Q: What is The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center (The Salvation Army Kroc Center) in Greenville, SC?
A: The Salvation Army Kroc Center is a membership based facility that includes The Salvation Army church (Corps), a conference center, performing arts theater, fitness center, gynasium, tennis complex, cafe’, Boys and Girls Club, aquatics center, outdoor play areas and a rock climbing wall. This facility aims to provide positive life changing opportunities for the Greenville Community while spreading the love of God.
Q: Where is The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center located?
A: The physical address is 424 Westfield St, Greenville, SC, 29601. The Kroc Center and Westfield St. are located on the right as you travel South on Academy St. away from the Bilo Center and Downtown Greenville. The Kroc Center campus is adjacent to the Reedy River and Swamp Rabbit Trail and sits next to AJ Whittenberg Elementary School and Tabernacle Baptist Church. The Kroc Center Tennis Complex is located across the river and the trail at 205 Gibbs St.
Q: How can I become a member of the Kroc Center?
A: A variety of membership plans available for individuals or households. Membership applications can be downloaded from our webpage. All applications and initial payments must be processed in person with membership services at the center.
Q: Do I have to be a member to access the facility and programs?
A: Day passes can be purchased to visit the facility and participate in activities as desired. Please visit the Membership page of our website or call 864-527-5948 for more details. Day pass users must present a photo ID during their visit. Guest under 18 years of age must have their day pass application completed by their parent or legal guardian.
Q: At what age can my child come to the Kroc Center alone?
A: Members and guest must be 12 and over to access the Kroc Center without a parent or guardian. Guest under 18 years of age must have their day pass application completed by their parent or legal guardian.
Q: Who are Ray & Joan Kroc? What does “Kroc” mean?
A: Raymond Albert “Ray” Kroc was a businessman who took over the small-scale McDonald’s Corporation franchise in 1954 and built it into the most successful fast food operation in the world. His parents were of Czech origin and the Kroc surname was more than likely shortened from a longer version. Kroc was included in Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century and amassed a $500 million fortune during his lifetime. He was also the owner of the San Diego Padres baseball team starting in 1974. Kroc created a new kind of fast food with McDonald’s, implementing Henry Ford’s assembly line idea into his restaurants. He also utilized standardization, a business tactic that he used to make sure that every Big Mac would taste the same whether a person is in New York or Tokyo. He started the Ronald McDonald Foundation.
Ray’s wife, Joan Beverly Kroc, heiress to the Kroc fortune, was also a noted philanthropist. The Joan B. Kroc Foundation donated $18.5 million to the San Diego Hospice Corporation (now known as San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine) in 1985 to create its multi-purpose hospice center. The donation covered the cost of planning, land acquisition (6.5 acres), construction and interior furnishings of the center. In 2002, the San Diego, CA Kroc Center, a large Salvation Army community center that she helped fund—to the tune of $87 million—opened to the public. She later went onto bequest an additional $1.6 billion dollars to open Salvation Army Kroc Centers across the nation, the largest one time gift ever recorded. Several institutions in the San Diego area are named after her, including the think tank Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego, the St. Vincent de Paul Joan Kroc Center for the Homeless in downtown and the Kroc-Copley Animal Shelter in the Morena District. America’s leading ‘Peace’ institution is probably the University of Notre Dame’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, established and endowed by Joan herself. Joan Kroc preferred to give most of her donations anonymously and also supported the Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities and Ronald McDonald Houses.
Q: What’s the history of The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Greenville, SC?
  • 2001 – The Salvation Army in Greenville, SC begins planning to expand The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club into a Corps Community Center in response to a needs-based study. Further studies are conducted and a capital campaign is planned.
  • 2003 – Mrs. Joan Kroc dies leaving $1.6 billion in her will for The Salvation Army to build and partially endow centers modeled after the Kroc Center in San Diego, CA.
  • 2004 – The Kroc gift is accepted by The Salvation Army and distributed to the four territories. The Greenville, SC Corps embraces the “Kroc Center model” and makes application for approval as a Kroc Center site.
  • 2005 – It is announced to the public that Greenville has successfully completed the application for The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. A 17-acre site is purchased, an architect hired, and discussions are held with potential program partners. The Greenville community is called upon for contributions to complete the endowment that permanently funds the future operations of the center (Capital Campaign Quiet Phase). The purchased land is chosen due to its proximity to Downtown Greenville and its potential for the convergence of individuals and families from diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.
    Local businessman Fred Collins announces on December 9, 2005 a $1 million donation to help build The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. Collins lived for several years as a child in The Salvation Army’s orphanage, the Bruner Home for Children, which once stood at the site of the Corps building on Rutherford Street (it was torn down in the late 1950s).
  • 2006 – The Community Foundation of Greenville pledges $500,000 to the project. In October of that year, the Capital Campaign Public Phase or “roll-out” starts with an event at Carolina First Center featuring pianist Emile Pandolfi and over 300 Greenville County residents, business and community leaders, foundation representatives, and donors in attendance.
  • 2007 – Fall of 2007 marked the Victory Celebration (Groundbreaking event) for Greenville reaching the required local endowment match. It is announced to the public that Greenville will receive $52 million for The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. The endowment campaign officially ends.
    A tentative agreement is reached with Greenville County Schools to build the first downtown elementary school in more than 30 years and to locate the school on five acres of Kroc Center land.
    The school is to be named in honor of A.J. Whittenberg, who devoted most of his life to advancing the rights of African-Americans in Greenville County.
  • 2008 – Additional strategic planning, partner negotiations, and pledge redemption efforts continue.
  • 2009 – Additional, contiguous land is secured across the Reedy River from the Kroc Center site for the 16 court tennis facility. The sale of five acres of Kroc Center land to Greenville County Schools land is completed for the building of the new A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School. A local contractor, SYS Constructors, is selected in November to build The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. Construction is to begin in December with summer of 2011 as an estimated completion date.