About Us

The Salvation Army Kroc Center at a Glance

The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center is a 12.4-acre family support, education, recreation, and cultural arts center, made possible by a generous gift by the late philanthropist Mrs. Joan Kroc. The facility is open to members and the general public and serves residents of East San Diego, La Mesa and Lemon Grove with a variety of quality programs for individuals of all ages.





The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.





In keeping with the mission and holistic approach of The Salvation Army, The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center provides opportunities that facilitate positive, life-changing experiences through: art, athletics, personal development, spiritual discovery and community service. The Salvation Army Kroc Center’s facilities, programs and services bridge the gap between potential and opportunity for children and adults, strengthen individuals and families, and enrich the lives of seniors.


Joan Kroc, wife of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, said that she took a tour of San Diego and it was then that she recognized a community that was in desperate need of a safe gathering place, a place with facilities and trained professionals to nurture children’s social skills, arts appreciation and athletic potential. She described the Kroc Center as being a beacon of light and hope in the community.

Mrs. Kroc entrusted The Salvation Army with $90 million to build the first Kroc Center in the Rolando neighborhood of San Diego. Sadly, she passed away a little more than a year after it opened. She was so pleased with what was accomplished here that she left $1.6 billion to The Salvation Army to build centers like this across the country. Today, there are 26 Kroc Centers nationwide.




Praesidium Accreditation™ publicly demonstrates to consumers—and insurance underwriters—that The Salvation Army Kroc Center has achieved the highest industry standards in abuse prevention.

What makes the Kroc Center a special place?

It’s not the Aquatics Center, fitness equipment or even the ice rink. It’s the mission! The Salvation Army is committed to providing access to resources that can transform your life. By offering a diverse spectrum of programs and services, we are setting a foundation to encourage, equip and energize our community. Our programs and services incorporate the Search Institute’s 40 developmental assets to help individuals and families reach their potential and contribute to their schools and communities. Developmental assets lead to a more caring, responsible, healthy and productive lifestyle whereby communities are changed from the inside out. Establishing these assets creates a positive self-view and attracts others to lead a more enriching life.

The Kroc Center is special because it intentionally creates pathways for each person to develop purpose, hope, joy, and connectedness. Come join us!

Click here to learn more about the 40 developmental assets>>


The Salvation Army Kroc Center is located in Rolando at 6845 University Avenue. The location was selected for its accessibility to families and seniors. For more information please call 619.287.KROC (5762)

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Aquatic Center

Recreational and lap swimming, lessons, water exercise, aqua therapy, aquatic sports programs and more fill The Salvation Army Kroc Center’s three heated pools with constant activity. The picturesque outdoor aquatics deck includes a 25-meter competition pool as well as a recreation pool. Adjacent to the gymnasium, there is an enclosed warm water therapy pool. Arthritis foundation aquatics programs and infant swim classes are popular in this 96 degree pool.

Education Center

The Salvation Army Kroc Center is dedicated to offering positive life-changing experiences to children, teens, adults, and seniors. The Education Center provides many of these opportunities with an Internet-based library, visual arts studio, Cox Technology Center, study hall, classrooms, and tutoring rooms. Thanks to the generosity of The Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, the Education Center also hosts FREE Family Literacy Nights in its comprehensive and inviting children’s library.

Family Resource Center

The Family Resource Center (FRC) provides emergency assistance, services and referrals for families and individuals in need in this community. Social Workers are available to meet with clients and to provide services including: emergency food assistance, case management, referrals, assessments, and scholarships. The FRC also hosts educational courses including Parenting, Nutrition and ESL.


A multi-use facility, the 56,000-square-foot building contains a fitness area with weight and cardiovascular exercise equipment, a group exercise class area, and a professional-size basketball court. The gymnasium floor is ideally suited for volleyball, table tennis, gymnastics, and badminton. There is also a large recreation area for foosball, video games and table tennis.

Ice Arena

The Salvation Army Kroc Center is the only NHL regulation sized Ice Arena in Southern San Diego County! The Ice Arena offers public ice skating, learn to skate and learn to play hockey classes. There are also youth and adult hockey leagues.

