The Patriots organization spent the 2020 season putting an emphasis on education about racial and social injustices. From Monday meetings, featuring guest speakers and open conversations, to following the lead of guys like Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty and Matthew Slater, this season's efforts built on years of advocacy and activism.
Not coincidentally, the Patriots Players' Social Justice Fund saw its highest totals since its inception in 2018. The fund is a chance for Patriots players to pool their money to create grants for local, grassroots organizations fighting for equality in all forms.
This year, 32 players, 10 coaches, two scouts and three staff members contributed to the fund for a total of $236,700. This is an annual fund, and the Kraft family has matched the player donations. This year is no exception, bringing the total to $516,200.
The Fund's Steering Committee, which this year included 12 offensive, defensive and special teams players, selected eight organizations to receive grants -- five $85,000 grant recipients and three $25,000 grant recipients. The remaining $16,200 will be retained as a cash fund for immediate needs, like rent and utilities relief for local families.
Recipients of the $85,000 grants are:
- New Commonwealth Fund, which provides essential support, resources, and thought leadership to nonprofit organizations focused on the areas of (1) Policing and Criminal Justice Reform; (2) Health Care Equity; (3) Economic Empowerment; and (4) Youth Education, Empowerment, and Civic Engagement.
- Lovin' Spoonfuls, which facilitates the rescue and distribution of healthy foods that would otherwise be thrown away throughout Greater Boston, MetroWest and Hampden County.
- Posse Foundation, which provides four-year scholarships to students of color and pairs them with others to create a "posse" of talented students to serve a catalyst for individual and community change.
- Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, which aims to advance the economic well-being of Black businesses and organizations that serve the Black community through advocacy and short and long-term community action.
- Rosie's Place, which was the first women's shelter in the U.S. and provides meals, shelter and a safe, nurturing environment for poor and houseless women, while maintaining their dignity.
Recipients of the $25,000 grants are:
- American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts in honor of Rahsaan Hall, who is the Director of the Racial Justice Program at the ACLU, to support his continued work to educate others on issues of racial justice.
- MBK617, which is a safe place for kids to learn life skills by creating a community network for the youth, including mentoring, building community relationships and empowering them to reach their full potential.
- The ELISHA Project, which delivers fresh food and meals to those in need in Rhode Island. This donation will help The ELISHA Project purchase a refrigerated truck.
This is just one way the Patriots have given back this year. Players, coaches and staff announced on Jan. 6 that they would be donating $34,000 to Boston Healthcare for the Homeless. Prior to this season, the Kraft family also committed to donating $1,000,000 in 10 monthly incremental gifts for local organizations working toward racial, social and economic equality selected collaboratively with a committee of Patriots players. To date, six of those gifts have been announced.