About RMHC Australia

We keep families together and close to the care their child needs

Our Mission

RMHC creates, finds and supports programs that directly impact the health and wellbeing of children and their families. RMHC is there for families when they need it most: right in their own communities.

Our Vision

A world where all children have access to medical care, and their families are supported and actively involved in their children’s care.

Our Programs and Services

When a child is diagnosed with a serious illness, it impacts the whole family. Lives can be turned upside down. That’s why we provide a range of programs to help families stay together and close to the care they need.

18 Ronald McDonald Houses

Keeping families under the one roof and close to the Hospital

Families often have to travel far from home to receive the medical care their child needs. Our 18 Houses provide essential care and support for families, only steps away from the hospital.

19 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms

A comfortable place for families to rest and recharge in hospital

Take a break from the ward in one of our 19 Family Rooms across Australia.   Located in Women’s and Children’s Hospitals and just moments away from their child’s bedside, carers can make a cup of tea or a meal, take a shower, or simply rest.

5 Family Retreats

Holiday accommodation to relax and reconnect

Our 5 Family Retreats in idyllic locations give families with a seriously ill child, or those grieving the loss of a child, the opportunity to take a break and spend some much needed time together.

Ronald McDonald Learning Program

Helping sick kids catch-up on missed education

With a Learning Program in each Australian State and Territory, we help over 1300 students every week catch-up on missed education, making the return to school less stressful. In addition, our EDMED program helps ensure teachers are well equipped to support seriously ill children returning to school.

Our History

Founded in 1974 in Philadelphia, USA, Ronald McDonald House Charities began with a single-minded and powerful goal: to provide a House where the families of children in hospital could get some rest away from the ward.

Today, RMHC is truly global, with 378 Ronald McDonald Houses in 62 countries and regions across the world.


RMHC in Australia

In 1981 children’s charities were forever changed in Australia when the first Ronald McDonald House opened its doors in NSW. Since then, the charity has grown to 18 Houses across the country as well as 18 Family Rooms, 5 Family Retreats, One Care Mobile and our National Learning Program.

The first Ronald McDonald House

Australia’s first Ronald McDonald House was located next to the former Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in Camperdown NSW, before moving to Westmead in 1995 when the hospital relocated.

Our House at Westmead soon had a significant waiting list, so to address the demand we initiated the “Building Love” campaign in 2012 to raise capital funds for the development of a bigger and better House. The campaign was a resounding success and in 2018 our new House was opened, able to house more than double the original facility could.

World-first Ronald McDonald Learning Program

Our Learning Program was launched in 1999 to support seriously ill children who had missed months, or even years, of school. This was a word-first Australian initiative to ensure that seriously ill children weren’t further disadvantaged by also falling behind at school. Providing one-on-one tuition from qualified teachers, this Program has had a significant impact on the confidence and future prospects of children who have battled serious illness.

RMHC Australia Today

Thanks to the generosity of the community, our vital partners, our incredible staff and our tireless volunteers, today we support more than 40,000 families each year.

Our National Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors oversees the strategic direction and governance of the national RMHC Australia team as well as funding for the charity’s programs and services across Australia.

CEO of McDonalds

Antoni Martinez - Chair

Antoni was appointed to the Board of RMHC in 2022 and is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of McDonald’s Australia Ltd. Antoni started his career with McDonald’s in Victoria, Australia, in 2000 as a crew member. From here, he moved into various roles, including Development Director of the Southern Region and Market Director for the Southern Region, where he was responsible for Operations, Franchising and Marketing for more than 300 restaurants. In February 2020, Antoni was promoted to Managing Director, McDonald’s Korea, and relocated to Seoul to lead the Korea team with a continued focus on business transformation, Delivery, and Digital. He returned to Australia and was appointed Managing Director and CEO of McDonald’s Australia in 2022.  

Barbara Ryan headshot

Barbara Ryan - CEO

Barbara has worked at RMHC Australia for over a decade, initially as the National Program Manager overseeing the growth and development of new programs. She was appointed to Chief Executive Officer in 2014. Barbara has been involved with the not for profit sector for many years, working at the Royal Flying Doctor Service and then as CEO of a Division of General Practice. She holds a degree in Physiotherapy, an Associate Diploma in Project Management and a Masters of Health Administration. She has previously worked in the health sector as a physiotherapist as well as in hospital administration.

