FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (December 30, 2013) – Though the spirit of volunteerism will continue beyond the 2013 football season, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation (NEPCF) celebrated the ongoing Celebrate Volunteerism initiative in a special pregame ceremony at the Patriots' regular season finale versus the Buffalo Bills on December 29, 2013 at Gillette Stadium.
Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft announced grants of $1,000 to 14 nonprofits in the name of each of the "Patriots Difference Makers of the Week" selected throughout the season. Larry Adams from the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program was announced as the Grand Prize winner, receiving a $10,000 grant made to the nonprofit in his name. Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer and Executive Director of Community Affairs Andre Tippett was on hand for a check presentation during the pregame ceremony.
"These volunteers are really the difference makers in our communities," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "They rarely receive recognition for their selfless work. We were honored to give each of these volunteers a week of recognition during the season and to reward each of them with these grants at yesterday's game. Once again, each of Patriots Difference Makers showed their willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty for their non-profit organizations when they took the field to receive their grants despite the heavy rains. It was an honor to recognize each of the recipients."
Each week throughout the season, the Foundation focused on different volunteer areas, such as education, mentoring and military. As part of each week's focus, the Foundation announced the "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week" award, which aimed to recognize one deserving volunteer in the corresponding weekly focus. Each recipient was recognized with an honorary medal and autographed football during a presentation with current and former Patriots players on Patriots Community Tuesdays. Each of the "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week" named throughout the season was a special guests of the Kraft family and were recognized during Sunday's pregame ceremony.
As part of the initiative and Patriots Community Tuesdays, current and former Patriots players made more than 400 appearances in New England communities, participating in activities that included reading books to students, playing games with individuals battling cancer and encouraging children to exercise 60 minutes a day through the NFL PLAY 60 campaign.
Through the Patriots Women's Association, Patriots families also joined the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative by participating in book, coat, food and toy drives throughout the season. They also joined more than 20 current and former Patriots players to distribute 220 complete Thanksgiving meals to families in need, prepared for the annual Children's Holiday Party for 250 children and served lunch to women in homeless shelter programs in Boston.
Additional Celebrate Volunteerism activities included the opportunity for fans to pledge volunteer hours and submit photos of their own "Patriots Difference Maker" certificates. Patriots' fans from around the world joined the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative by pledging thousands of volunteer hours to better their local communities.
The Kraft family and Patriots Charitable Foundation will continue to Celebrate Volunteerism during the post-season, offseason and seasons to come. The Celebrate Volunteerism initiative aims to share examples of dedicated volunteers, build awareness of the need for volunteering, identify and educate others about volunteer opportunities and inspire New Englanders to follow the Kraft family's example of becoming lifelong volunteers.
For more information about the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, including resources and information about volunteering, the "Patriots Difference Maker" award, and to join the Celebrate Volunteerism movement by pledging volunteer hours, visit www.patriots.com/community.