Program Update from the CEO

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region (RMHC-CR) is fortunate to have three outstanding leaders at the heart of its day-to-day operations. Debbie Ross, Lori Emery and Tina Woodward together have 101 years of experience serving children and families at RMHC. These three women have been instrumental in the growth of RMHC-CR, from its earliest days as an 8-bedroom home for families with sick children to the robust and multifaceted organization it is today. Debbie, Lori, and Tina have been intimately involved in every important milestone RMHC-CR has achieved over the last 40 years. It was my distinct honor to recognize their outstanding service at the 40 Years of Love Gala in June, and I am grateful for all the ways they make RMHC-CR better every day.

This New Year brings a number of important changes to program operations at RMHC-CR, with Debbie, Tina and Lori each taking on new responsibilities to lead us into the future. After more than 40 years at the helm of the Ronald McDonald House, Debbie Ross will assume the role of House Director Emeritus on January 1, 2023. Tina Woodward now serves as Director of Family Services, overseeing day-to-day operations for the Ronald McDonald House while continuing to manage volunteers across all RMHC-CR programs with the support of Volunteer Coordinator Tricia Dzurica. Lori Emery continues as Director of Operations, with important new duties related to the growth of RMHC-CR’s footprint, programs and services in the year ahead. Additionally, Julia Geisel will continue to provide outstanding care and comfort to RMH guest families as House Manager, and several new Family Support Specialists are joining our team to provide overnight coverage and support for families at the Ronald McDonald House.

For the last four decades, Debbie Ross has given her all in service to “The House That Love Built.” She has welcomed more than 23,000 families into the warm embrace of the Ronald McDonald House, and her vision, drive and dedication have allowed RMHC-CR to grow in countless ways to meet the needs of children and families. In her new role as House Director Emeritus, Debbie will continue to serve as an advocate and an ambassador for all RMHC-CR programs, helping to advance our mission by sharing her story and her tremendous passion for providing love and support to families with sick children.

Going forward, Tina Woodward will be the main point of contact for all inquiries related to the day-to-day operations of the Ronald McDonald House. She is in the process of moving into the office right beside the front desk, where she will be easily accessible to volunteers, visitors and guest families alike. As for Debbie, you can still expect to see her regularly as she welcomes visitors and leads tours of the Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Retreat at Krantz Cottage. Lori Emery will remain the primary point of contact for all building matters, and Julia Geisel is the main contact for all guest family needs and Love is Served meal groups at the House.

As we begin this New Year, please join me in thanking and congratulating Debbie, Lori and Tina for their faithful service to RMHC-CR. We are extremely fortunate to have their continued commitment to the RMHC mission as we embark on the next 40 years of love!

David E. Jacobsen, Psy.D. Chief Executive Officer