Kahn honored for a lifetime of service to the Cleveland community

Ronald L. Kahn will receive the Ramey Award for Distinguished Community Service at the Ohio State Bar Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner on October 7. This honor is given annually to an Ohio attorney whose career has been exemplified by a lifetime of service to the public and the community.

Ron, a senior partner at Ulmer & Berne, has practiced law for 43 years and has spent 38 of those years developing one of Cleveland’s most important non-profits–The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, Inc. (RMH). While Ron’s infant daughter was undergoing many weeks of treatment for a rare form of eye cancer in a New York hospital, Ron and his wife, Susy, stayed in a nearby brownstone made available without charge to out-of-town families by the hospital’s eye clinic. Upon returning to Cleveland, the Kahns’ daughter came under the care of Drs. Susan Shurin and Samuel Gross of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. In the summer of 1978, Dr. Gross approached Ron and Susy along with other parents whose children he was treating about starting a Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland.

Going through the experience with his daughter, Ron knew that children who were hospitalized needed the security of having their parents nearby. He wanted to give families a low-cost, home-away-from-home close to the hospital, to provide stability in the midst of challenging circumstances. As a result, Ron and other community members opened RMH of Cleveland on September 25, 1979.

By 1990, Ron had become president of the RMH board during which time he oversaw disposition of the existing House, the design and construction of the new Ronald McDonald House at a new location, with expanded capacity of 37 rooms, as well as orchestration of the capital campaign to raise the needed funds. After serving the longest tenure of any RMH president at four years, he was elected secretary of the board, a position he still holds today.

“Regardless of whether you are a colleague, volunteer, staff, House guest or fellow Board member, Ron Kahn is there to be a friend,” said Mickey Kozlovich, past president of RMH of Cleveland. “Truly a remarkable individual and dedicated with a passion rivaled by none.”

Other accomplishments under Ron’s guidance and leadership include Tools for Today and Tomorrow, an online support resource for families, now known as RedTreehouse.org, and the opening of Ohio’s first Ronald McDonald Family Room within a hospital. In addition, Ron was part of the Ulmer & Berne team that helped secure $2.2 million in New Market Tax Credits for yet another expansion of RMH in 2010.

For 38 years, Ron has donated countless hours of legal work, helped develop new programming to serve thousands of families in need and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support RMH services.

“Over the history of Ron’s board leadership, dedication and commitment to the mission, RMH has grown from serving 2,000 people through one program in 1979 to helping more than 100,000 individuals a year through multiple programs today,” said RMH of Cleveland Executive Director Craig Wilson who nominated Ron for the Ramey Award. “While most people would move to a new cause, Ron’s passion for the RMH mission continues to burn as brightly today as it did 38 years ago.”

Fritz E. Berckmueller, a fellow RMH board member and supporter of Ron’s nomination, added, “He is never afraid to go the extra mile or make that last request to better serve the organization and its interests, but always does so in a way that shows respect for others and in turn fosters appreciation for the House. That is the mark of a true legal professional and a dedicated fiduciary.”

About the Award

The Ramey Award is given annually to an Ohio attorney whose career has been exemplified by: dedication to the goals and values sought to be furthered by the Foundation; a lifetime of service to the public and to the community; and integrity, honor, courtesy and professionalism. This service must be outside the recipient’s practice of law, given without compensation and for the betterment of the community.

About the Ohio State Bar Foundation

The Ohio State Bar Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) public charity that works to promote the pursuit of justice and the public understanding of the rule of law. Through our grants and programs, we educate and perform outreach to the public to make the law fair for all Ohioans. For more information about the Ohio State Bar Foundation, please visit WWW.OSBF.NET.

About the Ronald McDonald House® of Cleveland, Inc.

The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland supports families whose children receive treatment at area medical centers by providing a home-like environment and essential resources and services. For more information, please visit www.rmhcleveland.org.