Headshot of Carolyn Townsend

Carolyn Townsend

Carolyn joined the Board of RMHC Sydney in 2003 and during her eighteen years on the Board, has served as Secretary 2007-2008, Vice Chair 2009-2011, Chair 2012-2014, Vice Chair 2015, Chair 2016-2017, Vice Chair 2018-2019 and is currently Board Chair. This is Carolyn’s second term on the RMHC Australia Board, previously serving as a Chapter representative from 2013-2019. Carolyn holds a bachelor of Hospitality Management (UWS Hawkesbury) and a Bachelor of Commerce, Industrial Relations (UOW). Carolyn is extremely passionate about RMHC and is extremely proud to be an RMHC Australia Director.

Peter Nikandrow

Peter Nikandrow

Peter is a Partner in Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, where he has worked for 13 years, predominately within the technology advisory and implementation space.  As well as a technology executive in Australia he also leads Deloitte’s Asia Pacific Oracle Consulting practice and has over 25 years of Business and Technology transformation experience working across some of the largest projects in the country. Peter is extremely passionate about the charity and its mission, and as a new Board Member in 2023 is looking forward to embedding himself in the fundraising and RMHC culture.

Anthony Pearce

Anthony Pearce

Anthony was originally appointed Chairman of Ronald McDonald House Parkville in 2015, after being a Board Member since 2012.  He then became the inaugural Board Chairman for the merged RMHC Vic/Tas Board in 2018. 

Anthony is a McDonald’s Licensee in Victoria and a father of four beautiful children. Having completed a Commerce Degree at Monash University and a Master of Business Administration, Anthony decided to follow in his parents’ footsteps and become a McDonald’s Licensee.  He has been a Licensee for 18 years, and with McDonald’s since the age of 18. Currently, Anthony owns and operates six restaurants across Melbourne.

As well as sitting on the Board, Anthony is passionate about Ronald McDonald House Charities and has been on the Board of the Victorian Ronald McDonald House Golf Day for the past 15 years, and has served as Chairman since 2012.

Headshot of Stephen Jermyn

Stephen Jermyn - OAM

Stephen was appointed to the Board of RMHC in 1985 and is currently Chair of the Audit & Finance & Investment Board Subcommittee. He held the position of Board Chair for 9.5 years from 2000 – 2010. He is the former Deputy Managing Director of McDonald’s Australia Ltd and is a FCPA now retired. Steve was in the Australian Army, then worked as CFO for O'Brien Glass before coming CFO of McDonald’s Australia. Steve has been a long-term supporter of the charity.

Doug McLeod

Doug McLeod

Doug is a McDonalds Owner operator since 2001. Previously he worked with McDonalds in various roles throughout Australia and his last role before becoming an owner operator was based in Chicago as a Director of Implementation for various International Markets in the Training Learning and Development field . He currently operates 5 Restaurants in Queensland and has long proud involvement with RMHC as Chairperson for RMHC South East Qld and previous roles as Chairperson of Mater House and Herston House.

Headshot of Les White

Les White

Les White was appointed the inaugural NSW Chief Paediatrician in 2010. Prior to this appointment he was the Executive Director of Sydney Children's Hospital (1995–2010), President of Children’s Hospitals and Paediatric Units Australasia (1999-2004), Convenor of the Greater Eastern and Southern NSW Child Health Network (2001–2010) and the John Beveridge Professor of Paediatrics (2005-2010). He was awarded a Doctorate of Science for research contributions related to childhood cancer and holds a Master of Health Administration. In 2007 he received an Order of Australia award for service to medicine, medical administration and the community in the field of paediatrics.

Profile Picture Professor David Eisenstat

Professor David Eisenstat

Professor David Eisenstat joined the RMHC Australia Board in September 2021. David served at the Royal Children’s Hospital as the Director/Head of Department of the Children’s Cancer Centre in November 2020. David has also joined the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) as a Group Leader, Cancer/Neuro-Oncology, in the Cell Biology Theme and he has been appointed as an Honorary Professorial Fellow, Department of Paediatrics, Melbourne Medical School, University of Melbourne and as an Adjunct Clinical Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Monash University. He is also the Co-Lead, Victorian Paediatric Cancer Consortium funded by the Medical Research Futures Fund.

Profile Picture of Mick McLoughlin

Mick McLoughlin

Mick joined the RMHC Australia Board in September 2021 and is currently the Owner and Managing Director of Bencee Fitout & Construction. Mick has had a long involvement with the charity since 2004 and has served on the Board of our South East QLD Chapter since 2014. An avid golfer and proud grandfather of two, Mick is the current National President and Board Member of the Australian Internal Fitout Association and Mentor to the Brisbane Broncos Team Players. 

