There is no better way to honor the legacy of Myra Kraft than the Patriots Foundation's annual Community MVP Awards in her name. People and organization from all over New England are celebrated for their dedicated work to help the lives of those around them. They work tirelessly without seeking recognition.
That passion for doing good is one of the most important ways Myra Kraft is remembered.
On Aug. 11, the Patriots Foundation got back to hosting the Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards in person at Gillette Stadium after going virtual in 2020, and Robert Kraft, Josh Kraft and Andre Tippett were on hand to give out $$275,000 in grants -- 25 recipients of $10,000 and one recipient of $25,000.
The grand prize grant was awarded to Phyllis Ellis for Family and Community Resources in Brockton.
With the big winner being a surprise, Ellis waited patiently for her name to be called for a $10,000 check and personalized football. When they got to the end of the first group, Ellis assumed they simply skipped her name. She wasn't expecting what came next.
"I was there waiting for my football. I'm like, wait a minute. They kept calling people and calling people. When they said I was the grand prize winner, I was speechless," Ellis said. "I'm so grateful Family Community Resources for nominating me, but I enjoy the work I do in the community. I love helping people."
The mission of Family and Community Resources is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for those who have lived through domestic violence, sexual violence, substance abuse and other traumatic events. Ellis said this grant will only help the organization's work to support those who have been abused or gone through domestic violence.
According to a February 2021 study out of UC Davis, domestic violence rates rose during the pandemic due to stay at home orders, isolation, added financial strains and limited access to outside resources.
"Domestic violence is not talked about enough .... I think domestic violence needs to be talked about more, and I think that this award might get [the issue] more attention."
In addition to Ellis, volunteers ranging in ages from 21 to 92 were honored for their work, and Josh Kraft said this is one of the most important things that his family does. He said if his mother were still alive, she and his father would both agree, this event is the closest to their hearts.
"They would say this event today, right here is their number one priority," he said. "It's definitely my dad's, and it was such a great reflection of our mother because she would be on the ground sorting the bags at Cradles to Crayons, packing the food boxes at the Greater Boston Food Bank, serving on boards … [There's] too much to name. We'd be here until next season."
This July marked 10 years since Myra Kraft passed away, but through events like this one, her legacy lives on. That was the goal when Mr. Kraft bought the team, he said on Wednesday afternoon.
"When I bought the Patriots, she was a little upset that I paid so much," Mr. Kraft said. "We paid 50 percent more than I told her I was going to. I told her, 'Look, if we do a good job managing this asset, we will have a bigger impact on the community than if we gave away a million dollars a week' … I know that she's smiling, looking at it, looking at the work that all of you are doing."
For a full list of all 26 recipients, click here.