Robert Kraft and his family have a reputation of philanthropy and community outreach, and because of this work, the Patriots owner is being honored with the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award on July 12. The award will be presented at the Second Annual Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards presented by ESPN.
The Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award is named for the beloved former ESPN commentator who passed away in 2015 and honors people, teams and organizations in the world of sports that have "taken risks and used an innovative approach to helping the disadvantaged through the power of sports," according to the announcement.
While Robert's nomination mentions his fiscal generosity, it emphasize the work and time he spends in the community, particularly advocating for New Englanders' access to top notch health care. He has worked tirelessly to bring some of the best medical professionals to underserved areas through community healthcare systems.
The nomination also mentions the fellowship he began at Harvard, which provides students with mentoring and clinical practice, as well as student loan-repayment in exchange for a three-year commitment to community health once the program is completed.
The three Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award Honorees will choose a charity related to their causes to receive a $50,000 grant from ESPN.
Other honorees include tennis star Billie Jean King and the 2015 University of Missouri football team. Billie Jean King earned the honor for her work advocating for the passage of Title IX and leveling the field in sports by founding the Women's Sports Foundation. When the University of Missouri became fraught with racial tension, the football team announced they would boycott an upcoming game if things carried on as they were. The players put their scholarships and futures on the line for the greater good, and change happened at the university.
The ENSPIRE Awards started in 2015, and the inaugural ENSPIRE honorees were Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll, "Like a Girl" campaign by Always, MLB Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig and his wife Sue and the You Can Play Project.
In addition to his ENSPIRE Award, Robert also received the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Humanitarian Award on June 16. The MIAA Legends event honored Robert for his work in the community.
Former Patriots Joe Bellino and Doug Flutie were also honored at the event as two of six athletes from Massachusetts high school athletics history who went on to excel in professional sports.