FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Sept. 28, 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."
William "Bill" Wolff from Boston, Mass. was selected as a 2020 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for his commitment to Friends of the Blackstone School. As part of this recognition, the New England Patriots Foundation will be making a $5,000 donation to the Boston-based nonprofit.
For the past 15 years, Bill has volunteered countless hours advocating for families, students and teachers at the Blackstone School. As an inner-city public school, many of the students come from single parent families in some of the more unstable neighborhoods in the city. Frequently, English is not spoken at home, making it challenging for a young student to read in English for comprehension.
"My association with the Blackstone School began in 2005 when I became a literacy coach with Generations Incorporated," said Bill. "I came to realize how important it was to an inner-city school to have volunteer support."
As the president and a founding member of the organization, Bill has worked with school leadership and staff to obtain funds to improve the capability and impact of the school on its students. The Blackstone School has a very high percentage of "high need" students and the current Boston Public School funding levels need to be supplemented by privately raised funds.
A stable, supportive presence at the school, teachers and students affectionately and enthusiastically refer to him as "Mr. Bill." He is well respected by the teachers and is known for fostering a sense of community between educators, students and parents. He listens and empathizes with any issues the teacher may have that can improve the teaching and learning experience and works with them to find solutions.
In addition to his efforts at Friends of Blackstone School, Bill has spent 15 years volunteering at another local nonprofit, Generations Incorporated. He has served as a literacy coach and site team leader, with about 30 volunteers providing literacy tutoring to students up through third grade. He also serves on their board of directors.
Fellow volunteers, parents and teachers admire Bill for his strong leadership, positive energy and tireless dedication to improving the educational experience for all students. Since its inception, this program has positively impacted more than 2,000 students.
"Working with the kids, the teachers and the school staff has been an incredibly rewarding experience," said Bill. "Friends of Blackstone School has been able to make a real difference in obtaining funds for an under-funded 'high-need' city school."
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.