The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center is a 20-acre worship, education, recreation and cultural arts facility. Made possible by a substantial gift from the late philanthropist Mrs. Joan Kroc, as well as the generous support of individuals, organizations and families throughout West Michigan, the Center provides a variety of programs for individuals of all ages. The community center is open to all West Michigan families.
THE SALVATION ARMY MISSION STATEMENT
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by love for God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
THE KROC CENTER MISSION STATEMENT
Sharing the love of Jesus Christ by providing life-changing spiritual, educational and wellness experiences.
“I want you to believe that a life of
If you’ve ever eaten at a McDonald’s restaurant, you were indirectly supporting a number of charities like The Salvation Army, the Ronald McDonald House and St. Vincent de Paul. That’s because McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc and his wife, Joan, were generous philanthropists.
After Ray passed away in 1984, Joan carried forth the tradition, often being called “St. Joan of the Arches.” Yet many of her contributions went unnoticed during her lifetime because Joan often requested that her name not be revealed to the organizations she supported.
However, her affinity for The Salvation Army was no secret. In 1998, Joan announced that she was donating $80 million for the building of the first Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, to be located in a beleaguered city neighborhood in San Diego. Her vision was to create a place where all people, regardless of social status, had access to a world-class recreational, educational and cultural arts facility.
At the San Diego Kroc Center’s grand opening celebration in June 2002, she expressed her desire that “tens of thousands of children” would be able to enjoy the facility in the coming years. Speaking directly to the youth in the audience, Joan expressed the hope that their hearts would never become hardened by intolerance. “You’re what the world is banking on,” she concluded.
As of her death in 2003, more than 3 million people had visited the San Diego Kroc Center, far exceeding Joan’s hopes. And now more children than Joan could have ever envisioned will have opportunities they might never have had. Thanks to Joan’s $1.5 billion donation to The Salvation Army, Kroc Centers are being built across the nation — including one right here in Grand Rapids!