International Philanthropy Award for York Region McDonald’s Owner/Operators

November 15, 2017
Finlaysons first Canadian recipients in history
Marcia and Todd Finlayson

Since their start as McDonald’s Owner/Operators in the York Region nine years ago, Marcia and Todd Finlayson have always had a soft spot for the families supported by RMHC Toronto. Now, their fundraising efforts for our families have been recognized with an international award.
The Finlaysons were awarded the Gerry Newman McTLC Award of Excellence by Ronald McDonald House Charities on November 11, becoming the first-ever Canadian recipients of the prestigious honour.
The award carries with it a gift of US$100,000, to be contributed to the children’s charity of the recipient’s choice, and Marcia and Todd have announced they will donate the $100,000 to RMHC Toronto to benefit even more families receiving hospital care in the GTA in the future. The gift represents the equivalent of supporting two families for an entire year at RMHC Toronto. 

“The impact that Marcia and Todd have had on children and families in their community is inspiring,” said Sheila Musolino, President and Chief Executive Officer, RMHC, in announcing the award. “It is an honour to celebrate the extraordinary work they have done to help hundreds of thousands of Canadian families with seriously ill children.”

Todd Finlayson holding a childTodd Finlayson with a child helped by RMHC
Throughout Marcia and Todd’s career with McDonald’s, they have worked to promote and raise money for RMHC in Canada, including through McHappy Day, an annual McDonald’s fundraiser benefitting the charity, and by generating community support for the Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto Family Room at Markham Stouffville Hospital.
Over the last three years in particular, the Finlaysons, together with community leader Roger Keeley, brought together 15 local business leaders to become advocates for RMHC Toronto. This community fundraising team developed the “McHappy Day Ambassador Program,” recruiting close to 100 local leaders through peer-to-peer networking. The Ambassador Program raised more than $90,000 in 2017 for the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Markham Stouffville Hospital, more than double the fundraising goal. The Family Room supports more than 400 York Region families each year whose child is being cared for in the pediatrics or neonatal intensive care units.

“Making a difference is what drives us all,” say the Finlaysons.

“Our greatest hope is that our Ambassador Program will inspire other communities and other Owner/Operators across the country. These local ambassadors are an exemplary model of giving back to a community.”

Wayne Brady, Marcia and Todd FinlaysonThe Finlaysons with award gala entertainer Wayne Brady
The Gerry Newman McTLC Award of Excellence from RMHC honours the charity’s Founding Mission Partner, McDonald’s, and the dedication of the charity’s first President, Gerry Newman. The award is given annually to Owner/Operators who have stood out among all others for their efforts on behalf of children.

Past recipients honoured at the gala have included puppeteer and screenwriter Jim Henson (1990); Former First Lady Betty Ford (1998); Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan (2002); founder of Southwest Airlines, Herbert D. Kelleher (2010); and the Honorable Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda’s minister of health (2015).

​“Marcia and Todd are firm believers that families with seriously ill children really do best when they can stay together. They are innovative business leaders and we are tremendously grateful for their outstanding efforts to help families at the most difficult time in their lives,” said Sally Ginter, Chief Executive Officer, RMHC Toronto.
”Marcia and Todd Finlayson’s efforts are a true demonstration of community giving in action. Through their care and leadership, they have united their community, McDonald’s restaurants, and RMHC, all in service to families with sick children. Their powerful model of collaboration inspires each of us to work together to help keep families close. Thank you Marcia and Todd for showing us the way!,” said Cathy Loblaw, President and Chief Executive Officer, RMHC Canada.