Does McDonald's Give Enough to Its Own Charity?

By David Chang
|  Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013  |  Updated 12:10 PM EDT
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A scathing new report accuses McDonald's of not giving enough to their Ronald McDonald charities. NBC10's George Spencer shows reaction from Philly residents and takes a look at how much is contributed to the Philly charity.

NBC10.com - George Spencer

A scathing new report accuses McDonald's of not giving enough to their Ronald McDonald charities. NBC10's George Spencer shows reaction from Philly residents and takes a look at how much is contributed to the Philly charity.

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The world’s largest fast food chain is under fire after a scathing report from a consumer advocacy group.

The Ronald McDonald House Charity is one of the most celebrated charities in the world, providing homes for sick children and their families since 1974. Many people associate the charity with McDonald’s.

“It’s synonymous with the Ronald McDonald House,” said John McGarry of University City. “So they’ve definitely done a good job of attaching themselves to the charity in the public’s eye.”

But according to a 30-page report funded by Corporate Accountability, while McDonald’s reaps the PR benefits, they aren’t doing nearly as much as people think to actually help the charity.

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According to the report, McDonald’s contributes only 20% of the charity’s budget. The report calls for McDonald’s to rename the charity and stop using its mascot, the famous Ronald McDonald as the charity spokesman, due to their low contribution.

Bridget Coffing, the Senior Vice President of McDonald’s Corporate Relations, called the report “shameful and misleading.”

“We hesitate to even dignify it with a comment, but that would be a disservice to the McDonald’s employees, franchisees, suppliers and customers who have partnered tirelessly to support the tremendous work of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) for the past nearly 40 years,” she said in a written statement. “This is a thinly-veiled attack on our brand at the expense of the millions of families and organizations who have benefited from RMHC. McDonald’s categorically rejects this self-serving and biased document and stands proud of the significant financial support and volunteer hours we have and will continue to provide to RMHC and other charities worldwide.” 

According to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, the McDonald's Corporation does not provide any annual financial support to the Philly Ronald McDonald houses. Instead, each year they receive 10 percent of their annual budget from the RHMC of the Philadelphia Region, a non-profit organization that receives support from the owners and operators of more than 300 McDonald's restaurants in the greater Philadelphia area, Southern New Jersey and Delaware.

“That’s really low,” said Karen Black of West Philadelphia. “I would think they would contribute more money than that.”

“McDonald’s can give more than that,” said Harold Daniel, another West Philly resident. “I know this is a billion dollar business. So they can give more than that to the Ronald McDonald House.”

Barbara Williams, of West Philadelphia, believes that anything is better than nothing however.

“I say they give what they can,” said Williams.

Sheila Musolino, the Chief Operating Officer for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, said in a written statement that the group helps 12,000 families a night and that McDonald's is a big reason why. 

“This would not be possible without McDonald's - the awareness they help create, the dollars they donate and the support of its thousands of independent owner/operators, customers and suppliers,” she wrote. “The support of the entire McDonald’s family has enabled what started as a local initiative helping a few families grow into a worldwide program that serves over seven million children and families every year. McDonald’s assistance with the administrative costs that the global office of RMHC would otherwise incur allows the Charity to devote more funding to support of local programs. This unwavering support allows us to focus on helping families in need while their critically-ill children fight for their lives.”

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