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 Wednesday, 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 Grimes King Foundation for the Elderly received this year's grand prize of $25,000.
"Of all the community initiatives we support through the Patriots Foundation, this was always Myra's favorite and I am proud that we continue to honor her legacy of volunteerism by recognizing the amazing work of dozens of volunteers each year," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "She loved meeting all of the honorees and hearing their heartwarming stories of volunteerism. There are so many people doing great things in our communities. It restores all faith in humanity. We enjoyed reviewing this year's applications and selecting the 26 dedicated individuals that are helping to make the world a better place."
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 Robert Kraft, 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 John Claughton, VP of Grooming, North America, Procter & Gamble.
"This program has always been my family's favorite charitable initiative," said Josh Kraft. "Each year, we read hundreds of heartfelt stories of volunteerism and we are honored to celebrate those who go above and beyond to help others. We were excited to partner with our good friends at Gillette for this year's program and appreciate their shared commitment to building stronger New England communities."
"As a long-time witness of the great and positive impact the Kraft family has had on the New England community, Gillette could not be more proud to share in honoring Myra's legacy as the presenting sponsor of the Myra Kraft MVP Awards," said John Claughton. "Joined by the same drive to be a force for good for the communities we serve, Gillette looks forward to supporting all the honorees and volunteers that continue the work Myra so passionately championed."
Thelma Burns of Dorchester, Mass. was selected as this year's $25,000 grand prize winner for her volunteer efforts at the Grimes King Foundation for the Elderly.
The Grimes King Foundation first began in 1860 to provide housing to formerly enslaved black women that were considered too old to continue working. Now, more than 160 years later, the nonprofit continues to advocate for more than 1,000 elderly and low-income women of color.
Thelma has been an instrumental leader for the nonprofit, serving as a board member for the past five years. In this role, she has conducted studies and collaborated with local organizations to support seniors and help them to age in place. For more than a decade, she has served on the Mayor of Boston's Senior Advocacy Council and ensured that seniors receive proper access to Medicare.
"I am so honored to be recognized as a Myra Kraft MVP Award winner. I've been volunteering all of my life, and it never occurred to me that one day I would get an award for doing something that I love to do—advocating on behalf of our youth and our elders," said Thelma. "I volunteered to get on the Board of the Grimes King Foundation for the Elderly, because I know how important it is to keep our elders close to us. I took care of my father at home until he passed, and that experience taught me so much. I learned that a small act of kindness, a listening ear and little caring can make a world of difference in someone's life. I learned that elders live longer, are happier and are healthier when they can age comfortably at home."
Her commitment to the community spans more than 40 years, volunteering at several other organizations including Action for Boston Community Development and the Central Boston Elderly Services Advisory Committee. At 85 years young – and as a two-time cancer survivor – Thelma refuses to slow down.
"Winning this award makes a world of difference, because now, more people will know and will understand how important it is for African American seniors to gain access to the services they need to survive," said Thelma. "When we do this for elderly black women, then all seniors benefit as well, and can age with grace and dignity, in their own homes."
The 2022 Myra Kraft Community MVP winners range from 15 to 85 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 450 volunteers and donated more than $3 million to support nonprofit organizations across New England.
The Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation received more than 250 applications this year from nonprofit organizations looking to recognize their outstanding volunteers. Nominations open each spring 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.
|First and Last Name||Hometown||Organization||Organization Town|
|Wayne Barbour||Springfield, Mass.||Springfield Youth Athletics||Feeding Hills, Mass.|
|Joseph Bennett||Boston, Mass.||Yardtime Entertainment Inc.||Boston, Mass.|
|Katonya Burke||Dorchester, Mass.||Trinity Boston Connects||Boston, Mass.|
|Thelma Burns||Dorchester, Mass.||The Grimes King Foundation for the Elderly||Boston, Mass.|
|Dawn Carveth||West Bridgewater, Mass.||Sunshine Farm Sanctuary||Bridgewater, Mass.|
|Grace Chen||Somerville, Mass.||Camp Casco||Sudbury, Mass.|
|Mary Cooper||Shirley, Mass.||United Spinal Association||Woburn, Mass.|
|Cynthia Cote||Durham, Mass.||Betty J. Borry Breast Cancer Retreats||Durham, N.H.|
|Michael Crawley||Cranston, R.I.||Freiderich's Ataxia Research Alliance||Johnston, R.I.|
|Robert Dunn||Natick, Mass.||Care Dimensions||Danvers, Mass.|
|Jimmy Giddings||Melrose, Mass.||Boys & Girls Club of Stoneham & Wakefield||Stoneham, Mass.|
|Barbara Girardi||Hopkinton, Mass.||Live4Evan||Hopkinton, Mass.|
|Felicia Hickey||Stoughton, Mass.||The Phoenix||Boston, Mass.|
|Oliver Kaufman||Stamford, Conn.||Food Rescue US||Stamford, Conn.|
|Elizabeth Keeley||Melrose, Mass.||Boston Rescue Mission||Boston, Mass.|
|Rosemarie Lopes||New Bedford, Mass.||Southeastern MA Veterans Housing Program||New Bedford, Mass.|
|Dr. Michael Matos||Wolfeboro, N.H.||American Diabetes Association||New Durham, N.H.|
|Shane McColgan||Carver, Mass.||Shane Gives Thanks Food Pantry||Carver, Mass.|
|Holly McHale||Waterboro, Maine||Outdoors Again||Waterboro, Maine|
|Leah Bailey Moon||Bloomfield, Conn.||Autism Families CONNECTicut||West Hartford, Conn.|
|Ryan Najemy||Brookline, Mass.||Jeff’s Place Children’s Bereavement Center||Framingham, Mass.|
|Beth Pransky||Hanson, Mass.||Jay’s Hope & Promise||Hanson, Mass.|
|Michelle Ratty||Tyngsborough, Mass.||Lowell General Hospital||Lowell, Mass.|
|Hank Shafran||Brookline, Mass.||The Boston House||Brookline, Mass.|
|Catherine Ann Wilson||Standish, Maine||Stop Trafficking Us||Standish, Maine|
|Todd Zavorskas||Brooklyn, Conn.||Leukemia & Lymphoma Society||Brooklyn, Conn.|