Industry News | August 16, 2002

Ronald McDonald House Charities(R) Annual 'Awards of Excellence' Gala To Feature All Star Line-Up Including Celine Dion, Enrique Iglesias, Josh Groban, Nita Whitaker and Nick Carter

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Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) will host its annual "Awards of Excellence" gala at the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place in Chicago on Saturday, September 14th. The black-tie event will feature a silent auction, reception and performances by leading artists including international megastar Celine Dion, renowned Latin singing sensation Enrique Iglesias, Grammy-award winning composer, producer and musician David Foster, up-and-coming musical artist Josh Groban, R&B/gospel singer Nita Whitaker, and pop idol Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys. An original song written and composed by David Foster will debut in honor of "McDonald's World Children's Day," taking place November 20, 2002.

The 2002 Award of Excellence will be presented to two outstanding individuals who made a significant contribution to improve the lives of children. In addition to the Award, each will receive $100,000 to be donated to the cause of their choice. These honorees are: Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan and Judah Folkman, M.D., Andrus Professor of Pediatric Surgery at HarvardMedical School and Surgeon-in-Chief, Emeritus, of Children's Hospital

Members of the McDonald's family—restaurant owners, suppliers and employees—will also be honored for their efforts on behalf of children. One of the most distinguished awards given is the Gerry Newman McTLC award. T

he 2002 recipient of this award along with $25,000, is Dawn Degenhardt, a McDonald's Owner in Houlton, Maine, who has dedicated 25 years to enriching the lives of abandoned children across the world. Working with Maine Adoption Placement Service (MAPS), she has helped to raise funds to build and renovate orphanages in Peru, Kazakhstan and India. She serves as caretaker at understaffed adoption centers and has adopted nine children into her own family.

Past RMHC Awards of Excellence recipients have included: tennis star Andrea Jaeger (2001), renowned performer and humanitarian Harry Belafonte (2000), former First Lady Betty Ford (1998), Retired U.S. Army General Colin Powell (1997), former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Antonia Novello (1995), and former First Lady Barbara Bush (1994), among others.

The 2002 Awards of Excellence celebration will kick off "McDonald's World Children's Day," an unprecedented worldwide fundraising effort benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities and other children's causes around the globe.ABC-TV will telecast the Awards of Excellence all-star concert on Thursday, November 14th at 7 p.m. CST/8 p.m. EST as part of this effort.

On November 20th, McDonald's restaurants in 121 countries will raise funds to help children in their communities. U.S. customers can participate by purchasing select menu items from which a portion of each sale will be donated to RMHC.

"McDonald's goal on November 20th goes far beyond the dollars raised for children," said Ken Barun, President and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities. "It also brings the world's attention to the ever-increasing needs of children and the role we must all play in affecting positive change." Ronald McDonald House Charities, a non-profit, 501(c)3, creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well being of children through its network of 171 local Chapters currently serving in 44 countries. Named one of America's Top 100 Charities by Worth magazine, the Charity makes grants to not for-profit organizations and provides support to Ronald McDonald Houses and Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles worldwide. To date, Ronald McDonald House Charities' national body and global network of local Chapters have awarded more than $340 million to children's programs.