Joan Kroc was the widow of the founder of the McDonald's Corporation. When she died, she left money to the Salvation Army to build nearly 30 community centers across the country, including Dayton. More than five years later, though, many of them have yet to be built. This week, the New York Times reported that only four of the Salvation Army community centers are complete. Many others are unfinished or haven't yet started construction, and they're finding it difficult to complete their financing. Joan Kroc left 1.8 billion dollars to the Salvation, But the state of the U.S. economy has reduced the amount of money available.
The center planned for Dayton, however, is doing better than most. Tom Duperree is the administrator for the Kroc Center in Dayton.
"If anybody were to pass by on 75, they can see the building is in place and the bricks are on the outside. We're excited to report that things are right on schedule despite some early setbacks," says Duperree.
The setbacks, he says, were more about environmental issues and not money. They found a contaminant on the site, which they've since been able to address. There was a delay, but the center will open next May.
Dupereree believes that the success of the project has to do with the local Salvation Army's fund raising campaign that began in 2006.
"While I can't speak for other communities and their fund raising efforts, I will say that we consider ourselves fortunate that we conducted what was a very speedy campaign and I think that's what, in part, was what enabled us to push forward with our project," says Duperree.
Their local campaign raised 7 million dollars. That's added to the 66 million dollars from Joan Kroc. Half of that money went to construction. The other half goes to an endowment fund to sustain the project down the road. The state's other Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center in Ashland, Ohio is doing even better. It's already built and open to the public.