Janiene Pollock

Janiene Pollock

Janiene Pollock, was appointed to the RMHC Australian Board in 2022. She joined McDonald’s Australia Ltd in 1984 and had a 17-year corporate career on the East Coast. In 2011 Janiene returned to the McDonald’s system as Licensee, relocating to Western Australia after successfully operating several other businesses. In 2013 she joined the RMHC WA Board and took over as Board Chair in 2014 for a period of 6 years and now sits on the RMHC Australia Board. 

Woman smiling

Suzanne Calicetto

Suzanne joined the RMHC Australia Board in 2022. Suz started off at McDonald’s in 2013 as Head of Tax and has been a key advisor to the SLT and Global business in this capacity. In 2019 Suz extended her role to act on the Global Tax Leadership team and to support the Markets (both local and global) more broadly on matters including risk management, regulator engagement and progressing the tax technology roadmap. Suzanne has been a long-term supporter of the charity and is very passionate about RMHC’s mission.

Impact Reports

We invite you to take a look at the latest RMHC Australia Annual Impact Reports below. They will provide you with more than just numbers. You’ll learn about how generous donations help make a significant and lasting difference to the lives of seriously ill children and their families. 


Annual Impact Report 2022

Annual Impact Report 2021

Annual Impact Report 2020

Annual Impact Report 2019

Annual Impact Report 2018

Annual Impact Report 2017

Annual Impact Report 2016

Annual Impact Report 2015

Social Return On Investment

Since we began in 1981, Ronald McDonald House Charities has been supporting the ever changing needs of seriously ill and injured children and their families, during what is often the most stressful time of their lives. Today, through our four core Programs - Ronald McDonald Houses, Family Rooms, Learning Program and Family Retreats as well as Care Mobile and our Hospitality Cart - we are able to help 60,000 families every year, forming an essential part of Australia’s health care infrastructure and education systems.

As these Programs are only possible through the generous help of our many supporters and partners, we wanted to reveal the true extent of the incredible impact that your support has on the lives of so many.

To make this possible, we carried out research to measure our Social Return on Investment*. Developed through an internationally recognised framework for understanding, measuring, and valuing social, economic, and environmental outcomes, the research allowed us to understand the outcomes that had been achieved through the Programs. By measuring the positive change these outcomes have had on peoples’ lives, we are able to place dollar value on the impact we have achieved - this is known as the ‘social and economic value’.

Looking at the total contribution from supporters and partners, for every $1 invested, RMHC is able to return $3.60 of social and economic value.

Behind this 360% return sits a powerful story about the life changing impact the Programs have on the mental, physical and financial wellbeing of seriously ill and injured children, families and communities, as well as the important contribution they make to the country’s health and education systems.

From everyone at RMHC and on behalf of all those you have helped, we wish to thank you for your continued support. Without you, none of this would be possible.


*The Social Return On Investment Research was undertaken by Social Ventures Australia in 2019.

Acknowledgment of Country

We would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands, skies and waterways on which we work. We recognise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples amongst the families we care for, our employees, volunteers and supporters, who form part of the oldest continuous living cultures on earth. We pay our respects to them and their Elders past, present and emerging. Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia promises to be respectful and connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples so together, we can improve outcomes for seriously ill and injured children and their families

Our Reconciliation Plan

We are very proud to share that we have formal endorsement for our Reflect RAP from Reconciliation Australia.

Everyone at Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia are committed to the national reconciliation movement and we aim to use our Reflect RAP as a foundation to further deepen our understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples’ cultures and needs.

Safe Sanctuary Artwork by Mali Isabel

Our Safe Sanctuary

Mali Isabel’s artwork Our Safe Sanctuary was created to tell the story of the Ronald McDonald House Charities and its impact on the families that become a part of their journey. In soft pastel rainbow hues, each colour on the canvas represents the diversity of families from different walks of life who seek and find comfort and support from the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

The background flows across the canvas in a pattern reminiscent of rays of sunshine, symbolising the hope, positivity, clarity, confidence, and power the Ronald McDonald House Charities instils in the families they support by offering a warm and supportive home where families can stay together.

The largest meeting place at the base of the artwork embodies the Ronald McDonald Houses all over Australia and the charity as a whole. This meeting place is what gives the artwork its name, Our Safe Sanctuary, because this is what the houses represent to so many families with children suffering from a serious illness. Across the canvas, smaller meeting places are scattered, representing the diverse communities, families, individuals impacted and supported by the charity.


You can view our Reflection RAP here:

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