The gala is an annual fundraiser for the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation. Monies raised help fund many worthwhile causes throughout New England. Since its inception in 1994, the Patriots Charitable Foundation has awarded thousands of in-kind donations and grants to regional charities and non-profits, totaling millions of dollars.
The Kickoff Gala also features the announcement of this year’s recipient of the New England Patriots Ron Burton Community Service Award. The award is named in honor of the late Ron Burton, the franchise’s first draft choice in 1960. Since its inception in 2003, the award has been presented annually at the Kickoff Gala to a Patriots player in recognition of his philanthropic endeavors. Joe Andruzzi earned the honor of being the first recipient of the award. Since then, it has been presented to Troy Brown (2004), Matt Light (2005), Jarvis Green (2006), Ty Warren (2007), Larry Izzo (2008), Kevin Faulk (2009)
In 2012, the Kraft family and Foundation will continue the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative that began in 2011. Through this campaign, the Foundation will highlight volunteerism by teaming with numerous nonprofits, educating people about the need for volunteering, increasing awareness for volunteer opportunities and honoring the many deserving volunteers in the New England region.