Six Kroc Centers get green light

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Share of Mrs. Kroc’s $1.5 billion+ gift will fund construction and endowment.

by Karen Gleason – 

Long Beach, May 1, 2006—Territorial Commander Commissioner Philip Swyers announced today that six proposals for a Kroc Center have been approved and will receive funds to build and endow Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers here in the west. The proposals selected will serve the communities of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (Northwest Division); Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii (Hawaii and Pacific Islands Division); Long Beach, California (Southern California Division); Mid-Williamette Valley (Salem), Oregon (Cascade Division); South Mountain, Phoenix, Arizona (Southwest Division); and Tenderloin District, San Francisco, California (Golden State Division).

Swyers stated “The Salvation Army in the Western Territory has before it one of the most significant opportunities in the history of our territory. Through the beneficence of Mrs. Joan Kroc, communities awarded this type of corps community center will have the potential to be transformed. When one considers the volume of people that these Kroc Centers bring under the influence of a Salvation Army facility and officer corps, there is nothing comparable in our history. We are afforded a once in a lifetime opportunity in not only community outreach, but also evangelism and quality kingdom building, with mission first.

“Communities across the West have risen to the moment with massive, beautiful approaches to accomplish both the Army’s mission and Joan Kroc’s dream. I express my appreciation to them and congratulate them.”

Announced in January 2004, Mrs. Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, gave The Salvation Army in the U.S. an estate gift in excess of $1.5 billion for the exclusive purpose of building and endowing Kroc Centers in communities nationwide. The gift was the largest estate gift made by an individual in the history of charitable giving. The four U.S. territories share Mrs. Kroc’s gift.

Following an open application phase, the Western Territory’s Kroc committee selected eight proposals to move into a development phase. From those eight, the six sites announced today were deemed most likely to: 1) advance The Salvation Army’s mission; 2) implement Mrs. Kroc’s vision; 3) enhance undererved communities; 4) cost effectively develop high quality Kroc Centers; and 5) provide the best opportunity for long term sustainability.

“Each of the proposals we received represented hundreds of hours of thought and planning on the part of our local Salvation Army personnel and especially their community partners. We want to thank everyone involved in the proposal process for their level of dedication and caring,” said Commissioner Swyers. “And, we want to thank Mrs. Joan Kroc for making it possible for The Salvation Army to reach people of all ages with life enhancing programs and services.”

Mrs. Kroc, who lived in San Diego, presided at the opening ceremony of the first Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, which opened in that city in June 2002. Today, members and friends of all ages enjoy access to the center’s climbing wall, ice arena, aquatic center, gymnasium, performing arts complex, indoor skate park, family enrichment center, Salvation Army corps, day care center, and much more.

Portions of the above were excerpted from
a Western Territory press release by Kathy Lovin.

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