18, the playground will be used by all families staying at the House.
“We are thrilled that we can create this fantastic playground for our famiies,” said RMHCA Executive Direcctor, Janell Mason. “We are grateful for the grant from KaBOOM! Dr Pepper Snapple Group that made the playground possible.”
Spare Change Donations Fill RMHCA Donation Boxes at McDonald’s to Help Strengthen Families with Critically-ill Children
LITTLE ROCK, AR, (October 7, 2016) –Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas (RMHCA) is celebrating its annual Day of Change and 36 years of keeping families close. RMHCA invites individuals, businesses and community groups to support local families with critically-ill children by visiting participating Central Arkansas McDonald’s locations between 7-9 am on October 7 and donating their spare change in the restaurant’s Donation Boxes.
Throughout 2015, coins donated locally through the Donation Box program totaled more than $145,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas. The funds collected are used to support families with children facing medical crises. A full Donation Box sponsors one night at a Ronald McDonald House for a family while their child receives medical treatment in a nearby hospital.
“A simple act of kindness at the front counter or drive through is a powerful gift for local RMHC families,” said Janell Mason, Exectutive Director of RMHCA. “For families with children in need of critical medical care, the thought of being more than a few steps from the hospital seems just too far. A person’s spare change combined with that of their neighbors can add up to make a big difference for these families. It keeps them close to each other and to the care and resources their child needs.”
On October 7, from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m., Ronald McDonald House volunteers will be collecting change in the drive-through lines at a number of Central Arkansas McDonald’s locations, The spare change helps parents remain close to their children and get higher quality of sleep so they can be better equipped to make important medical decisions. McDonald’s customers who participate in Day of Change are encouraged to share photos to show how they helped support RMHC on social media using #forRMHC. (On October 7th and everyday)
Little Rock, AR - [June 27, 2016] Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Arkansas (RMHCA) is proud to announce that three new community leaders have accepted appointments to the organization’s Board of Directors.
Joining the Board are McDonald’s Owner-Operator Kristy Lopez-Allen, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Senior Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer Lee Anne Eddy and Onebanc CFO Jim Schnoes. They are all strong leaders who bring high levels of expertise to the Board from their respective fields.
Kristy Lopez-Allen is a McDonald’s Owner-Operator who owns the McDonald’s franchises in Russellvile, Arkansas with her husband. Kristy’s extensive background as a McDonald’s Owner-Operator in Texas, Oklahoma, and now Arkansas, has given her a passion for the mission of Ronald McDonald House. Kristy is a long time a supporter of RMHCA.
Lee Anne Eddy, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, is the Senior Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. She is responsible for the operational oversight and planning for Patient Care Services, including nursing, social work, child life, respiratory care and the cardiac service line. She is very familiar with the challenges RMHCA families face every day and her perspective and input will be an asset to the Board.
Jim Schnoes is Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer of Onebanc. He has been very influential in the recent success of Onebanc and will be bringing strong leadership skills to the RMHCA Board. Jim has been a long-time supporter of Ronald McDonald House and the bank’s employees routinely dedicate volunteer hours to help make a difference.
Little Rock, AR – [May 18, 2016] On May 19 at 1:30 p.m., B. Barnettt in Little Rock will present a check to Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Arkansas (RMHCA) from the funds raised as part of the Sisley Paris event on April 13, 2016. B.Barnett teamed up with Sisley Paris to donate 20% of sales on that date.As a result, nearly $6,000 is being donated to RMHCA.
The check will be presented on May 19 at 1:30 p.m. by Marisa Ensminger, owner of B. Barnett at Ronald McDonald House, 1009 Wolfe Street in Little Rock
B. Barnett has 43 years experience as a luxury ladies boutique in Central Arkansas providing top end clothing, shoes, accessories, facial salon, and cosmetics. Among the high quality brands represented is Sisley, a specialty cosmetic company that uses natural plant extracts and essential oils that guarantee visible results.
