The Best Medicine: Keeping Families Close

Lynne and Steve Wheeler

Steve and Lynne Wheeler

Location is everything, as they say in real estate. Legacy Society members Lynne and Steve Wheeler saw a key strength of our Ronald McDonald House on their first visit: its ideal location. Directly across the street from Rady Children’s Hospital, our proximity gives children and parents peace of mind in what otherwise can be a scary time.

Children hospitalized at Rady Children’s like knowing their moms and dads are just steps away. Some kids can even look out their window and see family waving at them from the House. And it’s comforting for parents to know their child is close by while they take a break for lunch, a refreshing shower or a quick nap.

That parents and families can be nearby is the best therapy for a hospitalized child."

It’s good therapy for families too. Upon entering the House, they’re greeted by compassionate staff and volunteers who understand what they’re going through. Overnight guest suites are available, as are comfy nap rooms for daytime use. Any family wearing a hospital wristband can enjoy free hot meals three times a day and lots of in-between snacks. There’s an onsite TK-12 school, as well as indoor and outdoor play spaces that are favorites of the siblings of hospitalized children.

Children playing on the playground

Indoor and outdoor play spaces are favorites of the siblings of hospitalized children.

Steve first toured the House in 2012. He was moved to see families receive all the comforts of home and more—and all for free. Steve wanted to be a part of that care, so he organized fundraisers to benefit our families through his Ferrari Owners Club of San Diego.  

Then Steve knew a child staying at Rady Children’s. That’s when the purpose of the Ronald McDonald House really hit home. “It’s heartwarming to know that the House is there for families that you care about, Steve says.

Lynne and Steve decided together to name the House in their estate. "We feel very strongly about helping children in the hospital have their families close by," says Lynne.

"Just knowing those services exist for families is reassuring," Steve adds. "It's like owning an insurance policy." Lynne and Steve now are Charter Members of our Many Hearts Legacy Society.

Group at Kitchen

The Wheelers' Bible study group served Palm Sunday dinner to our families.

The Wheelers have been generous supporters of the House for 12 years, and we treasure their friendship. They recently brought their Bible study group to serve Palm Sunday dinner to 150 of our family guests! We value this very special couple for their superb commitment to keeping our families close.

What You Can Do

  • If you'd like to become a Many Hearts Legacy Society Member, we'd be honored to have you! To join, just submit a Declaration of Intent form, or contact Charles Day at 858-598-2420 or
  • If you want to serve a meal to our families, like the Wheelers, please contact Tera Patton-Ikeler at 858-598-2414 or
Grantor Charitable Lead Annuity Trust

Provides income payments to a qualified charitable organization for a period of years, the lives of one or more individuals or a combination of the two; after which, trust assets are paid to the donor of the trust.

A power of attorney form that transfers ownership of stock.

Securities such as stock that are in certificate (paper) form.

Investments that have increased in value since the time of their purchase.

Testamentary means bequeathed through one's will.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

I give [insert amount, percentage of the estate, or 'the rest and remainder of my estate'] to Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, Inc.

Federal Tax ID #95-3251490

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor-advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to the House or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust (CRT) provides income to you, as the donor of the CRT, or to other named individuals, and does so each year for life or for a period not exceeding 20 years. The remainder of the assets go to your chosen charity.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the House as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the House as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and the House where you agree to make a gift to the House and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.