George Cohon is well-known nationally and internationally. He’s the founder of McDonald’s Restaurants in Canada and in Russia.
Cohon is also the founder of Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities across the country – a place he visits once or twice a week with his therapy dogs, bringing comfort to children and families when they need it the most.
“I never walked the talk. I would talk about the charity, but I didn’t have a chance to know the charity,” said Cohen.
“When I became founder. whatever that means, I had more time to come in and look around.”
Cohen has always played an active and prominent role in numerous charitable organizations and has received the highest public service awards from three continents including the Order of Canada, Russia’s Order of Friendship, and the Israeli8 Prime Minister’s Medal. Yet with his accomplishments, it’s the simple things in life that bring Cohon the greatest joy.
“It makes my day better. I don’t want to go and hit golf balls or tennis ball. If I can get involved to raise money for a place like Ronald McDonald House, it’s more important,” said Cohon.
It’s so important that Cohon established McHappy Day in 1977. It’s become the largest charity-driven program for McDonald’s Canada – in support of Ronald McDonald House Charities.
“We’ve raised tens of millions of dollars,” Cohon said. Last year we raised $6.1 million and all of that money goes to help families that are in need.”
When asked if Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities is his biggest accomplishments Cohen said, “I would say it’s helping one family at a time. It’s meeting a family that comes in and what do they need when their child is sick? They need to be together.”