Ronald McDonald House Charities Awards of Excellence Honors Former Mayor Richard M. Daley & Maggie Daley, Dr. Walter A. Orenstein and Alex C. Rodriguez

Richard Marx Performed During Global Awards Ceremony Recognizing Those Who Have Made Exceptional Contributions to Improving Children's Lives

OAK BROOK, IL--(Marketwire - Nov 8, 2011) - In honor of individuals who have made outstanding contributions to improve the lives of children, Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) hosted its 27th Annual Awards of Excellence celebration on Saturday, November 5, in Rosemont, Ill.

The annual event presented three Awards of Excellence and grants of $100,000 each to individuals selected from across the globe, including:

  • Former Mayor Richard M. Daley and Maggie Daley are catalysts within the Chicago community, creating community-based programs that address the city's educational, public safety, and neighborhood development. For example, After School Matters, an organization they founded, is a nonprofit organization, which makes a positive impact on the well being of children by offering Chicago's teenagers out-of-school opportunities in the areas of science, sports, technology, creative writing, culinary and performing arts. Through this program, at risk youth are exposed to future careers helping them develop skills and reduce behavioral issues.

  • Dr. Walter A. Orenstein, M.D. is a pediatrician, teacher and tireless proponent of immunizations. During his 26-year career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) he has had an extraordinary impact on the health of children throughout the United States and around the world. He oversaw major developments including the achievement of record high immunization levels in U.S. children, the elimination of indigenous transmission of measles and the introduction of vaccines into our nation's immunization program that protect against meningitis, pneumonia, and a form of cancer. Dr. Orenstein is an Associate Director of the Emory Vaccine Center and Director of the Influenza Pathogenesis and Immunology Research Center. For his lifetime of outstanding achievements, RMHC honored Dr. Orenstein with the RMHC Medical Award of Excellence.

  • Alex C. Rodriguez is a McDonald's® Owner/Operator and a passionate supporter of RMHC. He is the chairman of RMHC of South Florida and an active supporter of the RMHC®/HACER® Scholarship program. For the past 20 years, Rodriguez's leadership, generosity and compassionate spirit has touched the lives of over 22,000 families in need. In addition to his work with the Charity, Alex serves on the South Florida Advisory Board of the United States Army and is an active alumni and supporter of his alma mater University of Miami. Rodriguez was the recipient of the Gerry Newman McTLC Award of Excellence for his legacy of philanthropy through his support of RMHC and the children in South Florida. In 1999, RMHC honored Alex's father Angel for his outstanding contributions to RMHC and other children's organizations. This was the first time the Charity has ever presented an Award of Excellence to a father and then to his son.

"We are pleased to recognize these remarkable individuals for their on-going contributions to children," said Marty Coyne, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities. "Like RMHC, these award recipients are committed to being part of the solution in providing access to care for children so they can lead fulfilling and productive lives."

In addition to honoring these outstanding individuals, the 2011 Awards of Excellence celebration included a dinner, entertainment by Grammy Award winning artist Richard Marx and special guest, Rita Wilson. A live and silent auction also took place throughout the evening, where attendees had the opportunity to bid on more than 400 elite items including the first pitch at a Chicago Cubs game, a 2012 Ford Explorer, tickets to the 2012 London Olympics, 2012 Masters Golf Tournament tickets and hospitality package, and an authentic print by acclaimed Brazilian artist, Romero Britto. The event raised more than $3 million to help RMHC provide stability and vital resources to families in need.

Past RMHC Awards of Excellence Recipients
Past RMHC Awards of Excellence Recipients have included: founder of Southwest Airlines, Herbert D. Kelleher (2010); seven-time NBA All-Star, two-time Defensive Player of the Year and founder of Alonzo Mourning Charities, Alonzo Mourning (2009); entrepreneurs and philanthropists, Peter and Ginny Ueberroth (2008); actress, producer, social activist and national outreach director for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Marlo Thomas (2007); NCAA championship basketball coach and youth mentor, John Wooden (2006); the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps with actor Paul Newman accepting on their behalf (2005); actor, director and humanitarian, Danny Glover (2004); renowned pediatric surgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson (2003); Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan (2002); tennis star Andrea Jaeger (2001); performer and humanitarian, Harry Belafonte (2000); wife of McDonald's Corporation founder Ray A. Kroc, the late Joan Kroc (1999); Betty Ford, former First Lady (1998); Retired U.S. Army General, Colin Powell (1997); acclaimed theologian, Henri J. M. Nouwen (1996); former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Antonia Novello (1995); Barbara Bush, former First Lady (1994); the late Fred Rogers (1993); Eunice Kennedy Shriver (1992); former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter (1991); and the late Jim Henson (1990), among others.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities
Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) corporation, creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. Through its global network of local Chapters in 54 countries and regions, its three core programs, the Ronald McDonald House®, Ronald McDonald Family Room® and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®, and millions of dollars in grants to support children's programs worldwide, RMHC provides stability and resources to families so they can get and keep their children healthy and happy. All RMHC-supported programs provide a bridge to quality health care and give children and families the time they need together to heal faster and cope better. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@RMHC) or like us on Facebook ( Global).

The following trademarks used herein are owned by McDonald's Corporation and its affiliates: Ronald McDonald House Charities, Ronald McDonald House Charities Logo, RMHC, Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room, and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.
© 2011 McDonald's

Contact Information:

For more information, contact:
Jennifer Smith
(630) 623-6875

Clara Carrier
(630) 209-7617

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley and Maggie Daley Dr. Walter A. Orenstein and McDonald's(R) Owner/Operator Alex C. Rodriguez Richard Marx and Rita Wilson