Malcolm Jenkins announces matching ticket campaign to support new Ronald McDonald House in Prince Albert

Pictured is the Ronald McDonald House in Saskatoon. Prince Albert is set to have its own house around 2026. -- Greg Pender/Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Art aficionados who purchase tickets to an E.A. Rawlinson Show next season will get more than just entertainment—they’ll also get a chance to support the new Ronald McDonald Children’s House in Prince Albert.

Prince Albert philanthropist Malcolm Jenkins announced on Wednesday that the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation would donate $20 to the Ronald McDonald House for every ticket sold by June 29 for a 2024-25 show at the Rawlinson.

“I thought of it this afternoon at 4 p.m. when I woke up from my nap,” Jenkins said with a laugh. “I did. That’s seriously when it came. We have done it before with things like the hospice and with one or two other things…. It works. If you challenge people and say, ‘if you do this, I’ll match this,’ it’s astonishing how many people get interested all of a sudden.”

Jenkins said the foundation did matching donations to support other projects like the Rose Garden Hospice, and the public always responded well. That’s convinced him the tactic could work again with the Ronald McDonald House.

The matching ticket donation is the first of many fundraising campaigns planned for the house. Jenkins said they would launch an official campaign on June 27.

“Everyone is generous in this town, so they join in and that’s how we get there,” Jenkins said. “We’ve got to raise $8 million and we’ve got to raise it in probably two or three months. We’ll announce it next week, so this is just a way of getting the word out to get it on people’s radar, because it’s a great thing.”

Prince Albert currently hosts a Ronald McDonald Family Room in Victoria Hospital, but not a full house like in Saskatoon. Jenkins said he’s always been impressed with the Saskatoon facility, and is glad to see one finally planned for Prince Albert.

He’s also happy for the families who will no longer rack up bills when their children get sick.

E.A. Rawlinson Centre GM Roxanne Dicke said Jenkins has always been a strong supporter of the arts, so it’s no surprise to see him tie a Rawlinson ticket campaign to the house’s construction.

She’s also glad he stepped forward and proposed the idea.

“He always comes up with these out-of-the-box ideas,” she said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities began plan to build houses in Regina and Prince Albert in 2018. At the time, organizers said the Saskatoon house was meeting only about 20 per cent of the province’s need.

The Prince Albert house will have 12 rooms, plus shuttle services to local healthcare facilities, plus a meal program. The foundation expected the cost to be around $8 million when they announced the plans in 2023.

Jenkins’ announcement was part of the E.A. Rawlinson Centre 2024-25 season unveiling. For more on what the next season of shows will look like, please see Tuesday’s Prince Albert Daily Herald.