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A life dedicated to pursuing peace

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Teamwork skills are taught at the Kroc Center


Steadfast in her desire to help others and to promote peace, billionaire Joan Kroc forged a legacy by quietly giving away millions of dollars. From disadvantaged children, substance abuse and terminal patients to an animal shelter, public broadcasting and international peace—Kroc supported these and many other causes and organizations.

“The more I give, the more fortunate I feel,” she once told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Joan B. Kroc Foundation (1983-1990) addressed these issues and gifts were made to organizations uniquely suited to tackle them. Funds were provided to the University of Notre Dame to house and permanently endow the Institute for International Peace Studies; the St. Vincent de Paul Joan Kroc Center for the Homeless in downtown San Diego; and San Diego Hospice to build a state-of-the-art inpatient facility for the terminally ill. The foundation also supported AIDS research.

She was especially dedicated to the goal of peace.

The University of Notre Dame’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies was founded in 1986 through a contribution of $12 million. In 1985 Mrs. Kroc had heard a talk given by Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh, then president of the university, on the dangers of the arms race, and she was moved to help. The institute conducts research, education, and outreach programs on the causes of violence and the conditions for sustainable peace. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered, equipping students with theoretical and practical skills needed for careers in peace building.

As a further expression of her commitment to world peace and conflict resolution, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego opened in late 2001 as a think tank for research and teaching. Kroc donated $25 million in 1998 for construction and an additional $5 million to endow a lecture series on conflicts and human rights. She asked that the Institute be a place that not only “talked about peace, but made peace.”

Along with the Notre Dame Institute and the University of San Diego Institute, Kroc was also a major benefactor of the Carter Center of Emory University in Atlanta.


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