Ray Kroc: Model of Community Benevolence

Ray Kroc: Model of Community Benevolence

Kroc Family donations still helping families

Although the quality of food has changed drastically since Ray Kroc opened his first McDonalds, the spirit of Ray Kroc is evident in modern restaurants -- particularly through the playgrounds which underscore how much Kroc cared about children and families.

It would have been so easy for Kroc to fixate on simply being rich, but he was fixated on how to please families  -- both inside McDonalds during dining and in their communities when they went home.

Kroc's establishment of The Ray Kroc Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House foundation (which later became the Ronald McDonald House Charities after his death) showed that the business genius was as interested in making sure families had housing and medical care as he was in giving them a quality cheeseburger at an inexpensive cost.

Today, it seems like most business owners only think about what they can get from customers, not what they can give.

I thought about Kroc's caring persona when I read this week that a Kroc Community Center was set to open in South Bend soon.  It's a recreation center that will allow Indiana families in nearby economically repressed areas to have someplace to swim, play basketball, rock climb or challenge peers in chess. Ray Kroc and wife Joan, both deceased, left behind funding for multiple centers all across the U.S.

What a marvelous legacy these centers will be.

Today's entrepreneurs could learn a lot about the benevolence principle from Kroc, who once said "none of us is as good as all of us."

Of course, Kroc was likely speaking of a crew on the assembly line at McDonalds when he uttered this, but he practiced the same "all of us" philosophy through his humanitarian efforts.

It's no secret that the inexpensive meals cooked by workers at McDonalds over the decades provided cheap dinners and lunches for families in poor areas.  So, it's quite appropriate that Kroc's financial bequests are still boosting the quality of life in poor neighborhoods today.