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.
MYRA KRAFT COMMUNITY MVP AWARDS
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.
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.
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 2022 Patriots Premiere, defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. was awarded the prestigious New England Patriots Ron Burton Community Service Award. After being drafted by the Patriots in 2017, Deatrich immediately sought out the Patriots community relations department. Beyond looking to make an impact on the field, he wanted to do the same off the field. Since his rookie season, Deatrich has participated in more than 40 Patriots Foundation events with causes ranging from education, fitness, holiday giving, youth character development and visiting children and veterans at hospitals - to name a few.
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