Giving back and passing it on; Myra Hiatt Kraft discusses philanthropy, family and her unlikely foray into the world of football.Byline: Lisa D. Welsh
My parents passed down that you give back. That's the way I was raised. Myra Hiatt Kraft looks puzzled when it's suggested that some people are unaware of her Worcester connection. She considers it a moment before pointing out that she regularly includes her maiden name maiden name
A woman's family name before she is married. Used of a surname that is replaced by a woman when she marries. Also called birth name. in professional correspondences.
Born and raised in Worcester with her sister, Janice, Myra is the daughter of the late Jacob and Frances (Lavine) Hiatt - as in the Jacob Hiatt Magnet School magnet school
A public school offering a specialized curriculum, often with high academic standards, to a student body representing a cross section of the community. , the Frances L. and Jacob Hiatt Learning Center at the Jewish Community Center and the Frances and Jacob Hiatt Holocaust Collection, a wing in the College of the Holy Cross's Dinand Library.
"Worcester was a great place to grow up," Kraft said during an interview from her office in the administration suite at Gillette Stadium
• • [ in Foxboro.
Gillette Stadium, of course, is home to the New England Patriots Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled until (UTC) due to vandalism. football organization, which the Kraft family owns.
Robert and Myra Kraft are worth an estimated $1.4 billion, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Forbes magazine. Since they were married in 1963, they have given away more than $100 million.
Amid the championship atmosphere and displays of Patriots memorabilia, Kraft's office is a testament to things held dear to her: family, education, Israel and other places in the world where she's extended her help. The walls are covered from floor to ceiling with photos, plaques and mementos.
There are images of family vacations with her sons, Jonathan, Daniel, Joshua and David, their wives and her eight grandchildren: the ones from Disney World are as prominent as those from visits made to the Super Bowl.
On her desk rest pieces from her collection of Roman glass and antiquities from archaeological digs in Israel. The artifacts artifacts
see specimen artifacts. mix with a clay figure made more recently by a child in the Ukraine, orbs of glass from Western Massachusetts and a sculpture of a dragon ("or maybe it's a dog") made by one of her sons as a child. A silver letter opener engraved en·grave
tr.v. en·graved, en·grav·ing, en·graves
1. To carve, cut, or etch into a material: engraved the champion's name on the trophy.
2. with Jacob Hiatt's name rests in the pencil case nearby.
There are also framed honorary degrees from the University of Haifa About 16,500 undergraduate and graduate students study in the university a wide variety of topics, specializing in social sciences, humanities, law and education. The University is broadly divided into six Faculties: Humanities, Social Sciences, Law, Science and Science Education, Social and Ruppin Academic Center in Israel. In her son's honeymoon picture, she sits with the smiling newlyweds at the Frances L. Hiatt Garden in Israel. A commemorative plaque A commemorative plaque, or simply plaque, is a plate of metal, ceramic, stone, wood, or other material, typically attached to a wall, stone, or other vertical surface, and bearing text in memory of an important figure or event. reads: A gift of Jacob Hiatt and Myra and Robert Kraft Robert K. Kraft, (born June 5, 1941 in Brookline, Massachusetts) is the Founder, Chairman & CEO of the Kraft Group, a diversified holding company with assets in paper & packaging, sports & entertainment, real estate development and a private equity portfolio. to the people of Jerusalem.
While her father may have greater name recognition, Myra is quick to credit her mother as a force in philanthropy and volunteerism.
"My mother was on the board of many organizations in Worcester," Kraft said. "She was on boards of banks, hospitals and Girls Inc. Every year Girls Inc. had some kind of writing contest and she was always involved with that. I remember her reading all of the entries." Frances Hiatt was involved with the Visiting Nurse vis·it·ing nurse
A registered nurse employed by a public health agency or hospital to promote community health and especially to visit and administer treatment to sick people in their homes. Association of Central Massachusetts as a board member from 1960-1979 and was chairman of the board from 1970-1972.
