Donors and volunteers are the lifeline of all nonprofit organizations. The late Joan Kroc was a local San Diego philanthropist whose support has made a profound and lasting difference in the community. Over the past 10 years, Samahan Philippine Dance Company and the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble have held a yearly showcase at the Joan Kroc Theatre. This particular advertisement is made up entirely of performances at Joan Kroc.
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 $87 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 $1.8 billion to The Salvation Army to build centers like this across the country. Today, there are 27 in different stages of development.
Several institutions in the San Diego area are named after her, including the think tank Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego, the St. Vincent de Paul Joan Kroc Center for the Homeless in downtown and the Kroc-Copley Animal Shelter in the Morena District. America’s leading ‘Peace’ institution is probably the University of Notre Dame’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, established and endowed by Joan herself. Kroc preferred to give donations anonymously, but recipient organizations often insisted on publicizing her gifts, hoping to attract new donors.