About Us Family Photo

Our History


Ronald McDonald House Stanford History Timeline

In the early 70s, the daughter of Philadelphia Eagle’s football player Fred Hill was diagnosed with leukemia. After “living” countless hours by her bedside, trying to sleep endless nights without a bed, Hill recognized the need felt by all parents of a little one facing a serious illness—the need for a “home” where they could stay while their child received treatment. Hill’s ambition, combined with support from the hospital and community, met with the generosity of McDonald’s Owner/Operators, and in 1974 the first Ronald McDonald House opened.

In 1979, the Palo Alto House became the fifth facility in the fledgling national system. Built with 13 rooms, the House sought to provide a meeting center and living quarters for outpatients and families of patients of what was then known as Children’s Hospital at Stanford. In 1992, the House finished construction on an ambitious expansion project, nearly doubling in size to 24 rooms. Just five years after expanding, families were once again being turned away as the House continued to operate at capacity. Unable to accommodate them onsite, but committed to providing a room for every family, the House began paying for stays at local motels. The Board of Directors agreed to expand the House for a second time, and in 2003 a 47-room facility was completed.

Who We Are Today

In 2013, Annette Eros became the new Chief Executive Officer. Seeking to bring the House's comfort and care to even more families caring for critically ill children, under Eros' leadership outreach programs, such as the Happy Wheels hospitality cart, and Day Pass were expanded to serve even more families not currently residing at the House. House-based programs, such as The Wishing Tree, Meals 4 Munchkins, and Camp Ronald McDonald House at Stanford were also enhanced to help bring a greater sense of normalcy to families residing at the House.

As Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford's capacity continued to grow, so did the House's nightly waiting list. By 2012, the number of families on the waiting list reached an all-time high and the need to expand again became evident. In 2013, Ronald McDonald House at Stanford broke ground on a 52,000-square-foot expansion and renovation project. In May of 2016, the 67-room expansion was complete, with renovations to the 47-room House is slated for competion in early 2017. Once renovations are complete, the two Houses will operate in tandem as one campus, bringing the House's total capacity to 123 family rooms--making the House at Stanford one of the largest of the 338 Ronald McDonald Houses in the world.

Over the years, the House at Stanford has offered families so much more than its founders could have hoped for. Thanks to the vision and dedication of our extraordinary staff, board, and volunteers, Ronald McDonald House at Stanford's program offerings have grown exponentially and continue to make a huge impact in creating a unique community of support for families facing medical crises. Together all of us--famillies, donors, staff, and volunteers help make Ronald McDonald House at Stanford the place Where Hope Has a Home.