In His Words: 40 Years

Bill Gormley and his wife, Karlene, are one of the founding families of the Northland House, which was later renamed the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota, and is celebrating its 40 years serving children and families…in his own words!

When we started the Northland House, our 13-year-old son, Dan, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. We started the appointments at the Mayo Clinic.

As he received treatments, we connected with three pediatric oncologists who became an important part of the core that group that started the Northland House. While our son received radiation and chemotherapy, we met with many parents who were experiencing the same problems with their children. We knew we had to be able to share in our concerns.

Shortly after those initial discussions, we met Phil Henoch, who owned the McDonald’s restaurants in Rochester. He was the important driving force who joined with us and soon we were able to start a home away from home for children and families facing that dreaded diagnosis of childhood cancer.

The key to starting the House was finding excellent and devoted board members who truly believed in our mission. So many people—even non-board members—contributed so much time and effort to our cause. We started by meeting at a home and had our final meeting in a church. It was at that meeting that I was voted in as the first president for two years—an honor and a great responsibility!

Thanks to Phil Henoch, we were able to visit the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago. It was a great and inspiring trip. However, after this trip, we were told that the Rochester area could not fund our House in Rochester at that time.

That did not stop us! We opted to proceed on our own. We purchased a house between the clinic and Saint Marys. We named it the Northland House!

We accomplished so much because numerous people helped. Carpenters, painters, mechanics, and electricians donated their time and worked on the House for credits for their apprenticeships. It was incredible!

Once the House was finished and the board, committees, operations, and volunteers were in place…we had the dedication. It was very emotional for many of us. The mayor was in attendance and spoke eloquently—it was so special!

We know without all the volunteer hours…we would have nothing. We accomplished our goals. We were up and running and helping so many children and families.

Our House has grown immensely. It is one of the best Ronald McDonald Houses in the country and the world. The new House is a beautiful, safe place for families.

I could go on and on about our House!

Love and blessings to all,
Bill Gormley

Will you help us celebrate 40 years with a gift of $40?
https://www.classy.org/campaign/celebrating-40-years/c288676
Thank you for supporting Ronald McDonald House children and families!

House names Bingner next Development Director

The Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota, is pleased to announce Jamie Bingner as its new Development Director beginning August 24, 2020.

As the key staff person responsible for development and implementation of a successful multi-year strategic and comprehensive philanthropy plan, Bingner will lead the development team in its efforts to ensure financial support for the Ronald McDonald House program in Rochester.

A Rochester native, Bingner spent the past 13 years on the east coast in numerous development and leadership positions. Most recently, she served as Executive Director for CCS Fundraising, a strategic fundraising firm that partners with nonprofits for transformational change.

For more than 40 years, the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester has provided the gift of togetherness and helped families access the medical care and resources they need most. From humble beginnings, the House provides support and services to more than 1,000 families each year.

Founded in 1980 as Northland Children’s Services, the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota, provides a home away from home and offers support to families seeking medical care for their children. For more information, visit www.rmhmn.org.

Johnson shifts to Resident Caretaker position for House

Erin Johnson (Photography by Fagan Studios)

The Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota, is pleased to announce that Erin Johnson has accepted the position of Resident Caretaker, effective August 30, 2020.

Johnson is a familiar face at the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, joining the Family Services staff three years ago as a House Manager on weekends. In her new role as Resident Caretaker, Johnson will ensure children and families staying at the Ronald McDonald House experience a safe and supportive environment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Erin earned her Associate of Liberal Arts and Science degree from Rochester Community and Technical College, followed by a Bachelor of Science in Sociology-Corrections with a minor in Psychology from Winona State University. Erin is currently a Community Corrections Development Specialist with Olmsted County, where she is involved with facilitation, staff training and development.

Founded in 1980 as Northland Children’s Services, the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota, provides a home away from home and offers support to families seeking medical care for their children. For more information, visit www.rmhmn.org.

Coronavirus Response

July 7, 2020

Dear friends of the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota,

I hope you and your family are well and staying healthy during this global pandemic.

