May Volunteer of the Month – Rylee Murray
Meet our volunteers! Each month, we highlight stand-out volunteers and how they support families. For May, meet Rylee Murray, who has rallied her company to volunteer through Meals from the Heart since 2015.
- How long have you volunteered with Ronald McDonald House?
I’ve been volunteering and bringing different team members from Jackson National Life Insurance Company® (Jackson®) and our sister company, PPM America, to the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s since March 2015.
- Where do you typically volunteer, and what do you usually do?
In my role at Jackson, I lead our corporate philanthropy efforts throughout the Chicagoland community. Our employee engagement program, Jackson in Action, empowers team members to donate their skills and time through volunteer opportunities each month. Over the last eight years, our team members have volunteered many hours through Meals from the Heart/Culinary Hearts to make meals for families. We’ve also been involved by sponsoring and decorating a holiday tree each year at Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s.
- Why did you first start volunteering with Ronald McDonald House, and what keeps you coming back?
I’m so fortunate that I get to live my purpose each day through my job by volunteering and connecting our team members to organizations that do such important work like Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana. Through Culinary Hearts, our volunteers work together to cook and serve meals for families at Ronald McDonald House, allowing them to eat together without the stress of cooking or the expense of dining out. It’s important to me to find meaningful volunteer opportunities and our team members always have a motivating experience when we participate with RMHC-CNI!
- What is your favorite memory or experience from volunteering?
There have been so many wonderful moments over the years with families, volunteer groups and RMHC-CNI staff. However, there is one memory that is extra special. In December 2017, my daughter accompanied me and our volunteers to decorate Jackson’s sponsored tree at Ronald McDonald House. Sharing that volunteer experience with my daughter was priceless. She still remembers that day, the children she met and always asks when she can return. Each visit to Ronald McDonald House is such a meaningful and impactful experience.
- What does it mean to you to donate your time to our organization?
RMHC-CNI has been a wonderful nonprofit partner over the years and I’m grateful to work for a company that prioritizes giving back. Jackson is committed to making a positive impact in the community by investing time, experience, and fundraising efforts with nonprofit partners dedicated to strengthening families and increasing economic opportunities.
- If someone was considering getting their company or colleagues involved with our organization, what would you tell them about volunteering?
Pairing corporate support with employee participation multiplies our collective impact with local nonprofits. Culinary Hearts is the best team-building activity for any group looking to get involved and support families. The chef-led experience is completely turnkey. Big shoutout to the RMHC-CNI Culinary Team, who always plans a delicious menu and leads our group through each step of cooking and cleaning. And the best part is interacting with and serving families as they come through the food line!
Thank you, Rylee for your contributions to helping families feel at home!