Mary and Hudson Drake
A longtime friend of San Diego's Ronald McDonald House, Mary Drake first encountered our cause when her dear friends were pregnant. The mom developed complications and stayed at the Ronald McDonald House to be as close as possible to lifesaving care for her baby.
Seeing other families at the House, Mary recognized that the struggles of having a critically ill child are practical as well as emotional. Families need a place to eat and sleep that lets them reach their child's side at a moment's notice. To help them, she founded what became the Ronald McDonald House's annual ROMP gala. Her work resulted in a widely celebrated event that has raised over $10 million for families staying with us.
"I thought the mission was extremely worthwhile. I fell in love with it." —Hudson Drake
Mary encouraged her husband, Hudson, to join her in supporting the House. Hudson came for a visit and saw family members relaxing together in the Joseph Clayes III Great Room. Some chatted as they ate hot lunches. Children cuddled with their parents in the living room. And on both sides of the dining room were 48 welcoming guest suites.
"I thought the mission was extremely worthwhile. I fell in love with it," recalls Hudson. "I saw the children playing and laughing outside, and I was quite moved. I decided, along with Mary, to make the San Diego Ronald McDonald House a major mission of ours."
Mary and Hudson Drake escorted into 2016 ROMP gala.
Hudson had personal reasons for supporting the House, too. His youngest son, Paul, needed heart surgery at just eight years old, and he is grateful for the surgery's success. Hudson also lost his first wife to breast cancer. He knows firsthand that families need plenty of support when a loved one is in a medical crisis. They need security, comfort and a place to retreat each day.
Hudson served for six years on the Ronald McDonald House's Board of Trustees, including as Vice Chair. And in 2016, he and Mary became Charter Members of our Many Hearts Legacy Society.
"Since the IRA charitable rollover was signed into law in 2015, it's been more efficient to make donations directly from our IRAs." —Hudson Drake
The couple continues to look out for our families through their volunteer work and annual financial gifts. Last year, they made two separate distribution gifts from their IRAs. "Since the IRA charitable rollover was signed into law in 2015, it's been more efficient to make donations directly from our IRAs," says Hudson. "Our broker sends the distribution checks straight to the Ronald McDonald House." And giving directly from their IRA to a qualified charity makes any gifts totaling up to $100,000 tax-free.
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