It has been a difficult year for all of us, in so many ways. Few could have imagined the disruption COVID-19 would cause to our families, neighborhoods, and communities. Worldwide, more than 11 million people have tested positive for the virus and more than 500,000 people have died. The economic toll is yet to be tallied; jobs have been lost, employees furloughed, and businesses permanently shuttered. After four unrelenting months and daily uncertainty, the COVID-19 storm has not yet passed and seems to be gaining a renewed strength in many states and communities across the country.

Here at the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, our priority from the onset of this global crisis has been the health and welfare of the children and families we serve, along with House staff and volunteers and our community. I am happy to report that all is well at the House and we are weathering the storm and advancing our mission of shelter and support to ill children and their families.

On March 13, 2020, Ronald McDonald House Charities suspended all Ronald McDonald House programs worldwide. Some programs closed completely, others repurposed as respite centers for weary frontline healthcare workers, and some, like the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, stayed open to serve the families currently residing in their Houses.

For the past 16 weeks, together with our caring community, we tenderly and safely cared for the children and families staying at the House and families who traveled to Rochester awaiting admission to the House. The creative and resilient House staff found new and innovative ways to deliver support, including virtual activities, grocery and meal delivery, and activity bags with games, books, and arts and crafts items. Because of your steady support and confidence in our actions, we have kept our doors open and our mission burning bright. Thank you for this commitment to the House and for supporting children and families during this challenging time.

We are pleased to announce that the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester recently received approval to welcome additional families into our program.

Our reinstatement to full capacity will happen in carefully planned phases to keep everyone safe and limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Our plan calls for measured increases in the number of families over the next few months, with designated days for family admissions. Safety will continue to be our priority as we move our mission forward. We are fully committed to keeping the House operational to serve children and families, as long as it is safe and smart to do so.

I wish you and your loved ones good health and well-being as we look towards brighter days ahead.

Peggy Elliott, Executive Director

McGuire added to House leadership as Operations Director

Jammie McGuire, Operations Director

Following a comprehensive search process, the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota, added Jammie McGuire to its leadership team as Operations Director.

McGuire started at the House on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

McGuire brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the House, after serving the past 19 years at two separate Rochester nonprofit organizations. She was the Facility and Member Services Director at the YMCA for seven years and the Senior Manager at Hope Lodge for 12 years before accepting the position with the House.

“We are delighted to welcome Jammie to the House staff and look forward to the expertise she brings from her years of nonprofit experience,” Executive Director Peggy Elliott said. “Jammie joins an incredibly mission-focused team that is dedicated to providing shelter and caring support to hundreds of children and families each year.”

As Operations Director, McGuire works in partnership and consultation with the Executive Director and provides leadership on organizational activities, such as: general administration and strategic planning, financial management, operations and technology.

Founded in 1980 as Northland Children’s Services, the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota, provides a home away from home and offers support to families seeking medical care for their children. For more information, visit www.rmhmn.org.

Endicott added to Ronald McDonald House staff

Emma Endicott, Family Services Manager

Following a comprehensive search process, the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota, named Emma Endicott as its new Family Services Manager.

As Family Services Manager, Endicott will work closely with the Family Services Director to ensure that guest families have a safe and comfortable stay at the House, fostering an atmosphere of hospitality and a pleasing environment for all guests and visitors. Endicott will plan, organize and implement programs that support families and promote a positive community setting, developing professional and supportive relationships in order to meet their needs.

“We are excited for Emma to join the Ronald McDonald House staff in this key role of Family Services Manager,” Executive Director Peggy Elliott said. “Emma’s education, experience and genuine compassion make her a natural addition to our dedicated and caring team, which is committed to providing shelter and support to ill children and their families.”

Originally from the Brainerd Lakes area, Endicott spent the past year as a Food and Shelter Assistant for Lutheran Community Services in Wilmington, Del., through Lutheran Volunteer Corps. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Concordia College in Moorhead with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Organizational Leadership.

Endicott began her role as Family Services Manager on Monday, Aug. 12.

Founded in 1980 as Northland Children’s Services, the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota, provides a home away from home and offers support to families seeking medical care for their children. For more information, please visit www.rmhmn.org.