Opening doors to families since 2018
Yellow Door was born because every family deserves a home away from home while their child receives treatment for life-threatening illnesses.
When a child is diagnosed with cancer or requires an organ transplant, the entire family must shift away from the life they know in order to seek out the best treatments possible. This often means relocating the entire family for an extended period of time.
However, over 50% of families are unable to afford ANY type of long-term lodging away from home. When this happens, the Yellow Door Foundation is there to help alleviate the emotional and financial burden by providing safe, clean sanctuary lodging and family support for the duration of the child's treatment completely free of charge.
A home away from home
All of our apartment homes:
- Are fully furnished and equipped one and two-bedroom apartments, specially designed to provide the optimal safe, clean environment for immunocompromised patients
- Have access to fitness center, children's playroom, playground and business and meeting facilities
- Are conveniently located near the University of Virginia Children's Hospital (3 miles)
JoAnne McTague, a 26-year resident of Charlottesville and a graduate of the University of Virginia, will tell you that she never envisioned starting a charitable foundation – it just happened. After working for more than 30 years in Corporate America, a chance conversation started her down the path to establish The Yellow Door Foundation.
JoAnne and her husband Jeff, were rehabbing houses in Charlottesville when, over dinner in February 2017, a friend asked "Have you ever thought about making your houses available for families of pediatric cancer patients who are in town for extended periods of time?"
At her friend's urging, JoAnne spent two months researching the need - speaking with Hospital personnel, cancer patients and their families, and countless providers of patient lodging across the country. Through her research, she discovered the largest gap was long-term lodging for immunocompromised pediatric patients, for whom communal living is not an ideal option.
Our first family
At about the same time, JoAnne was introduced by future Board member Ann Marie Gathright to a little girl named Maggie and her mom Brooke from southwest Virginia. They were heading to Charlottesville for Maggie's extended-stay outpatient treatment at UVA Children's Hospital and had no place to stay. JoAnne and Jeff welcomed them to stay at their home.
They spent a lot of time together, including emergency hospital runs with Maggie. These interactions provided invaluable first-hand insight into the challenges these families face every day. From this association, The Yellow Door Foundation was born.
The Road to Yellow Door
JoAnne's initial program considered single family detached homes, but the cost to purchase, manage and maintain the number of homes needed to fill the gap was cost prohibitive. Instead, JoAnne chose an apartment home model, which reduced the budget by 83%, provided additional amenities, and kept all lodging in a single, more manageable location.
The Yellow Door Foundation was founded in May 2017 and received its 501(c)3 charitable organization designation in November 2017. It opened its first Yellow Door apartment in February 2018. We now have 4 apartments, which have delivered over 2,400 nights of totally FREE lodging, ranging from a stay of 2 weeks to 9 months. These kids have endured cancer treatments as well as heart, kidney and liver transplants.
We are a proud member of the University of Virginia Children's Hospital Housing Collaborative
In keeping with UVA’s focus on patient and family-centered care, four Charlottesville nonprofits have come together to ensure our families don’t have to worry about having a place to stay while their child receives extended care. Learn more
Meet our Board of Directors
Ann Marie Gathright
Thank you to our partners!
The mission of the Yellow Door Foundation could not be met without the commitment and support of our valued donors and partners of the foundation.