15 years ago today, the widow of McDonald’s franchise founder Ray Kroc, bequeathed $1.5 billion to the Salvation Army. It was the largest charitable gift in US history. Mrs. Kroc instructed that the money be spent on the construction of new community centers to provide cultural, artistic, educational, athletic, and social programs in neighborhoods that would otherwise go without.

Today, twenty-six “Kroc Corps Centers” operate in formerly underserved communities across the US and Puerto Rico with nearly 800 full time and 2,200 part-time staff serving kids and their families. (2004)

Learn more in the book Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away.

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • The English parliament met for the first time in the Palace of Westminster, now the Houses of Parliament (1265)
  • American Civil Liberties Union was founded (1920)
  • Capitol Records released their first album by The Beatles in the U.S. and called it Meet The Beatles!, which featured “I Want to Hold Your Hand” that topped the charts for 11 weeks (1964)
  • Barack Obama became the first multi-racial president of the U.S., taking the oath of office before millions of hopeful citizens in Washington, DC. (2009)

And, Happy 63rd Birthday to Bill Maher, comedian and host of “Real Time” on HBO, formerly “Politically Incorrect”. (1956)

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