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“Through World Children's Day at McDonald's, we are proud to once again help improve the lives of millions of children,” said Jim Cantalupo, McDonald's Chairman and CEO. “Thanks to the generosity of our franchisees, suppliers, employees and customers worldwide, this year's event was extremely successful in raising both funds and awareness for the ever-increasing needs of children everywhere.”
Funds raised on World Children's Day 2003 will benefit hundreds of children's organizations around the world including: 22 orphanages and children's homes in Russia, Eastern Europe and worldwide; 14 children's cancer centers and treatment facilities worldwide; 15 new Ronald McDonald House openings around the world in 2004 and support for existing Houses worldwide; and the expansion of the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program from 19 to 25mobile healthcare units in 2004.
In the United States, World Children's Day contributions will benefit the 134 Ronald McDonald House Charities Chapters across the country and their programs such as Ronald McDonald Houses, Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles, scholarships and grants to local children's organizations. A celebrated roster of world-renowned entertainers and dignitaries lent their support to the 2003 World Children's Day at McDonald's effort, including international diva Celine Dion; superstar Justin Timberlake; philanthropist and actor Paul Newman; tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams; award-winning actor Dustin Hoffman; singer/actress Jessica Simpson; “American Idol” finalist Clay Aiken; Olympic medallist Carl Lewis and Grammy award-winner producer/composer David Foster and his wife, lyricist Linda Thompson.
International World Children's Day events included appearances by megastar Leon Lai in Hong Kong; First Lady Martha Fox in Mexico; President Pacheco in Costa Rica; First Lady Doris Schroeder-Koepf in Germany; pop music artist Kitaro in Japan; First Lady Laima Pacsiene in Lithuania; TV star Robert Ten Brink in the Netherlands and President Iliescu of Romania. In addition, Olympic athletes around the world volunteered their time to help raise funds for World Children's Day at McDonald's. “With the help of so many caring people around the world, World Children's Day at McDonald's continues to be an expansive fundraising event for Ronald McDonald House Charities and children's causes worldwide,” said Ken Barun, President and CEO of RMHC. “This important global event enables our Charity to continue to fulfill our mission of improving the health and well being of children who desperately need our assistance.”