The little red kettle over-flows!

Salvation Army Gets $1.5 Billion
From the Estate of Kroc Heiress


In one of the largest individual charitable gifts ever, the estate of McDonald’s heiress Joan B. Kroc is about to drop a one-time cash donation of $1.5 billion into the Salvation Army kettle.


The Salvation Army announced the donation Tuesday. Mrs. Kroc, widow of Ray Kroc, the milkshake salesman who founded McDonald’s Corp. in 1955, died of brain cancer in October at the age of 75. Before her death, she specified that the donation be earmarked to build and operate community centers around the country.

The bequest stipulates that half the money go toward construction of 30 to 35 new centers, which would provide recreational and educational facilities to the public. The other half is supposed to go into an endowment, from which the interest will be used to help offset operating costs.

The eclectic parceling out of the Kroc estate, valued at more than $2 billion, began last fall. Until now, the biggest publicized gift was a donation of about $200 million to National Public Radio. Ronald McDonald Houses, the company’s charity geared to helping sick children and their families, received $60 million, and the universities of Notre Dame and San Diego each received $50 million. The estate has already designated the recipients of all its funds and is in the process of distributing them.

The Salvation Army bequest vaults Mrs. Kroc into a select group of philanthropists. Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have made multibillion-dollar donations to their namesake foundation, including a single gift of $5 billion in Microsoft stock in 2000. Media titan Ted Turner pledged $1 billion to fund United Nations’ programs in 1997, and media baron Walter Annenberg donated art valued at $1 billion to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1991.

Source: The Wall Stree Journal