Originally created 08/25/06

Kroc grant must be earned



Success brings its own set of problems. Just ask fund-raisers for the planned Kroc Center.

Like everyone else in our city, they were thrilled when the Salvation Army of Augusta was awarded a $71.6 million grant to help build a multidimensional, $107 million community center downtown near the Augusta Canal. The grant was part of the $1.5 billion donated to the national Salvation Army by the late Joan Kroc, the McDonald's restaurant heiress.

The problem for the fund-raisers is that many potential donors believe the local Salvation Army is now awash in that $71.6 million, and doesn't need contributions.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The local Salvation Army won't see a dime of that money until the campaign to raise the local share of the cost of the project, $36 million, is well under way.

Moreover, says Derek Dugan, coordinator for the planned Kroc Center, if the local Salvation Army isn't fiscally solvent, it won't ever receive the grant. National Salvation Army headquarters won't award money like that to a local branch that can't stay financially afloat.

This is where the cutback in donations already is having a negative impact. "We are facing almost a crisis mode on the shortfall right now," says Dugan.

Indeed, it's important to understand that not only does the Salvation Army of Augusta not yet have the $71 million Kroc grant, there's still a lot of fund-raising work to be done if it's to receive it. It would be a cruel irony if this generous grant is lost because the public mistakenly thinks it's already in hand.