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Ronald McDonald House of Dallas (RMHD) has kicked off a capital campaign to fund an $11.5 million expansion with three significant gifts from donors, including The Elsie and Marvin Dekelboum Family Foundation ($1.5 million), The Crystal Charity Ball ($1.25 million), and North Texas Advertising Association DFW Area McDonald’s Restaurants ($1 million). Other major donors to the campaign are The Constantin FoundationDr. and Mrs. Henry EstessBeverly and Donald S. Freeman, Jr.The Hoblitzelle FoundationCecilie and Ronnie HolmanCynthia and Kevin O’BrienBob and Katherine PennSandy PhillipsCarolyn and Karl RathjenThe Rees-Jones Foundation and an anonymous donor.


“Through our more than 25 years of continued support and involvement, we have witnessed the great service provided by Ronald McDonald House of Dallas,” said Gail Hartstein, President of The Elsie and Marvin Dekelboum Family Foundation. “This connection gave us an understanding of the need for this expansion project. This is a clear example of the way that Ronald McDonald House of Dallas cares and meets the needs of their families. We are glad to be a part of this worthy project.”


Former RMHD Board Chair and longtime supporter Natalie Dossett is serving as the Capital Campaign Cabinet Chair. The Campaign Cabinet is comprised of Sandra EstessPeggy HillCecilie HolmanNancy KerrSusan Palma and Bob Penn. Board Member Kelly Williams is chairing the Building Committee. The members of the Building Committee include Natalie Dossett, Mike McWilliams, Cynthia O’Brien, Doug Smellage and Pat Staudt.


The expansion will allow 800 more families a year to use the House as a home-away-from-home while their children are being treated for critical illnesses or injuries in the Dallas area. Each year, RMHD hosts 1,400 families, but recently has had to turn away more than 1,000 families because the House has been at full capacity.


“We’ve had to say ‘we don’t have any more room’ to at least one family every day, and that’s absolutely heartbreaking,” said Jill CumnockChief Executive Officer of RMHD. “This expansion will allow us to open our doors to many more young patients coming to Dallas for care from our world class medical community. We provide three meals a day, shuttle service to nearby hospitals, activities and other services for these families through their difficult times, while also helping them preserve their precious financial resources – the average stay of two weeks saves a family an average of over $2,000.”


The 18,000 square-foot two-story addition designed by HKS Architects will include six larger suites for longer-stay families and 24 guest rooms, significantly increasing RMHD’s program access. Additionally, guest rooms in the existing facility will be refurbished, the playground revised and additional parking provided. Hill and Wilkinson will serve as general contractor on the project. Annual operating costs are expected to increase by $300,000 as a result of the expansion, which will be covered by gifts from the community and an expanded fundraising program.


“Making this expansion even more timely is the fact that Dallas area hospitals’ pediatric population is expected to grow 27 percent by 2025,” added Cumnock. “Our House is built on the idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on the health of their child – not where they can afford to stay or where they will get their next meal. We believe families are stronger when they are together, and this expansion will help us do that for more families while their children are receiving care, unlocking a system of support with the security and comfort of home, as well as the love and understanding of a community. ”


Naming opportunities for the expansion are still available, and those wishing to contribute can contact Capital Campaign Manager Sarah Ballard at or 214.624.5372. Groundbreaking for The Elsie and Marvin Dekelboum Family Foundation Wing will take place September 6 at 10 a.m.



Established in 1981, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas has served as a home-away-from-home for more than 38,000 families of seriously ill or injured children who have traveled to Dallas seeking medical treatment in area hospitals. By providing a caring, supportive, home-like environment, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas keeps the family intact and helps allow a family to establish a normal routine in the midst of crisis. It also provides families with the opportunity to share their concerns with other families in similar circumstances. For more information, please contact Ronald McDonald House of Dallas at 214.631.7354, or visit

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