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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Why did Joan Kroc give away millions?

Most of us know the story of Ray Kroc. Salesman from the Midwest who took (some would say stole) a good idea about how to prepare and serve fast food (particularly burgers, fries and soft drinks) and made it into a thriving international business called McDonald's.

Some of us even know of Joan Kroc, Kroc's third wife and the woman who — after Kroc died in 1984 — earned headlines for her philanthropy. Of course, Joan Kroc had been a generous giver before her husband's death. But until she died in 2003 at the age of 75, Kroc herself continued to support what she considered to be worthy causes.

You can go online and see what some of those causes were: everything from nuclear disarmament to homelessness. You can also see estimates of the billion or so dollars that she gave away.

Or you can go and listen to a talk by Lisa Napoli, author of the book "Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away." Napoli will present her book at 7 tonight at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, in the Spokane Valley.

Click here to read an interview that Napoli gave to National Public Radio.

Napoli's appearance tonight will be presented by the Spokane County Library and is sponsored by the Friends of the Spokane County Library District and the Pacific Northwest Library Association. Auntie's Bookstore will provide copies of Napoli's books for purchase.

You'll have to provide your own hamburgers.