Philanthropy has been the backbone of the New England Patriots’ organizational values ever since owner Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994.
Kraft and his late wife, Myra, have donated more than $400 million to organizations that aid educational efforts, foster diversity, and support family and health initiatives. They also established the Patriots Foundation, the primary goal of which is to, “support programs that aid the youth and families of the New England region by assisting programs that foster cultural diversity, education, family and health.”
The Patriots Foundation often gets New England’s players involved. Hundreds of Patriots players have contributed to these philanthropic efforts by volunteering hours, making appearances, and taking part in auctions to raise funds for a number of different charities, but it doesn’t stop there.
Some players have gone on to found their own organizations that look to do good within their communities. Here are a few examples of current Patriots that have done so.
More than 10% of US families lived in poverty in 2020. To put that into perspective, this means over seven million families live without the necessary money or material possessions needed to meet their basic human needs. Lawrence Guy and his wife Andrea are doing work to help provide them with those basic needs, plus a little more.
In 2019, Guy and his wife Andrea founded The Lawrence Guy Family Foundation, an organization that provides resources and opportunities for financially disadvantaged families. Guy’s foundation has aided over 5,000 families by hosting back to school initiatives, Thanksgiving dinner giveaways, and holiday shopping events across the United States. Guy says it’s all about uplifting others, “If you see someone struggling, help them and hopefully down the line they will be able to help others.”
The Guys’ most recent event in August, a backpack giveaway, provided school supplies, snacks, and Patriots merchandise to over 150 students to get them ready to go back to school. It was the 10th annual event for Guy, who said, “We build our roots in the community. The community supports us a lot so we should support the community. The best part about it is being able to give back to people who will truly cherish this down the line.”
Growing up as a Nigerian immigrant in Tampa Bay, Fla., life didn’t come easy for Nelson Agholor as a child. In June, he told Patriots.com, “Sometimes I had to fend for my own food, to figure out a way to eat, honestly. Sometimes, I might go over to friends’ houses. Other times, I might find a couple coins around the house and eat whatever I could buy at a corner store.” Perhaps those struggles are a reason why Agholor has taken such an interest in helping and inspiring children.
Our Kids, Our Responsibility is a non-profit organization founded by Agholor that helps guide our next generation through community events and outreach programs. Agholor has hosted football skills camps, reading initiatives, and in-school presentations. Agholor has said, “Education and experience are key ... Exposing kids’ minds to more is what education is. It’s just access to information that can be used to want to do more, to accomplish more, to be more.” In addition to his work with children, Agholor has delved into helping out female empowerment initiatives and home-buying efforts for black families recently.
#WinWithWynn started out as a hashtag for Georgia football fans who were clamoring for Isaiah Wynn to receive more playing time, and has transformed into Isaiah Wynn’s way to give back to his community.
It started in 2020, when Wynn returned home to St. Petersburg, Fla., to train for the 2020 season and give away water and food to people in his local community. Following the release of a short documentary that highlighted those efforts, Wynn started to do more, and has now set up a scholarship for high school students in that area.
The Win with Wynn Scholarship is a need-based scholarship that is available to African-American students from Pinellas County, Florida.
Throughout his eight years in a Patriots uniform, James White has steadily risen from a healthy scratch in the Super Bowl to a multi-time captain and feature player within the offense. He’s also become one of the most respected community leaders New England sports has seen.
Founded in early 2021, The Sweet Feet Foundation has combined all of James White’s community efforts under one umbrella, while initiating some new ones as well. The Whites, James and Diana, have hosted “Sweet Feet for Strikes” to benefit Boston Medical Center, “Touchdowns for Technology” to provide technology to college students, and now founded “The Sweet Feet Foundation” to provide scholarships to underprivileged youth.
In a press release announcing the scholarship, White said, “I’m excited to start this foundation because it will help kids that might not have the opportunity or resources to put themselves through college and continue their education, to help kids further their education would put them in a better position to achieve their goals and dreams.”
Devin McCourty: Tackle Sickle Cell, Boston Uncornered, Players Coalition
“You are a great example of the impact that someone can have with great wisdom, leadership, courage and passion.” Those are words spoken by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to describe Devin McCourty.
Throughout his 12 seasons in New England, McCourty has embodied everything it means to be a leader. In 2015, Devin and his twin brother Jason founded Tackle Sickle Cell, an organization that looks to support families affected by Sickle Cell. In 2019, Devin got involved with Boston Uncornered, an organization that focuses on, “engaging gang-involved youth to become positive leaders in their community” by equipping them with “attitude, skills and experience to graduate from college.” He was later honored by the organization during their virtual fundraiser, where Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Robert Kraft and a number of current and former teammates commended his efforts and made donations.
In 2020, McCourty underwent his biggest mission yet, joining the Players Coalition by becoming one of their 11 voting board members. The organization “exists to end social injustices and racial inequality so future generations have the opportunity to thrive without barriers.”
In his advocacy for change, McCourty has said his goal is to “Continue to put that pressure on and let people know that, hey, we’re still going to be here. We’re still going to be talking to communities.”