Kraft is a professional, no-nonsense leader in the New England Patriots organization who doesn't suffer fools lightly. But she's also a great philanthropist who doesn't just write a tax-deductible contribution, but provides her time and name-recognition to the people and causes that are close to her heart.
"You have to be passionate and really care. You can't just do something because it's the politically correct politically correct Politically sensitive adjective Referring to language reflecting awareness and sensitivity to another person's physical, mental, cultural, or other disadvantages or deviations from a norm; a person is not mentally retarded, but thing to do," Kraft said.
Academics is high on the list.
"Education was very important to my father," she said. "He came to America (from Lithuania) thinking he would be a lawyer. He planned to go to Harvard and get his law degree but, even though he spoke seven or eight other languages, he didn't know English. He would go to the movies to learn it."
Mr. Hiatt would eventually receive honorary degrees or distinctions from several institutions, including the College of the Holy Cross The College of the Holy Cross is an exclusively undergraduate Roman Catholic liberal arts college located in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. Holy Cross is the oldest Roman Catholic college in New England and one of the oldest in the United States. , Clark University Clark University, at Worcester, Mass.; coeducational; chartered 1887, opened as a graduate school 1889. It was the second graduate school to be formed in the United States. Its undergraduate college (est. 1902) was integrated with the university in 1920. and Brandeis University Brandeis University, at Waltham, Mass.; coeducational; chartered and opened 1948. Although Brandeis was founded by members of the American Jewish community, the university operates as an independent, nonsectarian institution. , of which he was a founder. After graduating from Bancroft School This article is about the school in the United States. For the school in England, see Bancroft's School.
Bancroft School is a private, K-12 preparatory school, located in Worcester, Massachusetts. in Worcester, Kraft would graduate from Brandeis University, where she continues to volunteer on several boards.
"Robert went to Columbia on an academic scholarship and went to Harvard Business School Harvard Business School, officially named the Harvard Business School: George F. Baker Foundation, and also known as HBS, is one of the graduate schools of Harvard University. on a fellowship, so we gave back to those first," Kraft continued. "If you are fortunate to go on scholarship, your alma mater should be the first thing you give back to because it is the place that gave you the power and tools to understand the world and do things."
In addition, the family established several academic chairs with "Hiatt and Kraft" in the titles: the Kraft-Hiatt chairs in Judaic studies at the College of the Holy Cross and Boston College Boston College, main campus at Chestnut Hill, Mass.; coeducational; Jesuit; est. and opened 1863. Actually a university, the school's Chestnut Hill campus comprises colleges of arts and sciences and business administration, the graduate school, and schools of nursing ; and the Kraft-Hiatt chair in Christian studies at Brandeis University.
"My parents passed down that you give back. That's the way I was raised," she said. "If you are fortunate to be able to give back you should do it. If not in money, then in time."
Kraft first waded into philanthropic waters in 1948 when her father visited the displaced-persons camps of Europe and went to Palestine, then on the verge On the Verge (or The Geography of Yearning) is a play written by Eric Overmyer. It makes extensive use of esoteric language and pop culture references from the late nineteenth century to 1955. of Israeli nationhood. While he was away and unbeknownst to her parents, 5-year-old Myra went door to door in her neighborhood asking people to make a donation for the children there. Helping the people of Israel would become a lifelong commitment for her.
Kraft explains that when her father immigrated to America in 1935, he was a circuit judge who had tried and convicted some of the first Nazi spies and saw that it was dangerous to stay there. Her grandparents grandparents npl → abuelos mpl
grandparents grand npl → grands-parents mpl
grandparents grand npl Joshua and Leah Hiatt and other family members who remained died in the Holocaust.
Mr. Hiatt would settle in Worcester, filling a need for his cousin Al Hiatt's shoe business.
"My father set up the boxes, the shoe boxes," Kraft said.
Years later, Al's son Arnold Hiatt parlayed that store into Stride Rite Shoe, a successful manufacturer, and Mr. Hiatt's box-making skills would expand into the Rand-Whitney Group, a packaging company on Grove Street.
