by Matt Schmidt
Patty Douglas was key to a Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center being established in Quincy, Ill. When the announcement was made in 2004 that Joan Kroc had left $1.5 billion to The Salvation Army to build community centers throughout the country, Patty brought community members and leaders together in her role as development director to determine what a Quincy Kroc Center should offer and assisted with the complicated application. When it was approved, she took on the role of project manager, making some of the decisions about what the building would look like and the programs it would offer.
It was a crowning achievement in a career that spanned 35 years with The Salvation Army. It’s a career Patty never envisioned, but she wanted a job where she felt like she could make a difference, and that’s exactly what she’s done.
She began in 1986 as an administrative assistant at Heartland Divisional Headquarters and eventually became the community relations director in Peoria where she was active in relief during the Flood of 1993. She set up warehouses for donations and moved canteens to where they were needed most.
In 1997 she got a call from Major Herb Fuqua who commanded the Army’s work in Quincy. He was setting up a development department and invited Patty to lead it. One of her first major tasks was to start a capital campaign to build a new $7 million corps community center. When the project failed to get off the ground, Patty and members of the advisory board turned their focus to creating a Hometown Endowment to ensure programs and services long-term. A successful campaign, combined with an unexpected bequest of $5 million, created a fund of $10 million. Little did they know how important that would be in their future application for a Kroc Center.
A few years after the Kroc Center was established, Patty coordinated a capital campaign to build a new emergency shelter across the street. It became the only shelter within a 100-mile radius of Quincy to house men, women and families.
Fundraising was not a career Patty planned, but her genuine personality, honesty and ability to connect with people made her a natural, and at Christmas, nobody did it better. She never once failed to meet a goal during all her years running the Christmas campaign in Quincy. Instead of taking credit, she says it’s the community that comes together to make sure families in need have a special Christmas. In retirement, Patty plans to continue “Doing the Most Good” by volunteering for Family Services.