Ronald McDonald House Charities and American Express Launch ‘Make Room to Heal’...

Ronald McDonald House Charities and American Express Launch ‘Make Room to Heal’ Program in U.S. and Canada

Mother's Day through Father's Day, American Express Cardmembers Will Help to Raise up to $600,000 to Help Families Stay Close to Their Children in Local Hospitals


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Oak Brook, IL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–May 12, 2004–Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC(R)) and American Express today announced a new program to raise money for Ronald McDonald Houses to support the families of seriously ill children. “Make Room to Heal” will provide funds for home-like residences for the families of children being treated at local hospitals.

From May 9th through June 20th, American Express will make a donation to RMHC for every purchase made on an American Express(R) Card at participating merchants in the United States and Canada, up to $600,000. RMHC will use the funds to build or purchase new Ronald McDonald Houses or expand existing Houses in local communities. Donations are not tax deductible for Cardmembers and will be based on a $0.01 donation per American Express transaction at participating merchants.

“Make Room to Heal will help make it possible for families to stay near their children when the best treatment options are a long way from their home,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, vice president, national marketing and business development, American Express. “American Express is proud to join with Ronald McDonald House Charities, our Cardmembers and the merchant community to help ensure that togetherness is part of the prescription for children around the country.”

“We are pleased to join with American Express and their merchant partners in this fundraising effort,” said Ken Barun, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities. “The Make Room to Heal campaign enables Cardmembers – simply by using their cards for everyday purchases – to play an important role in providing thousands of families the best therapy of all – togetherness.”

RMHC has nearly 240 houses around the world which range in size from a single apartment in Vienna, Austria, to an 84-bedroom building in New York City. Each night there are more than 6,000 bedrooms available to seriously ill children and their families.

According to Dr. John Falletta, professor of pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center and Ronald McDonald House Charities board member, the need for Ronald McDonald Houses has never been greater because of health care trends which place a premium on outpatient treatments.

“With Ronald McDonald Houses providing a ‘home away from home’ for the children and their parents, increasingly complex care can be received by the children while they live nearby in a friendly and nurturing environment,” said Dr. Falletta.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities, a non-profit, 501(c)(3), creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. Its programs are grassroots-driven to enable the Charity to offer help where children need it most – right in their own communities. RMHC makes an immediate, positive impact on children’s lives through its global network of 181 local Chapters in 47 countries and its three core programs: the Ronald McDonald House(R), Ronald McDonald Family Room(TM), and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile(TM). RMHC and its global network of local Chapters have awarded more than $400 million in grants to children’s programs around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.rmhc.org.

About American Express

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, investment products, insurance and international and online banking. For more information on American Express, visit our website at http://www.americanexpress.com.

Note to editors: A list of participating merchants is available at http://www.americanexpress.com/makeroomtoheal

(C) 2004 McDonald’s Corporation

–30–RC/ny*

CONTACT:

Ronald McDonald House Charities

Palmer Moody, 630-623-5372

or

American Express

Christine Elliott, 212-640-0622

Ronald McDonald House Charities and American Express Launch ‘Make Room to Heal’ Program in U.S. and Canada