Shalom Life | April 18, 2014

Wife of New England Patriots Owner Passes Away

Myra Kraft, a key philanthropist, was active in the Jewish community

By: Sammy Hudes

Published: July 21st, 2011 in Culture » Society » News

Wife of New England Patriots Owner Passes Away

Myra Kraft, the wife of New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, has passed away. Myra, a prominent philanthropist, died Wednesday morning at the age of 68 after a battle with cancer, according to the NFL team’s statement on its website.

“Words cannot express the deep sorrow that we feel in learning of the passing of Myra Hiatt Kraft,” reads the statement. “We are all heartbroken. The global philanthropic community and the New England Patriots family have suffered a great loss.”

Myra Kraft devoted much of her time to assisting a plethora of charities during her lifetime. She managed the Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation, which was founded after her husband bought the football team in 1994, and was also president and director of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation. The foundation has contributed millions of dollars to charities in both the United States and Israel.

Kraft consistently contributed to supporting the State of Israel. She donated millions of dollars to causes relating to Israeli issues and also helped the Israeli women’s football program to develop.

She was a board member of several Jewish organizations including the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).

“Kraft was a senior member of the JDC Board of Directors, and for years chaired their Israel area committee, visiting Israel often and promoting new and innovative social programs for the well-being of Israelis,” JDC CEO, Steve Schwager told the Jerusalem Post.

“Over the past 12 years, Myra gave her love and support to the many thousands of people in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel who have been able to enjoy Kraft Family Stadium [in Jerusalem],” said American Football in Israel president, Steve Leibowitz.

“So many people in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world have benefited from her generous philanthropy. She was loved and gave love in return. She will be mourned for a long time, and she will remain in our hearts forever.”

As well, Kraft served as chairwoman of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies and was on the board of directors of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Boys and Girls Clubs, Boston’s Jewish Federation, the American Repertory Theatre, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Brandeis. In 2003, Boston Magazine named her one of the 20 most powerful women in Boston.

Kraft even had an impact on the Patriots, as she was partly responsible for ensuring that every Patriots player had a clause in their contracts that required them to take part in at least ten charitable events per year.

“To be honest, this was shocking news. I never saw it coming. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” said Patriots offensive tackle, Matt Light. “I know how much of an influence she had shaping that locker room and the type of guys we had in there. That came from her.”

New Orleans Saints fullback Heath Evans, who was with the Patriots from 2005 to 2008, put it simply.

“What made Myra Kraft special? Strong, but Tender-hearted. Proud, but Humble. Bold, but Soft-Spoken. Extremely blessed, but lived to be a Blessing.”

Kraft’s funeral will be held Friday morning at Temple Emmanuel in Newton Centre, Massachusetts.

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