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FRONTLINE: Doing Good

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Raymond Welsh knows a thing or two about fundraising. From 1995 to 2000, the University of Pennsylvania graduate and Haverford resident chaired a campaign for the Penn Health System that raised a record $640 million. So when former Salvation Army national chairman Robert Watson approached Welsh to head a campaign to raise money for a new state-of-the-art community center in troubled North Philadelphia, the 75-year-old jumped at the chance.

The center is one of 30 slated for construction around the country thanks to a $1.5 billion bequest from Joan Kroc, wife of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. It’s slated for completion in September 2009.

A senior vice president at UBS Financial Services in Philadelphia, Welsh believes the Kroc Center will do a world of good in an increasingly desperate area. “The academic programs teach them teamwork and how to lead a disciplined life, which is lacking in so many cases,” says Welsh. “[The center] is essential for seniors, who have no place to go for exercise.”

The 104,000-square-foot facility is situated on 12 acres and will have three swimming pools, a worship room, and drug and alcohol rehab centers. It’s designed to serve young and old alike. Access is free to those who can’t afford membership.

Welsh sees the initial donations as having a contagious effect. “If their friends get enthusiastic, it opens up many doors,” he says.

To learn more about the campaign, visit salvationarmyphiladelphia.org.

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