The “From Our House To Yours” telethon raised just shy of $200,000 for the Ronald McDonald House for Valley Children Hospital in Madera. Photo contributed
Written by Donald A. Promnitz
The Ronald McDonald House for Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera has had to get creative with its fundraising over the past year.
With the constraints imposed by the pandemic, indoor events had to be cancelled, but they did nothing to stop the needs of the families who rely on them while their children undergo treatment, nor did it stop them from needing to pay the necessary bills to continue providing their services.
According to Alene Mestjian, director of development and communications for the House’s Central Valley chapter, the last 12 months have brought out the creative best in their team. This became most evident in September when they realized that their annual Red Heart Ball would have to be cancelled.
Held before Valentine’s Day at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District, the Red Heart Ball is the Ronald McDonald House’s biggest fundraiser of the year, bringing in over $300,000. With such an important moneymaker gone, they had to think quickly to come up with a pandemic-friendly alternative.
“The Red Heart Ball has been a staple in our community for 13 years now and we were unable to host the Red Heart Ball,” Mestjian said. “We were worried about how we’d raise funds for the families we serve.”
Their solution was their first ever “From Our House To Yours” telethon. After receiving the pledge of logistical support from Matt Rosenfeld, senior vice president and regional manager at Nexstar Media Group, Inc., they went on the air with KSEE24 acting as their media partner for the project.
From Our House to Yours was held on Feb. 10, at Hyatt Place Fresno, lasting from 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and had such guests as Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and six-time Tony Award-winning actress and singer Audra McDonald, who read letters of appreciation from the families who’ve stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Madera.
The final sum raised at the event was $186,326 and while it was less than what the Red Heart Ball brought in, Mestjian says it’s a testimony to the charity’s staff and planning volunteers’ ability to think fast and pull off the seemingly impossible.
“Our board is so engaged — it’s so special to us — and they really lifted us up during this pandemic with creative ways to fundraise,” Mestjian said.