OAK BROOK, IL--(Marketwired - Nov 9, 2015) - Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), a global nonprofit that creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children around the world, honored the Honorable Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda's minister of health, and Reggie Skhosana, founding member of RMHC South Africa and a McDonald's operator, at the Charity's annual Awards of Excellence. The Honorable Minister and Skhosana have been instrumental in developing and supporting programs that address the critical needs of children and families across Rwanda and South Africa. They were recognized in a celebration on Saturday, November 7 in Rosemont, Ill, before more than 1,200 RMHC leaders and guests and each were presented with a $100,000 grant to be awarded to a nonprofit organization serving children.

"The courage and leadership exhibited by the Honorable Minister Dr. Binagwaho and Reggie Skhosana are a powerful example of how we can expand reliable and comprehensive care to critically-ill children and their families across the globe," said Sheila Musolino, chief operating officer, RMHC. "We continually look for ways to improve our capacity to serve those who need it most, and we are immensely proud to publicly acknowledge the extraordinary work of these two individuals."

These two extraordinary leaders have played an integral role in addressing the critical and very special needs of children in their respective countries. The Honorable Minister was recognized for her role in the reconstruction of the Rwandan health care system after devastating violence. Under the leadership of His Excellency President Paul Kagame, she has empowered doctors, nurses, and community-health workers to create change through purposeful, collective action. Led by her community, she developed a comprehensive healthcare infrastructure that has saved an estimated 600,000 children's lives. Though she is recognized by RMHC individually, she stressed an important lesson: that no meaningful change can happen without collective, purposeful action at every level within a community. Rwanda and its people have changed the health sector and saved the lives of many. The Honorable Minister will direct the $100,000 Medical Award of Excellence grant to a foundation that helps vulnerable children in Rwanda receive a high-quality education and promote the ways culture and tradition can better lives.

Recognized with the Honorable Minister was Skhosana, who has dedicated much of his career to helping establish RMHC South Africa. For more than 20 years, McDonald's Owner/Operator Reggie Skhosana has been committed to supporting RMHC and its families. A business trailblazer, Skhosana opened the first McDonald's restaurant in South Africa and was instrumental in providing leadership and guidance in the development of restaurants within that country. The South African Chapter's two Ronald McDonald Family Room programs in Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, where 22,000 children are born each year, are credited with reducing the number of abandoned babies and providing critical services to the new mothers so they can more effectively take care of their newborn babies. The Chapter was also selected to partner with the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital Trust and is building a 28-bedroom Ronald McDonald House, the first to be built on the continent of Africa, scheduled to open simultaneously with the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital (NMCH) in December 2016. Skhosana will direct the $100,000 McTLC Award of Excellence grant to RMHC South Africa.

The RMHC Awards of Excellence recognizes individuals for their leadership and contributions to improving the health and well-being of children throughout the world. Each year the event attracts hundreds of business, community and health care leaders who are dedicated to helping the Charity support nearly six million children and families annually. This year's celebration was marked with a special performance by Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and social activist Michael Bolton.

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 300 Chapters in more than 63 countries and regions, its three core programs, the Ronald McDonald House, the Ronald McDonald Family Room and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, and millions of dollars in grants to support children's programs worldwide, RMHC provides stability and vital resources to families so they can get and keep their children healthy and happy. All RMHC-operated and supported programs, enable family-centered care, provide a bridge to quality health care, are a vital part of the health care continuum and give children and families the time they need to heal and cope better together.

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