Boston Kroc Corps Community Center, open since 2011, creating positive, long-term impact
(DORCHESTER, June 2, 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 The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center of Boston – are now open, providing a variety of cultural, educational, fitness and social programs in neighborhoods that historically have lacked them. In a study 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
Located on Dudley Street near Uphams Corner in Dorchester, the Boston Kroc Corps Community Center is the largest health, fitness, and community center of its kind in New England. The 90,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art center, features cutting-edge fitness facilities, Boston’s largest indoor aquatics park; a gymnasium with an NCAA-regulation-size basketball court; specialized fitness and recreational programming.
The annual economic benefit, according to today’s report, totals $7,752,164 including direct spending, safety net development and totals related to fitness and the magnet effect of visitor induced spending in the community. This indicates that the Boston area philanthropic investment of $12.3 million has already been realized back in local economic impact more than two times over.
“From the beginning, we have concentrated on ensuring that the Boston Kroc Corps Community Center is a beacon of hope and an agent of change, for young children who come after school, to unemployed and underemployed adults who build culinary skills and get job placements to entire families increasing their wellness in our fitness, recreation and aquatic programs” said Major Steven Lopes, Kroc Center Administrator. “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 $92,742,641 to build and creating 652 jobs. Through strong local partnerships with Suffolk Construction and the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, an unprecedented amount of local workers and Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises participated in the construction of the center.
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 our share of this amazing gift and will keep on giving through annual impact in our community,” said Major Lopes. “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.”
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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.
Today, 26 Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers operate in communities across the United States and Puerto Rico. For more information on the Boston Kroc Center, visit boston.salarmykroc.org. Click the links for the national report is available and the local report.