FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Every year since 1998, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots have been celebrating those who give their time to help others. The program was originally known as the Community Quarterback Awards and were presented to those who exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving their communities through volunteerism.
In 2011, the awards were renamed in honor of the late Myra Kraft who committed her life to volunteering. As part of the New England Patriots Foundation's ongoing Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, the Kraft family hosts a special luncheon each year to show their appreciation for local volunteers.
On Wednesday, Aug. 11, 26 volunteers were recognized for their contributions at an awards ceremony at Gillette Stadium. Twenty-five organizations received grants of $10,000 in honor of their outstanding volunteers and one grand prize winner received a surprise $25,000 donation.
On hand to congratulate the award winners were Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, New England Patriots Foundation President Joshua Kraft and Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer and Patriots Executive Director of Community Affairs Andre Tippett.
"This marks the tenth year that this program has been named in memory of my sweetheart, Myra," said Robert Kraft. "The past 18 months have been unlike anything we've experienced in our lifetime. During these challenging times, these 26 honorees stepped up to serve more children and families than ever before. We admire their selfless dedication and we know that Myra is smiling down on all of them."
Phyllis Ellis of Brockton, Mass. was selected as this year's $25,000 grand prize winner for her volunteer efforts at Family and Community Resources.
Family and Community Resources advocates for and supports all survivors of trauma, including substance abuse and domestic and sexual violence. They provide a 24-hour hotline, partner abuse education and housing support for survivors. Phyllis has served on the board of directors for the past three years, is a fundraising leader, active member of their events committee and constantly advocating for the nonprofit.
"I am so honored to be chosen for this award," said Phyllis. "I had no idea that the work I was doing in the community grabbed the attention of others. This work is an award in itself."
Phyllis has also served as the president of the Brockton branch of the NAACP for the past six years. In this role, she has expanded outreach and communication efforts for health issues including diabetes and prostate cancer, two areas that disproportionately affect people of color. Phyllis has supported access to technology for underserved families and hosted the first black history celebration at the Brockton Public Library.
She was appointed by Brockton's mayor to be the chair of the Community Justice Committee, tackling various issues related to education, economic development, housing and police reform. During the pandemic, Phyllis launched a campaign to encourage safe practices, promoted vaccinations and provided food and PPE supplies to families in need.
"To have Phyllis be selected for the prestigious Myra Kraft Community MVP Award means a lot to all of us at Family and Community Resources," said the nonprofit in a statement. "We know how active Myra Kraft was in the community and her volunteerism and advocacy for so many causes is something for which we should all aspire. This award is affirmation for Phyllis for all that she has done, and is still doing, to make our community a safe and healthy place for all to live and thrive. She is always upbeat with a can-do attitude, and a willingness to help no matter the task. Despite her numerous commitments and engagements in Brockton and beyond, Phyllis brings to Family and Community Resources an energy and enthusiasm that is an inspiration to all of us."
"I am so thankful to Family and Community Resources for taking the time to nominate me," said Phyllis. "To be nominated is one thing, but to be selected is a humbling experience. I am committed to serving my community to make it a better place. I want to thank the Kraft family and New England Patriots Foundation for the recognition."
The 2021 Myra Kraft Community MVP winners range from 21 to 92 years old and represent every New England state. The selected nonprofits provide support for many causes, including education, domestic violence prevention, healthcare, homelessness, mentoring and military support.
The Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation received more than 250 applications this year from nonprofit organizations looking to recognize their outstanding volunteers. Nominations open each spring and the awards are open to all nonprofit organizations in the New England region. For more information on the Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards, please visit www.patriots.com/community.
Below is a complete list of the 2021 Myra Kraft Community MVP Award Winners:
$25,000 Grand Prize Winner
|Phyllis Ellis||Brockton, MA||Family and Community Resources||Brockton, MA|
$10,000 Award Winners
|Name||Hometown||Organization Name||Organization Town|
|Lisa Allen||Providence, RI||Fall River Deaconess Home||Fall River, MA|
|Jennifer Blum||Fairhaven, MA||The Help SAVE Foundation||Fairhaven, MA|
|Eugene Brune||Wilmington, MA||Somerville Historical Society||Somerville, MA|
|Phyllis Clawson||Harvard, MA||Virginia Thurston Healing Garden||Harvard, MA|
|Bruce Connolly||Norwood, MA||Norwood Food Pantry||Norwood, MA|
|Angela Cote||Walpole, MA||Prison Yoga Project||Walpole, MA|
|Jacqueline Dewey||Cape Neddick, ME||Dress a Girl Around the World||Cape Neddick, ME|
|Friday Night Hype||Cambridge, MA||Equity Roadmap, Inc.||Cambridge, MA|
|Rebecca Gladstone||Dover, MA||A Place To Turn||Natick, MA|
|Louise & Dave Hackett||Merrimack, NH||Gateways Community Services||Nashua, NH|
|Alison Hornung||N. Kingstown, RI||Glimmer of Hope Foundation||N. Kingstown, RI|
|Cyndi Jones||Lexington, MA||Wildflower||Lexington, MA|
|Zayra Juarez||Attleboro, MA||The Literacy Center||Attleboro, MA|
|Amy Katz||Westport, CT||Pink Aid||Westport, CT|
|Bob Keiser||Madison, CT||APK Charities Corporation||Madison, CT|
|Polly Kornblith||Sherborn, MA||Horse SenseAbility||Sherborn, MA|
|Chris Kuhni||Milbridge, ME||Women for Healthy Rural Living||Milbridge, ME|
|Raphy Landovitz||Los Angeles, CA||Camp Ta-Kum-Ta||South Hero, VT|
|Joseph Mark||Castleton, VT||Castleton Community Seniors||Castleton, VT|
|Ed Mastriano||E. Providence, RI||MENTOR Rhode Island||Warwick, RI|
|Angela Matthews||Rollinsford, NH||The Black Heritage Trail of NH||Portsmouth, NH|
|Marvia Murrell||W. Bridgewater, MA||The DJ Henry Dream Fund||Boston, MA|
|Arielle Perry||Northhampton, MA||Girls on the Run of Western MA||Northhampton, MA|
|Nancy Quintin||N. Attleboro, MA||Rock Steady Boxing||N. Attleboro, MA|
|Deb & John Snow||Foxborough, MA||LYNN Ministries, Inc.||Foxborough, MA|