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Kroc Estate Gives $1.5B To Salvation Army

The estate of McDonald's heir Joan Kroc earmarks the bulk of her huge estate to build community recreation centers around the country.
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The Salvation Army is receiving a donation likely to exceed $1.5 billion from the estate of Joan B. Kroc, the late widow of the founder of McDonald's Corp., the charity announced Tuesday.

The statement said trustees of the estate have estimated that the gift could be in excess of $1.5 billion. The exact amount will not be known until administration of Mrs. Kroc's estate is complete.

The gift was for development of community centers across the country, similar to the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center that opened in San Diego in June 2002.

"We are obviously thrilled, but genuinely humbled by the exceptional generosity of Joan Kroc," W. Todd Bassett, national commander of The Salvation Army said in a statement issued in advance of a news conference scheduled to discuss the donation.

"We recognize the deep sense of trust she has placed into our hands with this gift," he said. "Mrs. Kroc was a wonderful friend of The Salvation Army and we miss her. Her passion for children and families, and her hope for community peace will live on forever through this incredible gift."

Mrs. Kroc died on October 12, 2003, and the Salvation Army is among several organizations that have received bequests from her estate. Prior to Tuesday's announcement, the largest single grant had been $200 million to National Public Radio. Other bequests include $50 million apiece to peace institutes at the universities of Notre Dame and San Diego that bear her name, $20 million to San Diego Hospice and $10 million to the San Diego Opera.

Bassett said the donation to his organization specifies that half the money be placed in an endowment with the earnings used as income to partially support operation of the centers.

The other half is for construction of the new centers.

None of the gift is to be used for existing programs, services or administrative costs, he said.

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