The New England Patriots Foundation and team owner, Robert Kraft awarded $100,000 in grants to non-profit organizations in the Boston area and beyond during the pre-game ceremonies for the Patriots’ January 1st game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium outside of Boston.
The grants were the final step this season in the Patriots’ ongoing “Patriots Difference Maker of the Week” initiative that recognizes “deserving volunteers who go above and beyond to help build stronger New England communities”. A volunteer, and their organization, was chosen each week during the Patriots 2022/2023 season.
About the Difference Maker Grants
Each weekly Patriots Difference Maker will get a $5,000 grant to support the nonprofit organizations they volunteer for. Says Kraft of the grants, “It is hard to measure or fully appreciate the positive impact that these volunteers regularly make in their communities. We have been celebrating volunteerism for many decades and will continue to use our platform to promote their work in hopes of inspiring others to do the same.”
Some of the grant winners for this season include The Carroll Center for the Blind, Augusta Food Bank, the Special Education Legal Bank and LEAP for Education.
Difference Maker of the Year
In addition to the weekly awards, a $20,000 grant was awarded to the AYJ Fund, in honor of the 2022 Patriots Difference Maker of the Year, Kathy Arabia. Arabia and her husband established the AYJ Fund in 2012 in honor of their daughter, Anna, who died of a brain tumor at age 16. The AYJ Fund helps to raise money for brain cancer research, particularly for the type of cancer that affected Anna. When Anna became ill, there was no research being done on her type of cancer.
Says Arabia about the grant, “I am so grateful and honored that our work to support children with cancer through the AYJ Fund is being celebrated by the New England Patriots Foundation. Eleven years ago, three rookie Patriots players visited our daughter Anna at Boston Children’s Hospital and brought joy and smiles to her hospital room. It feels like a full circle moment.”
About Robert Kraft
Robert Kraft is the founder, chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, a private business group that does business in 90 countries. His holdings include the New England Patriots, as well as the New England Revolution major league soccer team, Gillette Stadium in Boston and a full portfolio of real estate, financial services companies and manufacturing companies.
A native of the Boston suburb of Brookline, Kraft attended public schools before earning an academic scholarship to Columbia University and graduating with a degree in business. He completed his college education with an MBA from Harvard Business School made possible by a fellowship.
One of Kraft’s first ventures was founded International Forest Products (IFP) in 1972. This company became the platform upon which Kraft built his business empire. Kraft has owned the New England Patriots NFL franchise since 1994.
Kraft continues to live in the greater Boston area. A widower, Kraft has four grown sons, two of whom work in the family businesses.
Giving back to the community is important to Kraft and his family in more ways than with the Difference Makers initiative. Kraft and his sons have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Boston area charities via the Kraft Family Foundation. For these efforts, Kraft received “Time” magazine’s Genesis Award in 2019.
Among his other responsibilities, Kraft is a Trustee Emeritus of Columbia University and is a trustee of Boston College, Carnegie Hall and the Apollo Theater.
Learn more about Robert Kraft on https://www.britannica.com/biography/Robert-Kraft