Our History

Ronald McDonald House Charities Dayton

40 Years And Counting

1977: Candlelighters

In 1977, a small group of parents, Children’s Medical Center staff, and community leaders known as the “Candlelighters” identified the need for temporary housing to serve families of children with cancer in the Dayton area.

1978: Incorporation

The Children’s Oncology Services of Dayton dba Ronald McDonald House of Dayton was formed.

1980: Opening Our Doors


300 Families Served Per Year

On February 1, 1980, the Ronald McDonald House of Dayton opened at 741 Valley Street as the 14th Ronald McDonald House established. There are now over 360 chapters around the world. The initial House held seven guest rooms.

1998: Expanding Our Reach

20008966-001-768×510 (1)

371 Families Served Per Year

In 1992, our leadership recognized that the need had outgrown our space. In September of 1996, the Board of Trustees began a $3,200,000 capital campaign. On November 5, 1998, the Ronald McDonald House moved to its current location at 555 Valley Street, with 14 private guestrooms.

2016: Growing to Serve More Families

Ronald McDonald Family Room Seating Area

3,020 Families Served Per Year

We further expanded our programming on February 1st, 2016 with the opening of the area’s first, and Ohio’s second, Ronald McDonald Family Room at Dayton Children’s to serve families with inpatient children. The Family Room offers a chance to take care of everyday needs, whether laundry or getting a much needed coffee,  just steps away from their child.

2017: Our Second Family Room


3,435 Families Served Per Year

In October of 2017, a second Ronald McDonald Family Room opened inside Emmett’s Place at Miami Valley Hospital. This space was built to serve families with a newborn in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

2018: Relocated and Renovated Family Room


3,692 Families Served Per Year

On July 31, 2018 the Family Room inside Dayton Children’s opened in a new location next to the hospital’s new behavioral health unit.

View More of Our History