Since 1979, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama (RMHCA) has been changing lives for hundreds of families of sick children receiving critical medical care. Now, there’s an easy way you can support their mission today and in the future. Keep reading to become a part of the Marianne Sharbel Legacy Society and find out how it got its name.
Get to know Marianne Sharbel, RMHCA’s passionate co-founder
Whether you’ve seen a loved one benefit from the compassion of RMHCA or you’ve experienced it in your own family, you probably know how important the House is for our community. But have you ever wondered how RMHCA came to be in Birmingham?
In the 1970s, Marianne Sharbel, then the PR and Communications Director at Children’s of Alabama, saw a need for patients and their families to have a comfortable place to stay near their hospital. She worked with Max Cooper, the local McDonald’s owner/operator, to open the 6th Ronald McDonald House in the world—the first to open debt-free.
“When we opened the House on the last day of May of 1979, it was just a day of jubilation. From the very beginning, I never thought this wouldn’t come to fruition, because we had these great people behind us. I’m passionate about it because I see how it continues to grow and evolve.”Marianne Sharbel, RMHCA, Co-Founder
The original House had nine bedrooms and focused on serving cancer patients and their families. Since then, a new House has opened and now holds 73 guest suites to spread the impact even further. With each new expansion, we can look back at the original dedication of Marianne Sharbel who saw a need and did whatever she could to fulfill it.
Join the Marianne Sharbel Legacy Society
Are you as inspired by Marianne Sharbel as we are? Now, RMHCA has an amazing way you can leave a legacy like she has. Join The Marianne Sharbel Legacy Society to continue helping families stay at RMHC completely free—no matter how long they stay, the diagnosis of their child or their household income.
What is a legacy gift?
Legacy gifts, a.k.a. “stop-and-think” gifts, require planning for the future. When you plan your legacy gift, you typically make donations from assets in your estate to come to fruition upon your death. Anyone can make a difference through legacy giving! RMHCA has partnered with an organization that can help guide donors in all the ways you can provide a legacy gift. By providing a gift to the RMHCA board-restricted endowment fund, you can make sure RMHCA has ample future resources to meet the needs of the children and families served.
Whether you’ve been donating to RMHCA every year or you’re newly passionate about their cause, you want to make sure your gifts continue even after you’re gone.
“We need to take that passion to the next step. We need to make sure that it continues for future generations and we’re going to need the support to continue this legacy. Every time I go to the house and I see a family with that child, and I see that love in their eyes, that’s like charging a battery.”Marianne Sharbel, RMHCA, Co-Founder
Why become a part of the Marianne Sharbel Legacy Society?
To become a member of the Marianne Sharbel Legacy Society, you can commit to:
- An outright gift made with assets like IRA distributions, appreciated stock or real estate
- A deferred gift such as a charitable gift annuity, charitable remainder trust, life insurance, or bequest
Your gift to RMHCA can reduce your estate taxes now, plus you’ll know that your legacy will continue.
“The point of planned giving is to look through the telescope and decide how you want to give money to the people, things and the organizations that you care about. We created the legacy society to recognize donors who care about the Ronald McDonald House and give them the opportunity to endow their giving so their giving continues after they’re gone.”Andy Meehan, Co-Chair, Marianne Sharbel Legacy Society
At the end of the day, it’s about making sure that the impact you’ve started now will continue long into the future.
“The needs of families in 1979 are the same as the needs of the families in the 21st century. Families need love, they need support and they need care.
Without each of these donations large and small, we wouldn’t be where we are now. We can talk about everything that’s happened at the Ronald McDonald House over the years but nothing could have been done without you.”Marianne Sharbel, RMHCA, Co-Founder