National Study Quantifies Impact of Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers, Underscores Long-term Benefits of Community Investment
The Chicago Kroc Center, open since 2012, creating positive long-term impact
Chicago, IL (May 19, 2015) – Eleven years after Joan Kroc’s historic $1.5 billion bequest to The Salvation Army, 26 Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers – including Chicago Kroc Center– are now open, providing a variety of cultural, educational, fitness and social programs in neighborhoods that historically have lacked them. In a study, The Economic Halo Effect commissioned by The Salvation Army, researchers at Partners for Sacred Places and McClanahan Associates, Inc. quantified the annual positive social and economic impact these centers are creating for and in their communities, totaling $258,178,776 (based on 2014 data).
The Kroc Centers are state-of-the-art venues typically located in underserved communities, where children and families can be exposed to a variety of people, activities and arts that would otherwise be beyond their reach. The Centers enhance quality of life by providing a safe environment with an emphasis on fitness and health, the arts and opportunities to build social connections. The study included 25 centers that had been open for at least six months by the end of 2014.
Researchers looked at six areas:
• Direct spending by the centers to hire full-time and part-time staff, and to buy local goods and services
• Various catalyzing or leveraging economic values for center users including membership subsidies, scholarships, space and in-kind support to individuals and community-serving programs
• The value of people getting and staying healthier
• Magnet effect of induced spending in the local community by center visitors
• The value of day care that allows parents to work
• Outdoor recreation space
The Chicago Kroc Center contributed over $14,560,548 annually (2014) in local value, bringing economic and social vitality to the community. Key highlights from the study concluded that the local center:
• Attracts both regular and out-of-town visitors for routine and special events. These visits have contributed $2,438,591 to the local community, known in the report as the “magnet effect.”
• Contributes to local and regional economies by buying goods and services locally and employing local residents. The Chicago Kroc Center’s direct spending results in a local impact of $5,720,399 and it employs 66 full-time and 84 part-time staff.
• Contributes an estimated value of $2,541,036 in fitness and wellness activities for community members through its fitness center, aquatics center and a wide variety of other sports programs.
• Provides $3,860,522 of combined investment in membership scholarships and subsidies, free day passes, volunteer hours (monetized) and space donations, what the report calls the “safety net” factor.
“The Chicago Kroc Center aims to be a beacon of light for the community by providing programs and activities to help visitors grow in their artistic skills, ignite a passion for their health, mature their spiritual journey and create a safe space for seniors and families to enjoy themselves.” said Major David Harvey. “This study tells us that we are on the right track, and it will help us continue to adapt our programs and services to meet the needs of our community.”
Separately, the study measures the one-time impact of construction-related spending, totaling
$117, 042,217 to build and creating 843 jobs.
The study does not include quantitative measures of impact related to individual counseling that helped keep families together, taught social values and skills, helped people find jobs, and more. While real and effective in their impact, insufficient economic valuation models led the researchers to exclude these activities from the overall total.
“Between the one-time impact of construction and the ongoing impact of operations, we are extremely pleased to confirm that our Kroc Center has already in effect surpassed the our share of this amazing gift and will keep on giving through annual impact in our community,” said Major David Harvey. “We thank our donors, volunteers and community partners for the critical role they play in ensuring that these community benefits continue and grow year after year.”
About the Kroc Centers
In January 2004, The Salvation Army announced that Mrs. Kroc, widow of the McDonald’s franchise founder Ray Kroc, had bequeathed $1.5 billion to be separated equally among the organization’s four U.S. territories. The gift remains the largest individual philanthropic bequest ever made in the United States. Mrs. Kroc specifically directed The Salvation Army to use part of the money for endowments to help support the centers she envisioned across the United States, similar to the first Kroc Center she helped build in her hometown of San Diego with a gift of $90 million. That center continues to thrive, 13 years after its opening in a neighborhood that serves more than two dozen distinct ethnic groups.
About The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division
The Salvation Army has been serving Chicagoland for 130 years, making it one of the oldest nonprofit organizations in the city. The Salvation Army is also one of the largest direct providers of social services locally. The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination across the United States and the world. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, clothing, shelter to the homeless and educational opportunities for underprivileged children. For more information, go to www.salarmychicago.org.