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The Kroc Center Story

The Kroc Centers started with one woman’s dream:

Meet Joan Kroc, Philanthropist & Kroc Center Benefactor

“We can help bring our city together by declaring our love to all of its children and showing them the faith we have in their future.”
Joan Kroc

Joan Kroc’s Story

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 there that she left $1.5 billion to The Salvation Army to build centers like it across the country. Today, there are 26 Kroc Centers nationwide, including the one in Grand Rapids.

About The Grand Rapids Kroc Center

The 105,000 square-foot Grand Rapids Kroc Center is all about changing lives together. This place of gathering, growth, and enrichment houses an array of education, sports, faith, and arts programs. The programs, as well as the building itself, have been designed to stimulate the mind, body and spirit, to provide hope, and to transform the life of each and every member of the community.

The Kroc Center is comprised of several major components: a worship center and special event space, an aquatics center, a fitness and recreation center, a gymnasium, and an outdoor campus.

Development of The Kroc Center was made possible by a combined capital and endowment grant from a bequest to The Salvation Army by the late Mrs. Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. As a condition to the significant Kroc grant, the community also raised $15 million locally.

Groundbreaking for the Grand Rapids Kroc Center occurred on October, and the facility opened on November 1, 2010.

A 2015 study found the value of economic impact of the construction of the Kroc Center was approximately $52 million, and that the annual operation of the Kroc provided $8 million of economic value to the Grand Rapids area. Read the full “Kroc Halo Report.”