Kraft calls it the family's "honest business."
"Sports is the glamour, but the packaging company started it all," she said. "My father brought it to a certain point, but it was Robert's vision for what a paper company could be that developed it into what it is today."
Today, Rand-Whitney is part of the family-owned Kraft Group The Kraft Group, LLC is a group of privately held companies in the professional sports, manufacturing, and real-estate development industries doing business in 82 countries. , which has more than $1 billion in annual sales and includes an Israeli packaging company, a money management firm and Major League Soccer's New England Revolution The New England Revolution, nicknamed the Revs, is a professional soccer club based in Foxborough, Massachusetts, that participates in Major League Soccer. Even though the club is based in Foxborough, the club represents all of New England. . The New England Patriots are privately owned by the Kraft family as NFL NFL
National Football League
NFL (US) n abbr (= National Football League) → Fußball-Nationalliga rules ban corporate ownership.
Robert Kraft was a longtime Patriots fan and in 1971, he bought season tickets: section 217, row 23 among the cheap seats in the end zone. His wife considered it a waste of money, but not as much of a waste as she thought buying the team would be.
"Buying the team was something that Robert had really wanted," she said. "We owned the land (400 acres purchased in 1988) and rented the stadium out. The owner wanted to move the team to St. Louis, but we said we won't let you out of the lease.
"The night before we bought the team, he offered us $75 million (to get out of the lease)," she continued. "I said, `We can do an awful lot of good with that money,' but we talked the whole thing through and it seemed the right thing to do."
Kraft was not a fan of football and couldn't appreciate the connection between owning a sports team and doing "an awful lot of good."
"I didn't understand the power of a sports team," she said. "The Patriots opens up doors as a powerful media for everyone. The Patriots are a leveler Leveler
Member of a republican faction in England during the English Civil Wars and Commonwealth. The name was coined by the movement's enemies to suggest that its supporters wished to “level men's estates. . No matter your background or skin color, everyone loves sports."
When the Krafts bought the Patriots in 1994, Kraft established the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, which focuses on needy families and youths across New England. She was the president until this year when son Josh took over the daily responsibilities; she remains its director. She is also a trustee of the Robert K. and Myra H. Kraft Foundation, which focuses on furthering educational initiatives and other civic-minded causes.
"Many organizations have a professional person in that (development) capacity," she said. "We don't have a staff of 30 or 40. We don't have a fancy department just for that. Not that those (organizations) ... are wrong to do that. A number of my friends have whole staffs, but we make the decisions on monetary requests by ourselves. We're more likely to discuss what we will be involved with around the kitchen table. It's a team effort."
Requests can range from auction items such as signed jerseys and footballs for a church or organization, to requests for grants, like the ones for Boston's Home for Little Wanderers or the Boston Boys & Girls Club's Kids Cafe.
In addition to the financial contributions, Kraft donates her time and sits on numerous boards. In 1995, she became the first female chair of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston and was so effective that the bylaws The rules and regulations enacted by an association or a corporation to provide a framework for its operation and management.
Bylaws may specify the qualifications, rights, and liabilities of membership, and the powers, duties, and grounds for the dissolution of an were changed to allow for more than a four-year term; she served seven years.
Kraft became involved with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and since 1996 has sat on its board of directors, executive committee and investment committee. She chairs the United Way of Massachusetts Bay for 2008 and co-chairs its Alexis de Tocqueville Noun 1. Alexis de Tocqueville - French political writer noted for his analysis of American institutions (1805-1859)
Alexis Charles Henri Maurice de Tocqueville, Tocqueville Society, which recognizes donors of $10,000 or more, and has helped establish the goal of becoming the first de Tocqueville Society in the United Way to reach 1,000 donors by 2010.
With so many organizations doing good works, Kraft acknowledges, it can be challenging when deciding where to focus her support.