Recreation Field, Challenge Course and Rock Climbing Wall

Thanks to Kaboom, The Home Depot the NFL, and hundreds of volunteers, The Salvation Army Kroc Center proudly presents its newly renovated recreation field! The 55,000 square-foot field is used year-round by soccer and other outdoor sports leagues. It’s bordered by a challenge course with high and low rope course elements, and a 30-foot rock-climbing tower!

Indoor Skatepark

During the planning phase of The Salvation Army Kroc Center, Joan Kroc asked local children what they wanted to see built on the campus, and she took their recommendations seriously! The Salvation Army Kroc Center Indoor Skatepark was added to the building plans at the request of the Kroc Center youth committee. The Skatepark is filled with several elements to challenge both beginning and advanced skaters, and includes a full half-pipe ramp.

Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center: The state-of-the-art 33,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center consists of the Joan B. Kroc Theatre, dance studio, band and orchestra room, vocal and instrumental practice rooms and a large multipurpose conference room. The Joan B. Kroc Theatre can accommodate Broadway-quality shows with seating for 600, motorized orchestra pit, scenic arts facilities and dressing rooms.

Kroc Church

The Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center includes a church congregation who are motivated by God’s love to demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs through: Boundless Opportunity, Experiential Knowledge, Holistic Growth, Progressive Challenge, Relevant Skill and Meaningful Success.



The late philanthropist Joan Kroc donated $87 million to The Salvation Army in 1998:

$47 million was designated to build and equip the facility and $40 million was placed into an endowment to subsidize the Center’s operating budget.

Over 350 volunteers met for four years to plan the Center’s facilities and programs.

The Center is open to members and the general public. Facility rental, volunteer, and sponsorship opportunities are available.

The Salvation Army Kroc Center opened to the public on June 19, 2002. Special guests for the dedication included Mrs. Joan Kroc, Fred Rogers, star of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, local mayors, and key leadership of The Salvation Army.

Frequently Asked Questions

Name: The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center

Location: The Rolando neighborhood of San Diego, California (East County)

Owner and Facility Management: The Salvation Army– Western Territory

Facility Size: 155,765 square feet of building space on 12.4 acres, or 3 city blocks

Construction Cost: $57 million

Construction Time: September 2000 – June 2002

Construction Company: Roel Construction (www.roel.com)

Architect: Austin Veum Robbins Partners (www.avrp.com)

Annual Operating Budget: $7.9 million

Endowment Allowance: $2.5 million

Revenue Generating Responsibility: $5.4 million

Number of Members: Approximately 5,000

Average Daily Use: More than 2,800

Scholarships Provided: Over 600 families assisted annually

Number of Employees: 280 year-round jobs, with that number increasing to 325 jobs for summer programs

Q: Will there be more Salvation Army Kroc Centers?

A: Joan Kroc left The Salvation Army $1.5 billion for the development of 25-30 Kroc Center’s across the Country. She designed the gift so that communities wishing to pursue building a Kroc Center must raise half of the money needed for the project, to establish an internal community support structure. There are presently 29 Kroc Centers in different stages of development.

All future Salvation Army Kroc Center facilities will be developed through The Salvation Army in individual communities. Each Center will be owned and operated by The Salvation Army. Contact The Salvation Army Territorial Offices for additional information:

National Headquarters: www.salvationarmy.org

Western Territory – www.salvationarmy.usawest.org

Central Territory – www.usc.salvationarmy.org

Southern Territory – www.uss.salvationarmy.org/uss/www_uss.nsf

Eastern Territory – www1.salvationarmy.org/use/www_use.nsf

Q: Why did Mrs. Kroc pick The Salvation Army?

A: Mrs. Kroc and her husband Ray – founder of McDonald’s – were long-time supporters of The Salvation Army. During the 1950’s and 60’s, Ray volunteered as a bell-ringer and used to deliver hot coffee and hamburgers from his Golden Arches restaurant to bell-ringers along Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.

Mrs. Kroc remembered hearing her family talk around the dinner table about how The Salvation Army helped people during the depression and has had a favorable impression ever since. She made her first large gift – in excess of $90 million – several years ago to establish the first Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in San Diego. That Center opened June 2002 to great success and Mrs. Kroc visited often. She felt that the Center exceeded her own expectations and was an ideal vehicle for her vision.



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