When people think about Robert Kraft and his family, it usually comes down to football.
And that’s OK – the Kraft family legacy is quite connected to another legacy: the New England Patriots, the NFL team that has earned several championships over the years as well as some impressive Super Bowl victories under the Kraft family’s ownership.
And say what you want about individual players – or not-to-be-named former Patriot players – but the Kraft organization has put in plenty of consistent effort to bring in crowds, attract sponsors, and create a satisfying venue for their team to play in and for ticketholders to cheer.
But Robert Kraft and others know that there’s more to life than football.
That’s part of the reason they recently made a substantial donation to the Harvard School of Business.
In early April, the school announced that it had received a $24 million donation.
The money will be used to create the Robert K. Kraft Fellowship Fund, which can be used to help more students attend the elite school, especially those lacking the financial means.
The Robert K. Kraft Fellowship Fund is now considered the largest endowed fellowship fund at the school. It will be endowed by Robert Kraft, the principal owner of the Patriots, and his son Jonathan Kraft, who is team president. Both attended and graduated from Harvard Business School and it continues to represent a significant part of their lives.
This is the second major donation that the Kraft family has made to the school in the last seven years. At that time, the Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation offered $20 million to HBS to help school officials create activities that focus on precision medicine projects at the school.
Harvard and Harvard Business School were happy to accept the award seven years ago, as well as the newest award. School officials also announced that the business school will now be officially changing the name of its Harvard Business School Financial Aid Office to reflect the family’s support.
The goal of the Robert K. Kraft Fellowship Fund is to be able to offer greater support to students who want to attend but come from underrepresented backgrounds, including those who qualify academically but may not be able to swing the finances.
Robert Kraft became owner of the New England Patriots in 1994. Since then, the team has won the Super Bowl on six occasions. His net worth is estimated to be about $8.3 billion, according to Forbes.
The Harvard Crimson reported that Harvard Business School Dean Srikant M. Datar joined Robert Kraft and Jonathan Kraft at the official presentation and announcement about the donation and new fund.
The Kraft family also shared a press release with facts about the family as well as their ongoing support for the school.
“Being part of Harvard Business School changed my life and I am deeply grateful for the chance to help others benefit from the transformational power of this experience,” Robert Kraft said. “Our family is proud of the extraordinary difference that our fellowship recipients make in the world.”
Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow said the school continues to be appreciative to the family for being willing to step forward and make a difference.
“Harvard Business School has a long and proud history of educating leaders who make a difference in the world, among them Robert and Jonathan Kraft,” Bacow said. “Through this extraordinary gift of philanthropy, father and son ensure that more lives are transformed as theirs have been.”