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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Mar. 6, 201212:00 PM EST

Nonprofit CEO Showcase: Joy Hardaker


Executive Director, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville

To improve the health and well-being of children by providing lodging and support services for families of critically ill, chronically ill and seriously injured children. Our core program is the 30-bedroom Ronald McDonald House on the campus of Wolfson Children’s Hospital and Nemours Children’s Clinic.

Serving Jacksonville
The first 10-bedroom Ronald McDonald House opened in 1988. We moved to the 30-bedroom Ronald McDonald House in 2001. We are our own 501c3 organization based in Jacksonville. We are licensed by McDonald’s to use the name, along with more than 300 other houses around the world, but we are locally operated and locally funded.

Those served
Families come from as close as St. Augustine and Brunswick to as far away as Colorado and the United Kingdom, even India and Africa, for the specialty pediatric medical services Jacksonville can provide. More than 1,100 families are served at the Jacksonville Ronald McDonald House every year — 70 percent from Florida cities. Hundreds of local families are served through our other Ronald McDonald House Charities Jacksonville programs, including the Ronald McDonald Family Room inside Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

Biggest challenge
Managing the increased need for services with the limitations of our space and funding. Fortunately, the board of directors has recently approved the planning of a building expansion. It is an exciting time to be involved with the organization.

Biggest satisfaction
Meeting the parents and especially the children every day, seeing the program firsthand. How many executives get that kind of perk in their job.  It really is inspiring.

Born in Louisville, Ky., but moved to Jacksonville by age 10 and attended Lee High School, the University of Florida and the University of North Florida.

First experience with community service
Teen service clubs, then as a young mom, volunteering with the American Cancer Society, the Boy Scouts of America, the Tournament Players Championship and the PTA.

Your job before Ronald McDonald House Charities
I worked at the Jacksonville Museum of Science & History and the Discovery Place museum in Charlotte, N.C. I loved them both. I have been at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville for 17 years.

Upcoming events
Saturday: “Rock the House” music festival and barbecue, 1-5 p.m., Riverplace Tower, $25. For information, visit

May 5: “Believe the Magic” McGala dinner, dance and auction, 6:30-11 p.m., Sawgrass Marriott Resort. Call for ticket and sponsorship information.

Contact information
807-HOME (4663)

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