Joan Kroc, wife of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, said that she took a tour of San Diego and it was then that she recognized a community that was in desperate need of a safe gathering place, a place with facilities and trained professionals to nurture children’s social skills, arts appreciation and athletic potential. She described The Kroc Center as being a beacon of light and hope in the community.
Mrs. Kroc entrusted The Salvation Army with $90 million to build the first Kroc Center in the Rolando neighborhood of San Diego. Sadly, she passed away a little more than a year after it opened. She was so pleased with what was accomplished here that she left $1.5 billion to The Salvation Army to build centers like this across the country. Today, there are 26 Kroc Centers nationwide.