Janell Mason, RMHCA Executive Director, says “B. Barnett has been a huge supporter of the Ronald McDonald House for many years by cooking meals for our families, donating auction items for our events, decorating the House for the holidays, and so much more. We are also honored that Sisley-Paris, an international high-end company, chose to support keeping families close in our community.”
About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas (RMHCA) has been a partner in enabling family-centered care for over 35 years and is a vital part of the health care continuum. Through improved access to medical care, RMHCA services enhance a family’s hospital experience as well as give families a place to rest and recharge so they can focus on their child’s well-being while staying together. To learn more, visit rmhclittlerock.org. Social Media: @RMHCArkansas #KeepingFamiliesClose
About B. Barnett
B. Barnett, founded in 1973, is a Ladies Luxury Boutique located at 8201 Cantrell Road. Visit our Designer Clothing Department, Shoe Salon, Cosmetic Department or schedule an appointment in our Day Spa. Brunello Cucinelli, Michael Kors, La Prairie, Ralph Lauren, Vince, Eileen Fisher, Sisley and Trish McEvoy are just a few of our designer collections. Hours of operation are 10:00 - 5:30 Monday - Saturday. www.bbarnett.com
Founded in 1976 by Hubert d’Ornano, Sisley is a French company specializing in the manufacture of innovative, and exceptionally high-quality cosmetic products. Sisley’s know-how is in phytotherapy and aromatherapy, using natural plant extracts and essential oils in skincare products, to guarantee immediately visible results on the skin. Sisley-Paris creates the highest quality products by selecting only the best plant species in each category. www.sisley-paris.com
Little Rock, AR - [April 21, 2016] Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Arkansas will soon be celebrating the topping out of the new Ronald McDonald House being constructed at the corner of 10th and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd in Little Rock.
The ceremony will take place Tuesday, April 26, at 10:00 a.m. at the construction site. At that time, instead of a traditional topping out beam placement, the Beacon of Hope will be set in place, representing the completion of the framing of the new facility. Attendees will have the opportunity to sign the Beacon before it is hoisted to the top of the building.
The Beacon of Hope was designed by the architect to be a comforting night light that can be seen from nearby Arkansas Children's Hospital. It will also guide and welcome families to their home away from home as they arrive from their own homes or other nearby hospitals. McDonald's generously sponsored the creation of the Beacon of Hope with their $1 million gift to the construction of the new House.
As of April 2016, Ronald McDonald House has raised $8.39 million of the $8.7 million needed to complete the 32,000 sq. ft. facility that will have 32 family suites, an 80-person dining room, large kitchen, family activity and play spaces, wellness garden, half-court basketball court and more. The 35 year-old organization has served more than 30,000 at its current location. The new facility plans to open in November of this year.
Little Rock, AR—March 4, 2016 —Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Arkansas (RMHCA) was named Arkansas’s Nonprofit of the Year at the 28th Annual Arkansas Business of the Year Awards dinner hosted by Arkansas Business Publishing Group (ABPG). ABPG has honored the state's top executives, small businesses, and nonprofits with the annual Arkansas Business of the Year Awards since 1988. Readers make nominations and an independent panel of judges selects the winners.
RMHCA was among five top nonprofit finalists, located throughout the state, for this award that was presented at a black tie dinner on February 25th with more than 700 attendees at the State House Convention Center in Little Rock. Each nonprofit was featured in Arkansas Business and in a two minute video at the awards ceremony, prior to the announcement of the winner. Janell Mason, Executive Director for RMHCA, accepted the award with remarks at the event.
Mason stated, “with more than 20,000 nonprofits in the state of Arkansas, what an honor, and a privilege to be recognized as the best in our state with this most prestigious award. Ronald McDonald House Charities® globally has 357 Houses, 206 Family Rooms, 49 Care Mobile programs worldwide that support keeping families close. We are extremely proud of our dedicated staff, generous donors, and passionate volunteers who help Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas fulfill this important mission locally.”
The organization is in the last phase of an $8.7 million capital campaign to build a new 32,000 square foot House. The new Ronald McDonald House, currently under construction, is scheduled to open November 2016.