Two young girls clink their READ for RMHC-CR water bottles over a few favorite books at the Albany Ronald McDonald House

READ for RMHC-CR Achieves Amazing Results in Program’s Tenth Year

Young readers across the region raised more than $328,000 to support children and families served by Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region.

Since its inception in 2014, the READ for RMHC-CR program, benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region (RMHC-CR), has raised more than $1.9 million to support the needs of families with sick children. As READ for RMHC-CR celebrates its 10th year, we are immensely proud of the 20,800 students who have participated over the course of the program’s history.

READ for RMHC-CR is a unique, reading-based community service program that empowers readers of all ages to support the mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities. The numbers of elementary and middle school students participating in the program have grown tremendously in recent years. During the 2023-2024 school year, more than 2,780 students participated in READ for RMHC-CR and raised over $328,000!

RMHC-CR and many partner schools celebrated the achievements of all who participated in the program during the 2023-2024 school year at the RMHC-CR 5K Fun Run & Birthday Bash at Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences on Saturday, July 15. All READ for RMHC-CR participants were offered free admission to the Birthday Bash in recognition of their outstanding work, and prizes were awarded to the top five individual fundraisers, as well as to the schools with the highest participation and fundraising totals for the 2023-2024 program year.

Principal receiving a READ for RMHC award at the 2024 5K Fun Run & Birthday Bash
Student receiving a READ for RMHC award from the Albany Tulip Court at the 2024 5K Fun Run & Birthday Bash
Student receiving a READ for RMHC award at the 2024 5K Fun Run & Birthday Bash

In addition to raising critical funds for programs like the Albany Ronald McDonald House, the Ronald McDonald Family Room and Comfort Cart at the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med, and the Ronald McDonald Family Retreat at Krantz Cottage in Lake George, READ for RMHC-CR fosters two important habits – reading and community service – that can benefit participants throughout their lives. “[It’s] a great way to motivate students to read and at the same time, raise money for an amazing charity that helps families who are going through a challenging time,” said Rebecca Ekstrom, Library Media Specialist, Algonquin Middle School.

“Once again, school communities across our region have gone above and beyond to make the READ for RMHC-CR program a huge success,” says Nancy Damato, READ for RMHC-CR Program Director. “We are extremely grateful to our partners and all of our participating readers and their families for the outpouring of support. It makes a tremendous difference in the lives of the children and families we serve.”

-Nancy Damato, READ for RMHC-CR Program Director

The READ for RMHC-CR program is supported by numerous local business partners, including Albany Broadcasting, Apex Entertainment, BJ’s Restaurant Brewhouse, Complete Network, La-Z-Boy Home Furnishings & Décor, Mel eMedia, National Grid, RPI Football, Saratoga Springs Publishing, Six Flags Great Escape, Stewart’s Shops, Tri-City ValleyCats, UAlbany Athletics and Velocity Print. Local authors also participate in the program to bring added resources and benefits to participating schools. Special thanks to Katherine Agard, Ben Barrowman, Amber L. Bradbury, Michael Burns, Janine De Tillio Cammarata, Diane Capogna, Julie Chapman, Vicki Addesso Dodd, Jason Edwards, Maryellen Wander Eyer, Elizabeth Macy, Anthony Richichi, Sara V. Robinson, Rebecca & Niamh Schmid, E.L. Shen, and Rachel Vogel for their support.

The team at RMHC-CR is planning some exciting enhancements to continue to increase participation and engagement in Read for RMHC-CR across the region for the 2024-2025 program year. For more information, please visit or contact Nancy Damato at (518) 438-2655.