In 1991, a Village Green property manager accepted his residents’ dare to jump into the community’s unheated pool in May if the residents made financial pledges to a worthy cause. In the years since then, Village Green’s Splash Day has become an annual tradition, with residents, associates, and preferred vendors and suppliers from over 150 properties competing to raise the most money for local Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Village Green raised over $102,000 for RMHC in 2018 and has raised over $2 million through Splash Day fundraisers since 1991. Participants include corporate executives, leasing agents, and maintenance staff, who often wear costumes or Ronald McDonald’s red and white striped socks when they jump into the pools. The Splash Day event typically includes a community barbecue as well as silent auctions. Village Green communities without pools can participate through other fundraising events, including raffles, pancake breakfasts, game nights, and pub crawls.
“Thinking about families who utilize the services the Ronald McDonald House Charities provide, I was happy to show support for such a great cause and take the plunge to help raise money. It’s a blessing to have a place for families to be comfortable and be by their loved ones’ sides during such a tumultuous time in their lives,” says Ryan Kirby, vice president of Village Green. “It’s an honor to be a small piece of that.”
RMHC has been able to make upgrades and support operating costs for a number of its facilities through Village Green’s financial support. These include improvements to bedrooms and common areas in the former Ronald McDonald House of Detroit, contributions to the lobby area in the new Detroit location, and support for a Ronald McDonald Family Room at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
The Splash Day event also serves as a chance for employees to engage with each other, residents, and the surrounding community. Throughout the year, employees can serve as ambassadors through the VG Cares program, which arranges events leading up to Splash Day in each region.
A number of Village Green’s associates have also expanded their involvement with RMHC. Brenda Robinson-Wright, a Village Green area director and VG Cares national ambassador, sits on its board of directors, and others crochet blankets and hats as well as prepare meals for guests.
“If jumping in cold water will help a child and their family during their hardest time, the answer was obvious when I was asked to jump,” says Corinne Russo, regional coordinator manager at Village Green. “I was incredibly proud to be a part of something so big, and to make such a huge impact in a way that I thought was so simple and easy.”