The Salvation Army accepted a $50 million donation Monday, in one of the largest charitable gifts ever given to the organization for San Diego's homeless.
During a private ceremony, Ernest and Evelyn Rady announced a $50 million lead gift, as part of an $80 million capital campaign designed to transition homeless into homes. Officials said the Salvation Army still needs to raise an additional $30 million to complete the campaign.
"We have great confidence in this organization, so we are happy to put our resources in their hands, and we look forward to a successful conclusion," said Ernest Rady, in a statement. "I'm really proud of what we're doing."
Salvation Army officials said this donation is going on record as one of the biggest charitable gifts ever donated on behalf of the homeless. It's also the third largest donation in the organization's 153-year history.
Amid a homelessness crisis, San Diego County has the fourth largest homeless population nationwide, according to the Salvation Army.
Once the new facilities are built over the course of several years, they will provide shelter for hundreds of the city's homeless. The donation will support The Salvation Army Rady Center in downtown San Diego and The Salvation Army Rady Residence at the Door of Hope Campus in Kearny Mesa.
The Rady Residence at Door of Hope will include 32 apartments for families and single women. Officials say this marks the first time the Door of Hope will be able to house two-parent families. The project is expected to break ground in the Summer of 2019 and open in Fall 2020.
The Rady Center at Centre City Corps Community Center in downtown will serve single men. According to the organization, this facility will only be completed once they reach the full $80 million goal.
"The Salvation Army is deeply moved and inspired by Mr. and Mrs. Rady's generosity and caring. Our vision for helping the homeless better their lives and find homes will now become a reality for our community," said Major George Baker, Salvation Army Divisional Commander, in a statement. "The centers will serve as a new standard for effective programs and housing for homeless across the United States."
Consulting firm Allegis Development Services and architect M. W. Steele Group will help the organization develop the property.
Civic and business leaders joined Salvation Army staff and volunteers to listen to the Rady's announcement at the project site.