FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (December 30, 2011) - Though the spirit of volunteerism will continue beyond the 2011 football season in honor of the philanthropic life of Myra Kraft, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation (NEPCF) will celebrate the season-long "Celebrate Volunteerism" campaign in a special halftime ceremony at the Patriots' regular season finale versus the Bills on January 1, 2012 at Gillette Stadium.
During the halftime ceremony, NEPCF and CVS Caremark will announce grants of $1,000 to 15 nonprofits in the name of each of the "Patriots Difference Makers of the Week" selected throughout the season. A Grand Prize winner will also be announced, and the winner will receive an additional $10,000 grant made to their nonprofit in their name. Patriots representatives and CVS Area Vice President Scott Wasikowski will be on hand for a check presentation at halftime.
"These admirable philanthropists embody my sweetheart's example of being selfless volunteers," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "These volunteers rarely receive recognition and we are glad to honor them during this year's season-long campaign. We are proud to recognize this all-star lineup and thank them for the positive impact they have made in each of their communities by embracing volunteerism."
Each week throughout the season, the Foundation focused on different volunteer areas, such as education, healthy eating and nutrition and military and veterans. 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 Patriots players on Patriots Community Tuesdays. Each of the "Patriots Difference Makers of the Week" named throughout the season will be hosted as special guests of the Kraft family and will be recognized in the halftime ceremony on January 1.
As part of the campaign and Patriots Community Tuesdays, Patriots players made more than 200 appearances in New England communities participating in activities including serving dinner to families battling cancer in Boston, teaching children about fire safety with volunteer firefighters in Rhode Island 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" movement by participating in book, food, coat and toy drives at the gates of Gillette Stadium; joining more than 15 current and former Patriots players to distribute 200 complete Thanksgiving meals to families in need; preparing for the annual Children's Holiday Party for 250 children; and serving lunch to women in homeless shelter programs in Boston.
Additional "Celebrate Volunteerism" activities included the renaming of the Community MVP Awards program to the Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards and 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" movement by pledging thousands of volunteer hours to better their local communities.
The Kraft family and Patriots Charitable Foundation will continue to honor Myra Kraft's lifetime commitment to volunteerism during the post-season, offseason and seasons to come. The Celebrate Volunteerism campaign 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 Myra Kraft's example of becoming a lifelong volunteer.
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.