Kroc Center reaches fundraising goal

A pair of gifts totaling $4 million pushed the Salvation Army Kroc Center’s fundraising drive past its goal today and qualified the project for $67.8 million from the estate of McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc.


“We can claim victory for our campaign,” said Wyck Knox, a member of the fundraising cabinet for the project, which – including a permanent operating endowment – will represent a $97.8 million investment.

The gifts announced today include $2 million from the Woodruff Foundation and $2 million from a donor whom Mr. Knox characterized as “a special friend of the Salvation Army of Augusta” who has chosen to remain anonymous.

The committee, chaired by banker-philanthropist Boone Knox, launched an aggressive campaign earlier this year to raise $20 million to qualify the project for the larger sum from the Kroc trustees.

With today’s gifts, the campaign total now comes to $22,073,953.

Salvation Army officials and others thanked Mr. Knox today with the announcement that the Kroc Center’s tower – the project’s signature architectural feature - will be named in his honor.

“We knew it would take just the right person to make this a success,” said Salvation Army Capt. Todd Mason. “Boone Knox has supported many campaigns but this is the first one he decided to chair.”

Boone Knox’s leadership, he added, helped make it possible to complete the fundraising campaign six months ahead of schedule, despite a downturn in the economy.

Augusta’s 85,000-square-foot Kroc Center will include an aquatics center, classrooms, a 400-seat theater, a 270-seat banquet hall with a stage up front for a dinner theater, rehearsal areas and many other features.

One of the project’s unique amenities, which is being used as a model for Kroc Centers in other cities, will be a “First Stop Center” in a separate building from the main complex, where as many as 20 organizations will help assess and steer families to programs that can help them.

During a luncheon today, Salvation Army Georgia Divisional Commander Maj. William Mockabee thanked dozens of volunteers, fundraising committee members and staffers who helped make the effort a success.

“We will be worthy of the trust you have placed in us,” he said. “We will guard it with every fiber of our being.”

Organizers have screened six firms that might eventually be involved in building the complex that will occupy 17 acres in the Chafee Park area of Harrisburg. Groundreaking could occur early next year, possibly in February.



Total investment (including permanent operating endowment): $97.8 million

Location: 17 acres in Harrisburg’s Chafee Park area.

Employment: approximately 102, including full and part time

Project size: about 85,000 square feet in multiple buildings

Aquatics center: 9,000 square feet with external slide tower

“First Stop” center: offices for more than 20 family-service groups.

Arts/Education/Worship Center: 400-seat theater, 270-seat banquet hall.

Green space: about seven acres of Chafee Park along Augusta Canal


• The Ray & Joan Kroc estate is providing $33.9 million for land acquisition and construction costs and $33.9 million for a permanent operating endowment, for a total gift of $67.8 million.

• To qualify for that gift, Augusta’s project needed to raise $30 million locally, which included a $10 million credit given by the foundation to the local Salvation Army for its existing programs and facilities.

• Two gifts announced today - $2 million from the Woodruff Foundation and $2 million from a donor who requested anonymity – helped the campaign more than meet its goal, clearing the way for a formal groundbreaking soon.



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