Since establishing the Patriots Foundation in 1994, the Kraft family and current and former Patriots players, coaches and their families have donated millions of hours to giving back to their communities. As part of their commitment to giving back to the community, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation have always had a deep appreciation for community volunteers. In 2011, the Patriots Foundation established the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative to educate people about the need for volunteering, increase awareness for volunteer opportunities, honor deserving volunteers and encourage others to follow the Kraft family's example of being lifelong volunteers.
PATRIOTS DIFFERENCE MAKERS
When the Patriots Foundation established their Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, they also created the "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week" award, which recognizes deserving volunteers who go above and beyond to give back to their community. Since 2011, a volunteer has been recognized each week during the regular season for their commitment to a New England-based nonprofit organization. At the conclusion of each season, all of the honorees are invited to the Patriots final regular season home game to participate in a special in-game celebration.
The late Myra Kraft established the Community Quarterbacks Award in 1998 to recognize outstanding community volunteers and to present grants to their respective charities. In 2011, the Kraft family and Patriots Foundation announced the renaming of the award to the Myra Kraft Community MVP Award, in honor of Myra's life-long commitment to volunteering. Each year, Myra Kraft Community MVP Award winners are recognized for their leadership, dedication and a commitment to bettering their communities during a luncheon at Gillette Stadium. Since its inception, the Kraft family and the Patriots Foundation have recognized more than 350 volunteers and presented more than $3 million in grants to the charities for which they volunteer. The nomination period for 2020 has ended.
Back in 2011, Robert Kraft teamed with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to create Project 351, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization that promotes unity and leadership through the yearlong engagement of eighth grade student ambassadors from every city and town in Massachusetts. Throughout the school-year, the students work on a variety of community service projects, learning valuable leadership skills along the way. At the end of the school year, the Patriots Foundation hosts a Leadership Reunion at Gillette Stadium with current and former Project 351 ambassadors to promote the importance of community service, education and leadership.
Since 2003, the Kraft family and the Patriots Foundation have celebrated Patriots players that go above and beyond to give back. The Ron Burton Community Service Award is presented annually to a Patriots player in recognition of his many contributions in the community. The award is named after Ron Burton, the first player drafted in franchise history, who left a lasting legacy by dedicating his life to helping others. At the 2020 Patriots Premiere, center David Andrews was awarded the prestigious New England Patriots Ron Burton Community Service Award. Since arriving in New England, David has epitomized leadership both on and off the field. Whether it's visiting patients at local hospitals, offering support to veterans, leading a football skills clinic, attending one of the foundation's signature holiday events or serving as a leader for the players social justice fund, you can always count on him to volunteer his time in the community.
In honor of the NFL's 100th season, the Patriots and the 31 other teams came together to create "Huddle for 100." The goal of the program was to encourage one million fans to volunteer for 100 minutes in their local communities. The Patriots Foundation hosted dozens of events throughout the year and partnered with hundreds of local nonprofits to promote the importance of volunteering. Through the NFL's Huddle for 100 initiative, more than one million current and former players and fans volunteered more than 397,000,000 minutes in their local communities.
Throughout the 2019 NFL season, the New England Patriots and Crown Royal teamed up to recognize fans who make significant contributions to their communities. At every Patriots home game, one outstanding volunteer received a pair of game tickets and pregame on-field passes. The Patriots and Crown Royal also share the stories of these volunteers with our fans and supporters.
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