FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Dec 27, 2020) – Ten years ago, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation introduced a season-long theme called Celebrate Volunteerism. The main focus of the initiative was to recognize community volunteers and to promote the importance of volunteering. Since its inception, New England Patriots players, coaches, alumni, cheerleaders and fans have donated hundreds of thousands of hours to giving back to their New England communities.
Throughout the 2020 season, the foundation will continue its Celebrate Volunteerism initiative by teaming with nonprofit organizations to educate fans about the need for volunteering, highlighting deserving volunteers from across the region and seeking to inspire Patriots fans to become lifelong volunteers. The foundation will present a weekly "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week" award, which recognizes deserving volunteers who go above and beyond to support their New England communities.
"This has been a challenging year, unlike anything we've experienced in our lifetimes," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "Charitable organizations have been called upon to support more children and families than ever before. We admire all of the hardworking volunteers that have stepped up and helped these nonprofits to continue to serve those in need. Through this Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, we will shine a light on some of these outstanding volunteers, make a donation to their respective charity and encourage our fans to get involved."
Nineteen-year old Madison Quinn from Pittsfield, Mass. was selected as a 2020 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for her commitment to Strong Little Souls, Inc. As part of this recognition, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation will be making a $5,000 donation to support the nonprofit.
When Madison was 13 years old, she started using her own money to purchase toys for children battling cancer. When she ran out of money, she started collecting bottles and cans so she could help more families. Madison wanted to help as many families as she could, so she started her own nonprofit, Strong Little Souls.
The nonprofit is dedicated to supporting families battling cancer by sending care packages, granting wishes and offering financial support. As the founder of the nonprofit, Madison truly does it all. She manages the finances and coordinates all of their fundraising initiatives. She speaks at schools to promote the organization, reviews all program requests, oversees social media and has even made annual trips to Washington D.C. to advocate for more funding to support childhood cancer.
Madison visits hospitals to build long-lasting relationships with each family. She stays in touch with each of them throughout the diagnosis and treatments, offering her support along the way. Madison continues to manage all aspects of the nonprofit while completing her first year of college – in pursuit of a nursing degree.
"Helping children battling cancer is more than just a volunteer activity – it's a passion," said Madison. "Pediatric cancer is severely underfunded, and I will continue advocating for these children until a cure is found."
Thanks to Madison's leadership, Strong Little Souls has sent more than 1,500 care packages all around the world, granted more than 50 wishes for children battling life-threatening illnesses and donated tens of thousands of dollars to families in need.
In addition to her work with Strong Little Souls, Madison has volunteered at a local soup kitchen, raised money for a local animal shelter and supported food programs benefiting underserved families in the Dominican Republic.
"Thank you to the Kraft family and the Patriots Foundation for supporting Strong Little Souls," said Madison. "Together we can help assist families facing pediatric cancer and be the force for the good the world needs today."
The Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation encourage fans to show their support for local charitable organizations and to nominate a volunteer for the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award. To get involved, visit www.patriots.com/community.