Corporate Accountability International charged McDonald's provides only about 20 percent of the charity's funding and spent far more in 2011 touting its connection to the Ronald McDonald Houses than it did in contributions to them, ABC News reported. The group released a report Tuesday, "Clowning Around With Charity: How McDonald's Exploits Philanthropy and Targets Children."
The Ronald McDonald Houses, near major hospitals, provide housing for the families of sick children and for children receiving outpatient care. The charity also funds "family rooms" to give parents who live near hospitals a place to rest, wash clothes and shower while visiting children and mobile children's clinics.
The charity now operates in more than 50 countries with houses in places as far-flung as Caracas, Paris, Bangkok and Wagga Wagga, Australia.
Bridget Coffing, senior vice president for corporate relations, called the report "shameful and misleading."
"We hesitate to even dignify it with a comment, but that would be a disservice to the McDonald's employees, franchisees, suppliers and customers who have partnered tirelessly to support the tremendous work of Ronald McDonald House Charities," she added. "This is a thinly veiled attack on our brand at the expense of the millions of families and organizations who have benefitted from RMHC."