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Gesture is excited to announce our new Gesture – the Gesture TV Show! Each week we interview charity founders and directors who share their best advice on what it takes to run successful nonprofits.

This week we are featuring Christina Thomas Director of Annual Campaigns at Ronald McDonald House Charities.

The mission of RMHC of Chicagoland & NW Indiana is to care for families of children with complex medical needs by providing comfort, compassion and a sense of community. RMHC-CNI keeps families of hospitalized children together in a ‘home away from home’.

RMHC-CNI strives to reach out to all families and children in need in a caring, compassionate way, while holding itself strictly accountable for the investments it makes in its mission and programs. For more information on how you can get involved with this great organization, please visit www.rmhccni.org

Want to be our next inspiring guest?
Submit your name, organization, mission and contact information to Monika.Rydz@Gesture.com

Gesture TV: Ronald McDonald House Charities Interview

Interview

Monika: Hi everyone welcome to Gesture TV. I’m your host Monika Rydzewski and we have a very special guest today, one of our charity partners Christina Thomas, Senior Director of the Annual Campaign at Ronald McDonald House Charities. Thank you for being here.

Christina:Thanks for having me.

Monika: Tell us about your organization and its mission.

Christina:Ronald McDonald charities is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing care and comfort to the families of hospitalized children. We essentially provide a home away from home for these families while their child is receiving medical treatment.

Monika: So how do you guys raise funds to do all that you guys do because you are a really good organization.

Christina: We have five locations to help create operating funds for so we host a plethora of events from a dinner gala to a golf and basketball tournaments, fashion show, you name it. There are a lot of events that help us to raise critical funds for our organization.

Monika: What are some of the different events you have done?

Christina: Sure, our largest event is a dinner gala. We call it Big Mac Under Glass. We host about 1000 guests. It is an evening of silent auctions, live auctions, dinner, dancing, entertainment, and just a really fun evening.

Monika: So you guys do offer silent auction?

Christina: Correct. We do a silent auction and a live auction including fund to cause which is a live auction incorporating just monetary gifts that we ask from our guests and over the years we’ve seen tremendous growth. A couple of years ago we really needed to spark something new and figure out what else was out there and once we do that was an ease for bidding for our guests.

Monika: How do we get connected with you guys?

Christina: Yes. We found Gesture and we did, I will be honest, try to come up with different companies that really flopped. They did not work. Things were going wrong that once we came across Gesture, we were so pleased with the outcome, the professionalism, and the way that they could logistically help support the charity and our needs. It was very much centric around the guest experience and then the ease on our staff as well was a huge bonus.

Monika: What has been one of your most memorable moments of the charity?

Christina: I think with the charity in general is just meeting some of the families that stayed out our houses. Just a different passion going to work every day and knowing there are 140 families essentially every night that our charity helps to take care of and without our houses they would have nowhere else to go with a family sleeping in cars. Families are sleeping in hospital bedrooms and not eating properly so our houses are there to make sure that the family stays together as one unit and they have a bedroom, get a home cooked meal, take a shower, and just feel rejuvenated to be 100% for their child.

Monika: So how can people help with what you guys are doing?
Christina: We always have volunteer opportunities with our events. We are always looking for people to come and cook meals for our families.

Monika: Did you hear that everyone?

Christina: We have meals from the heart program, so we literally have groups from 10-20 people. Gather your friends. Bring all the food. Cook in the house. The family that is staying with us can come and have a home cooked meal because really they don’t have the time to come back from the hospital, prepare dinner, and probably about 50% of our families are not from Illinois so knowing how to navigate through the city or different areas is a little tricky so people coming in cooking meals for us is tremendous.

Monika: This is really great so where do you go to find more information about your organization?

Christina: Yeah, they can go to RonaldHouseChicago.org and find details on volunteering, cooking, being a part of our events, companies can donate items for auctions you name it. We have a lot of opportunities available.

Monika: Thank you so much for being here again.
Christina: Thanks for having me.