During the halftime ceremony, Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft announced grants of $1,000 to 15 nonprofits in the name of each of the “Patriots Difference Makers of the Week” selected throughout the season. The Grand Prize winner was also announced. The winner received a $10,000 grant made to their nonprofit in their name. Kraft and additional Patriots representatives were on hand for a check presentation during the ceremony.
“These Patriots Difference Makers are outstanding examples of making a difference through volunteerism,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “These volunteers rarely receive recognition and we are glad to honor them at this Sunday’s game. We thank them for their selfless service and positive impact in their communities.”
Each week throughout the season, the Foundation focused on different volunteer areas, such as education, mentoring and military. As part of each week’s focus, the Foundation announced the “Patriots Difference Maker of the Week” award, which aimed to recognize one deserving volunteer in the corresponding weekly focus. Each recipient was recognized with an honorary medal and autographed football during a presentation with current and former Patriots players on Patriots Community Tuesdays. Each of the “Patriots Difference Makers of the Week” named throughout the season will be hosted as special guests of the Kraft family and will be recognized in the halftime ceremony this Sunday.
As part of the initiative and Patriots Community Tuesdays, Patriots players made more than 200 appearances in New England communities, participating in activities that included reading books to students, playing games with individuals battling cancer and encouraging children to exercise 60 minutes a day through the NFL PLAY 60 campaign.
Through the Patriots Women’s Association, Patriots families also joined the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative by participating in book, coat, food and toy drives at the gates of Gillette Stadium. They also joined more than 20 current and former Patriots players to distribute 220 complete Thanksgiving meals to families in need, prepared for the annual Children’s Holiday Party for 250 children and served lunch to women in homeless shelter programs in Boston.
Additional Celebrate Volunteerism activities included the opportunity for fans to pledge volunteer hours and submit photos of their own “Patriots Difference Maker” certificates. Patriots’ fans from around the world joined the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative by pledging thousands of volunteer hours to better their local communities.
The Kraft family and Patriots Charitable Foundation will continue to celebrate volunteerism during the post-season, offseason and seasons to come. The Celebrate Volunteerism initiative aims to share examples of dedicated volunteers, build awareness of the need for volunteering, identify and educate others about volunteer opportunities and inspire New Englanders to follow Myra Kraft’s example of becoming a lifelong volunteer.
For more information about the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, including resources and information about volunteering, the “Patriots Difference Maker” award, and to join the Celebrate Volunteerism movement by pledging volunteer hours, visit www.patriots.com/community.
|Week||Volunteerism Weekly Focus||Organization||Patriots Difference Maker||Hometown|
|9/9||Service Projects Volunteerism||Community Builders||Xavier Robles||Worcester, Mass.|
|9/16||Education Volunteerism||uAspire||Jeanne Foster||Springfield, Mass.|
|9/23||Public Service Volunteerism||Walpole Medical Reserve Corps||Kathi Garvin||Walpole, Mass.|
|9/30||Youth Sports Volunteerism||Special Olympics Mass.||Jim Church||North Easton, Mass.|
|10/7||Healthcare Volunteerism||American Cancer Society||Dr. David Rosenthal||Deadham, Mass.|
|10/14||Environmental Volunteerism||Mass Audubon||Ruth Connaughton||Harwich, Mass.|
|10/21||Global Give Back Volunteerism||Grassroot Soccer||Lucky Mfundisi||Khayelitsha, South Africa|
|10/28||Arts Volunteerism||Museum of Fine Arts||Ali Jafari||Boston, Mass.|
|11/4||Military and Veteran Volunteerism||Operation Christmas Cards||Amanda Sulllivan||Worcester, Mass.|
|11/11||Violence, Drug, Bullying Prevention||Girl's LEAP||Shauna DeLeon||Boston, Mass.|
|11/18||Hunger Awareness Volunteerism||Weymouth Food Pantry||Steve Silva||Weymouth, Mass|
|11/25||Mentoring Awareness Volunteerism||Family Services Inc.||Bob Winskowicz||North Andover, Mass.|
|12/2||Exercise & Healthy Eating Volunteerism||Rockwell Elementary School||JoAnne Waite||Bristol, RI|
|12/9||Homelessness Awareness Volunteerism||Pine Street Inn||Michael Ferullo||Chestnut Hill, Mass.|
|12/16||Holiday Giving Awareness Volunteerism||Rockingham Meals on Wheels||Renee Estey||Hampton, NH|
|12/23||Senior Advocate Volunteerism||Springwell||Joan DeFinis||Wellesley, Mass.|
ABOUT CELEBRATE VOLUNTEERISM
The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation is the 501(c)(3) non-profit entity created by the Kraft family to support charitable and philanthropic agencies throughout New England. This support comes in the form of direct grants and the donation of signed memorabilia to a variety of charitable causes, and from Patriots players who offer their direct support by appearing at charity functions throughout the year. The Foundation’s primary goal is to support programs that aid the youth and families of New England while underscoring the Kraft family’s deep commitment to philanthropic activities in the community. Over the past 19 years, the Foundation has made millions of dollars in donations to thousands of nonprofit organizations throughout New England and has partnered with numerous community groups, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, the United Way and a host of other New England charities. The Foundation actively supports nonprofit groups focusing on health, education, youth fitness and community enrichment while also implementing its own programs in those areas of focus. In seasons to come, the Foundation’s Celebrate Volunteerism initiative aims to recognize deserving volunteers and inspire others to follow Myra Kraft's example of becoming a lifelong volunteer. For more information about Celebrate Volunteerism visit www.patriots.com/community.