Salvation Army Challenged to Raise More Funds

( [email protected] ) Mar 08, 2004 09:05 AM EST

The bequest from Joan Kroc doesn’t mean Salvation Army could end with ringing bells next to the red kettle, rather they are given the responsibility to raise greater fund for the coming years.

In January Salvation Army, chosen as one of the top 10 organizations that give donors “more bang for their buck” by Forbes magazine, received $1.5 billion from the widow of Mc Donald’s founder Ray Kroc.

However it turns out that $1.5 billion of Kroc bequest could only be used in building 30 new community centers across the nation with much restriction, which explains that Salvation Army must raise more fund in order to maintain those centers.

Salvation Army expects that they will need to raise about $70 million annually to operate the new centers. In order to prevent the regular donors from having misconception about the fund that Salvation Army wouldn’t be in need of private donation, Salvation Arm is in the process of preparing national awareness campaign, said Theresa Whitfield, national media director for the organization's headquarters in Alexandria, Va.

Salvation Army in San Francisco and Kansas City further explain of their situation.

"We don't want to build anything we can't sustain," said Lt. Col. Bettie Love, CEO of the Salvation Army's San Francisco operations. "We've seen that happen, where an organization will build some terrific facility -- a gym or a pool -- but they don't have the long-range funding and can't keep it open. Then the facility become a health club. We don't want to do that."

Salvation Army in San Francisco which has been operating since 1883, is significant in its history because that’s where the Salvation Army symbol, the red kettle, started. It assists more than 36 million women, men and children each year in programs ranging from drug and alcohol rehabilitation to kids' camps and with Korc’s money, it is planning to run a multi-service youth and community center in the Tenderloin.

"We've had a presence in the Tenderloin for nearly 100 years," said Love. "Over the years, the population and its needs have changed. Today, we know that more than 3,500 children live within a six-block radius of our property (on Turk Street)."

Once the centers are set up, San Francisco army will need to raise $30 million to operate the center. The only downsize is the possible misconception of the donors. "Joan Kroc's gift helps us to dream, to follow up on some of our yearnings, to make perhaps a bigger impact on communities we are already in," said Love. She is only hoping that regular donors don’t get the idea that "their $25 donation isn't significant anymore. "

"It is significant," she said, "because the Salvation Army believes in loaves and fishes. We are committed to holding $25 in as much trust and handling it with as much care as $1.5 billion."

Salvation Army based in Kansas City is challenged with the similar problems.

There is a public misconception that the Kroc bequest is “a solves-all gift,” said Roger Alexander, director of development at the Salvation Army in Kansas City.

“The number one thing the community needs to understand is, those programs are still in dire need of community support,” Alexander said.

As the director explains of the good challenge that the organization will be facing, he said fund raising remains critical for the Salvation Army, including the $6,000 to $7,000 expected to be raised Saturday by selling omelets.

“What the gift represents is a wonderful opportunity and an enormous challenge,” Alexander said. “It's a challenge that the army hasn't had to face. There are more omelets to serve.”