"You can get pulled in so many directions that you need to prioritize. The most important thing to me is JDC JDC Joint Distribution Committee
JDC Java Developer Connection (Sun Microsystems)
JDC John Deere Credit
JDC Jubilee Debt Campaign (UK)
JDC Juvenile Detention Center
JDC Judicial District Court ," she said, referring to the international relief-focused American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
The common thread in her tapestry of philanthropic interests is an appreciation of cultural differences and the understanding that, given the opportunity, the more people get to know one another the more they will realize that they're not so different after all.
One of the greatest ways she's accomplished this is an annual trip to Israel, when the Krafts escort an eclectic group of American Christians and Jews to meet with government officials, business leaders, authors, journalists and political figures.
"Every year, the group discovers so much," she said. "This year, (Patriots players Ben) Watson and (Richard) Seymour and their wives joined us. They are Christians and were baptized bap·tize
v. bap·tized, bap·tiz·ing, bap·tiz·es
1. To admit into Christianity by means of baptism.
a. To cleanse or purify.
b. To initiate.
3. in the Jordan River while they were there, and of course that had a great impact. When he visited (a couple of years ago), Joe Campanelli (CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of Sovereign Bank) was so angry at the media at discovering that Israel wasn't a major battlefield. He said he never felt safer or more secure than he did in Israel. He said he felt gypped all these years that he hadn't gone before."
Although she is small in stature, Kraft is grand in influence that extends across the world and close to home.
"Philanthropy was something I grew up with and it's something that my children and grandchildren are now growing up with," she said, "whatever that means to them. My son just became CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. That's what is important to him."
Myra Kraft on ...
Super Bowl rings
"I think I wear a size five but I never even put them on. I locked them away. That's not my thing. The first year we won the Super Bowl, all kinds of jewelry stores called and I was in on the meetings about design. I was so bored ... after two hours, I left."
"I hated football, but I learned to love it. I thought it was stupid and brutal."
"Our guys are just so great. We're very lucky, in all the craziness, they're great. I was playing with Eric Alexander and Ben Watson at a golf tournament and it was really hot and they both kept asking, "Are you OK?" That was really thoughtful of them. They don't have to say anything to me. Last year when I was receiving treatment for a minor foot injury, I would sit in the training room but stay out of the way. They didn't have to ask me how I was, but many did. It wasn't like I had a notebook and was taking down notes about who was being nice to me. They all really cared."
Perks of owning the Patriots
"Access, primarily - but not the kind you'd think. Access to help others."
"We travel as much as we can with the kids. This summer we went to Tanzania with two of (our sons') families. We've done Kenya, South Africa, Europe, Egypt, South America, Greece. When we went to Arizona (Super Bowl XLII This article or section contains information about a sporting event or team. ), the women rented a bus and we took the children to see the land and (Native American) culture. Those are our best memories, when it's not so right in front of you."
"The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Times did a story awhile back and named all the different families that moved out, like the Morgans. The next generation didn't stay and it laid a guilt trip on those who left. But like any good organization, Worcester continues to survive."
"Sad and incredible place of resilience."
Robert Kraft on ...
"She's my sweetheart. I'm a lucky guy to be married 45 years to my sweetheart. ... I don't want to detract any of the attention away from her because no one deserves it more than she does."
A person who takes photographs, especially as a profession; a photographer. : Photography by Tom Rettig
CUTLINE: (1) Myra Kraft in her office at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. (2) At left, Myra Kraft sits near a portrait of her father. (Photo courtesy of Myra Kraft.) (3) Above, her parents, Jacob and Frances Hiatt. (4) Myra and Bob Kraft, clockwise from left, hosting a party for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston in their Brookline home; (5) with the Patriots logo in their backyard before a Super Bowl ring party; (6) at Gillette Stadium. (Photos courtesy of The Boston Globe.) (7) Last year, Kraft sorted food during a community service project at the Greater Boston Food Bank with Hallie Swearingen, left, and Lindsey Campopiano. (Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe.) (8) The Kraft family on vacation in Kenya, Africa, about 27 years ago. (Photo courtesy of Myra Kraft.) (9) The walls in Kraft's Gillette Stadium office are covered from floor to ceiling with photos, plaques and mementos.