Twenty-six volunteers from across New England were honored as Myra Kraft Community MVPs in a ceremony at Gillette Stadium on June 12. Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, Patriots Charitable Foundation President Josh Kraft, Pro Football Hall of Famer and Patriots Executive Director or Community Affairs Andre Tippett, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, kicker Stephen Gostkowski, punter Zoltan Mesko and defensive linemen Vince Wilfork were all on hand to congratulate the winners, who were collectively awarded $200,000 in grants for their charities.
The Kraft family and New England Patriots Charitable Foundation's Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards place a spotlight on those who give their time to help others and exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving their communities through volunteerism. Annually, the Kraft family and New England Patriots Charitable Foundation host the awards program as part of the ongoing Celebrate Volunteerism initiative in honor Myra Kraft's example of being a lifelong volunteer. The 2013 MVPs represent all six New England states, a variety of nonprofit organizations and range from 15-92 years old.
"Volunteers are the unsung heroes of our communities," said Robert Kraft. "Unfortunately, they often go unrecognized for their contributions. These awards give us a chance to thank and recognize them. What I love most about this event is the touching stories and the opportunity to show a small token of our appreciation to these outstanding individuals."
The Patriots Charitable Foundation treated the MVPs and their guests to a luncheon prior to the ceremony which also featured displays about Myra Kraft, the history of the awards and past winners. Fifteen New England based organizations were presented with a $5,000 grant in honor of their volunteers' work with 10 more receiving grants of $10,000 and one grand prize winner of $25,000. In 2013, the Kraft family doubled the grant amounts to $200,000 as part of the Patriots Marathon Team record-breaking fundraising in support of the program.
Joe Markarian, a volunteer at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass., was the grand prize winner, earning $25,000 for the association.
"Perkins has done more for me than I have ever done for them," said Markarian. "Volunteering in the Assistive Device Center has given me the opportunity to feel like I have contributed to something important during my retirement years. I feel really honored and surprised by this recognition."
|$25,000 Grand Prize Winner
|Perkins School for the Blind
$10,000 Second Prize Winner
|Amy St. Laurent Foundation
|New Milford, Conn.
|Voice for Joanie, Inc.
|New Milford, Conn.
|Harbor Homes, Inc.
|VA Medical Center
|San Miguel School
|Endure to Cure Pediatric Cancer Foundation
|Helping Hands North, Inc.
|Earthen Vessels, Inc.
|Rhode Island Free Clinic
$5,000 Third Prize Winners
|Doll E. Daze Project & Museum, Inc.
|Operation Stand Down Rhode Island
|The Dream Program, Inc.
|The Professional Center for Child Development
|South Boston, Mass.
|Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries
|Sacred Heart University
|Melanoma Education Foundation
|Sturdy Memorial Hospital
|Gotta Have Sole Foundation, Inc.
|New England Handicapped Sports Association
|East Windsor, Conn.
|Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters
|Turning Around Ministries
|Friends of the Bristol Animal Shelter