McDonald’s Owner/Operator Marcia Finlayson has been in the McDonald’s family for her entire career, dating back to high school when she started as a Crew person at the McDonald’s on Wellington Road in London, Ontario. Along with husband Todd, becoming an Owner/Operator was always the goal, and ultimately so was getting involved with RMHC Toronto.

“We always wanted a career that allowed us to be connected with and give back to the communities that we serve,” explains Marcia. Fundraising for RMHC has always been at the core of Marcia and Todd’s work. In fact, Marcia worked the very first McHappy Day in 1977 as a Crew person.

In 2008, they realized that goal when they secured three McDonald’s restaurants in the Markham Stouffville area.

“When we found out that the restaurants we were going to purchase were in Markham,” says Marcia, “we reached out to long-time family friend Roger Keeley to start talking about what we could do in that community.”

Roger, a well-known philanthropist in Markham Stouffville, was on the Board of the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation at the time. The Finlaysons and Roger Keeley were keen to work with RMHC Toronto to open a Ronald McDonald Family Room at Markham Stouffville Hospital – a quiet space where parents can rest, get something to eat, shower, and generally cope with the stress of being in the hospital with their sick child.

With their support, RMHC Toronto opened the Family Room in 2013. Today, Marcia and Todd, along with Roger, head a fundraising committee of local business leaders who have made a special commitment to the families at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Called the “Fab 15” Committee, this fabulous group have raised over $600,000 for the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Markham Stouffville Hospital since 2016.

Marcia and Todd currently operate seven restaurants in the Markham Stouffville area and thrive on their community involvement. This year, they took the next step on their philanthropic journey when Marcia was appointed to RMHC Toronto’s Board of Directors.

“One of the things Todd and I love about our work as Owner/Operators and as part of the “Fab 15” Committee is the connection we have to the wider business community and the influential people in it. This incredible committee lets us leverage that interaction to create something very meaningful. It’s wonderful when your job and your commitment to philanthropy align. I’ve always been a proud McDonald’s employee and supporter of the charity.”

Members of the “Fab 15” Committee pose with Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti in their McHappy Day Superhero costumes in 2019. From left: Neil Garland, Rick Bernardi, Lisa Ross, Roger Keeley, Todd Finlayson, Marcia Finlayson, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Robert Morand, Jim Doherty, and Ken Wade.

The RMHC mission touches so many of us, as the Marcia and Todd know well. Recently, their own son and daughter-in-law used the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Credit Valley Hospital when new daughter Winnie spent some time in the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit. In true Finlayson spirit, Winnie’s first birthday party was a fundraiser in support of Ronald McDonald House, out of gratitude for their use of the Family Room.

“1 in 4 Canadians have been touched by the mission of RMHC,” says Marcia. “The work we do is pervasive, and it needs to continue. Our mission is to inspire other Owner/Operators and community leaders to be motivated by it and dig deep.”

Members of the Fab 15 Committee with Stouffville Mayor Iain Lovatt at the re-opening of the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Markham Stouffville Hospital in 2019.