Great benefactor receives great reward

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Mrs. Joan Kroc – 1928 – 2003

Mrs. Joan B. Kroc

The Salvation Army has lost a valued friend and generous donor with the death of Mrs. Joan B. Kroc. The widow of McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc died October 12, 2003 of a form of brain cancer at her home in suburban San Diego. She was 75.

Her donation of $87 million in 1998 to build The Salvation Army’s 12-acre Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center in San Diego was among hundreds of millions of dollars Mrs. Kroc donated to a variety of philanthropic efforts.

“Mrs. Kroc’s model of community involvement and support is almost without equal,” said Major Cindy Foley, associate administrator of the Kroc Center. “She was a living example of the true meaning of generosity. Mrs. Kroc’s dream was for young people in San Diego to be able to discover the full breadth of their gifts and talents. The Kroc Center was Mrs. Kroc’s avenue to give East San Diego access to greater opportunities.”

During the last weeks of her life, Mrs. Kroc visited the center several times and donated a Henry Moore sculpture from her estate to the facility. The bronze sculpture, “Figure in a Shelter,” was placed in the community garden adjacent to the Education Center. “Mrs. Kroc was able to come and see the sculpture after its installation,” said Foley.

In June 2002, (then) General John Gowans presented Mrs. Kroc the Army’s Order of Distinguished Auxiliary Service during the center’s opening celebration.

The Salvation Army Kroc Center has served 440,000 individuals since its opening in June 2002. Over 700 individuals have received scholarship assistance for programs and memberships at the facility. The community response to the facility has been overwhelming.

“One of our goals for the first year was to have 1,500 members. We had 3,000 members in the first six weeks. Currently, the facility has 6,400 members,” said Major Tim Foley, Kroc Center administrator.


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