FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For the past 25 years, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation have been recognizing volunteers for going above and beyond to give back to their communities through the Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards program. Formerly known as the Community Quarterback Awards, this volunteer recognition was renamed in 2011 in memory of Myra Kraft.
On Thursday, June 8, 26 volunteers were recognized for their contributions at an awards ceremony at Gillette Stadium. In total, $275,000 in donations were distributed to the nonprofits represented by each volunteer. Twenty-five organizations each received $10,000 and the Brian Dagle Foundation received this year's grand prize of $25,000.
"Hundreds of nonprofit organizations annually nominate candidates to be recognized and hearing the heartwarming stories of volunteerism restores faith in all humanity," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "Myra loved volunteering and positively impacting the lives of others. I am proud that we continue to honor her legacy of volunteerism in association with this award ceremony and love giving people who do so much for so many the recognition of being a Community MVP."
Gillette, a longtime supporter of the New England Patriots and a cornerstone partner of the Patriots Foundation, served as the presenting sponsor for this year's program. On hand to congratulate the award winners were President of Kraft Family Philanthropies Josh Kraft; Patriots, College and Pro Football Hall of Famer and Patriots Executive Director of Community Affairs Andre Tippett; and Procter & Gamble's, VP of Grooming, North America, John Claughton.
"Each year we have the privilege of reading hundreds of stories about volunteers who go above and beyond to build stronger New England communities," said Josh Kraft. "This program is incredibly important to my family and we are honored to celebrate these remarkable individuals for their commitment to volunteerism. We are excited to once again partner with our good friends at Gillette for this year's program."
"We are proud to help recognize this incredible group of volunteers and the nonprofit organizations they serve, who all make a meaningful difference in our local community every day," said John Claughton, Vice President, North America Gillette. "Their stories are powerful, and their contributions are immense, and we are thankful that the Kraft Family and the New England Patriots Foundation are giving them this very special award. Our brand has long championed the importance of positive role models and there is no better example than these Myra Kraft Community MVPs."
Ann Dagle of East Lyme, Conn. was selected as this year's $25,000 grand prize winner for her volunteer efforts at the Brian Dagle Foundation.
In November of 2011, Ann lost her 19-year-old son Brian to suicide. The years following his death were a blur. Ann sought out to join a support group, but had to drive two hours to find one that suited her needs. In 2014, to fill the gap of resources in her local community, Ann started the Brian Dagle Foundation.
"During the early weeks and months of grief, I felt so alone, and that no one could possibly understand," said Ann. "Those feelings propel me forward. It's important to me that no one should have to be alone in the depths of their grief. The grief groups can't fix their pain or make them better, but we can provide a safe space and be with others who understand."
The Brian Dagle Foundation has more than 10 support groups with 60 to 80 people attending each one – receiving referrals from area physicians. They also provide education and training on suicide awareness and prevention.
To best serve her community, Ann became a certified suicide prevention counselor, grief counselor, support group facilitator, board member for the Connecticut American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and is a current tri-chair of the Connecticut Suicide Advisory Board. In 2016, Ann left her job to become the executive director full-time, choosing to not take a salary. She continues to step out of her comfort zone, taking part in the efforts to legislate the 988 suicide hotline.
"Brian was always there for others," said Ann. "Now, with the volunteer work I've done and continue to do, I'm carrying on his love for family, friends and community, sharing him with the world. Honestly, this award is for him. He is the reason why I educate and advocate for mental health and suicide awareness. This subject needs to come out of the darkness and into the light and normalize the conversation. It wasn't talked about back then. Maybe if it was, my life would be very different. The volunteer work with the Brian Dagle Foundation, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the CT Suicide Advisory Board have given me precious gifts as well as a powerful sense of meaning and purpose that I never thought was possible again."
The 2023 Myra Kraft Community MVP winners range from 21 to 80 years old and represent every New England state. The selected nonprofits provide support for many causes, including education, domestic violence prevention, healthcare, homelessness, mentoring and military support.
Since its inception, the Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards program has recognized more than 475 volunteers and donated more than $3.5 million to support nonprofit organizations across New England.
The Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation received more than 350 applications this year from nonprofit organizations looking to recognize their outstanding volunteers. Nominations open every February and the awards are open to all nonprofit organizations in the New England region.
For more information on the Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards, please visit www.patriots.com/community.
Below is a complete list of the 2023 Myra Kraft Community MVP Award Winners:
|First and Last Name||Hometown||Organization||Organized Town|
|Tom Baird||Dracut, N.H.||Operation Delta Dog||Hollis, N.H.|
|David Britto||Cranston, R.I.||Lighthouse Community Development Corporation||Providence, R.I.|
|Tim Carey||Jamaica Plain, Mass.||Nativity Preparatory School of Boston||Jamaica Plain, Mass.|
|Daniel Cnossen||Natick, Mass.||One Summit, Inc.||North Andover, Mass.|
|Ann Dagle||Niantic, Conn.||Brian Dagle Foundation||East Lyme, Conn.|
|Amy Doherty||Centerville, Mass.||WellStrong, Inc.||Falmouth, Mass.|
|Coleen Downs Dinneen||Plymouth, Mass||Ellis Early Learning||Boston, Mass.|
|Bobbi Dynice||Marblehead, Mass.||The Diaper Bank of Connecticut, Inc.||North Haven, Conn.|
|Jeff Feingold||Needham, Mass.||Hope & Comfort||Needham, Mass.|
|Susan French||Barnstable, Mass.||Independence House, Inc.||Hyannis, Mass.|
|Tina Gee||Roxbury, Mass.||Ovations for the Cure||Boston, Mass.|
|Elizabeth Hukowicz||Agawam, Mass||Meghan’s Lights||Feeding Hills, Mass.|
|Nick Hungerford||Boston, Mass.||Elizabeth’s Smile||Trumbull, Conn.|
|Cynthia Jones||Mashpee, Mass.||Heroes in Transition||Mashpee, Mass|
|Robert Sam Kelley||Scarborough, Maine||Vet to Vet Maine||Biddeford, Maine|
|Fran Latch||Intervale, N.H.||Starting Point||Conway, N.H.|
|Dr. Justin Maykel||Worcester, Mass.||UMass Memorial Health||Worcester, Mass.|
|Nancy McDonough||Abington, Mass.||Have A Sammi Kinda Day||Abington, Mass.|
|Liz Mead||North Chittenden, VT||Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports||Killington, VT|
|Madison Quinn||Pittsfield, Mass.||Strong Little Souls||Pittsfield, Mass.|
|Tom Richissin||Reading Mass.||National Braille Press||Boston, Mass.|
|Chelsey Simoni||North Attleboro, Mass.||HunterSeven Foundation||Providence, R.I.|
|Peach Warren||Hopedale, Mass.||Community Harvest Project, Inc.||North Grafton, Mass.|
|Kurt Webber||Gilford, N.H.||Patriot Resilience Leader Institute||Gilford, N.H.|
|Toby Whitney||Reading, Mass.||Mission of Deeds Inc.||Reading, Mass.|
|Regina Wu||Newton, Mass.||Newton Food Pantry||Newton, Mass.|