In 2005, our Founder, Jerry Wirth, discussed charity with then U.S. Ambassador Catherine Todd Bailey. After Ambassador Bailey and Mr. Wirth visited with the Children’s Clinical University Hospital leadership and discussed needs of children in Latvia, the idea of a children’s charity was born. Mr. Wirth then persuaded McDonalds executive management in Chicago to send a team to consider supporting an independent charity in Latvia. Again with Ambassador Bailey’s assistance, Mr. Wirth and the Chicago team toured hospitals, polyclinics and orphanages throughout Latvia. Mr. Wirth and the Chicago team also met with business leaders, doctors and politicians to gauge the level of community interest in and support for a children-focused charity.
This effort succeeded. Mr. Wirth founded Ronald McDonald House Charities Latvija (RMHC Latvija) in December, 2007, and a licensing agreement was signed with Ronald McDonald House Charities Global. In return, “Global” agreed to provide a custom-built Ronald McDonald Care Mobile (valued over EUR 400,000), and to provide ongoing training to our charity’s staff and board. RMHC Latvija then began a three-year process of project identification, legal registrations, building partnerships, and fundraising in anticipation of the official start to providing medical services.
On the 10th of May 2010, our purpose-built Ronald McDonald Care Mobile arrived. It was licensed, and at the end of 2010 the first visits started.