Son's non-profit role is tribute to father's legacy

McDonald's has played a role in Jeff Cantalupo's life for as long as he can remember. The son of former McDonald's Corporation CEO Jim Cantalupo, the Hinsdale resident knew from a very young age that the fast food giant was about more than cheeseburgers and fries. Through the work of Ronald McDonald House Charities, it's also about helping families.

"I decided to join the board when there was an opportunity back in 2013," said Cantalupo, who served as board chair for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana in 2022-23 and continues to serve on the board and as a member of the development committee. He joins his sister, Hinsdale resident Christine Marzullo, and his mother, JoAnn, in his dedication to the organization and its work.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana has six houses and four family rooms dedicated to providing respite for families of children who are receiving medical care. The houses provide multiple families with a place to stay, while the family rooms are located inside hospitals and largely intended for daytime respite. All are offered free of charge to alleviate the many forms of stress, including financial, that come with caring for a sick or injured child.

In 2023 alone, more than 11,000 families benefited from stays at the local Ronald McDonald House properties, Cantalupo said.

"It's incredible to see the direct impact it has," Cantalupo said. He said he has seen the organization benefit people from all parts of the country as they travel to Chicago to seek the best treatment for their child.

"It's very meaningful to be involved in an organization that supports children and families," he said. Of course, his work continues to be inspired by his own father, who died in 2004.

"It's carrying on his legacy and the family's legacy," Cantalupo said.

A managing partner with venture capital company Listen of Chicago, Cantalupo offers his time, talent and treasure to drive the vision of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana.

"The development committee is charged with strategically planning out our fundraising and initiatives and executing those programs," he said. That includes the annual gala, scheduled for Saturday, April 27, at The Geraghty in Chicago. Guests are encouraged to pair their cocktail attire with their favorite pair of red shoes as they enjoy an evening of food, drinks, music and raising money. This homage to Ronald McDonald can take the form of sky-high heels, canvas Keds or anything in between.

Cantalupo, who describes himself as "a bit of a sneaker guy," will be wearing his red Air Jordan 5s.

"They're my gala shoes," he said.

Along with money, Cantalupo said volunteers also are needed to keep Ronald McDonald House's facilities available to families in need. He said providing and serving a meal for those staying at a Ronald McDonald House facility is a great way to help and to see up close the important work of the organization.

Information about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana can be found at

- by Sandy Illian Bosch, photo by Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean