Throughout the 2022 season, the Kraft family, the New England Patriots Foundation and Gillette recognized 17 local volunteers with the “Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award.” The honorees were celebrated for going above and beyond to support nonprofit organizations in New England communities.
As part of this recognition, the foundation will present a $5,000 donation to the nonprofit organization represented by each honoree. The Patriots Difference Makers received a pair of tickets to attend the Patriots final regular season home game on Jan. 1 against the Miami Dolphins and participated in a pregame ceremony.
“It is hard to measure or fully appreciate the positive impact that these volunteers regularly make in their communities,” said Robert Kraft, Patriots Chairman and CEO. “They are truly making the world a better place and deserve to be recognized for their many contributions. We have been celebrating volunteerism for many decades and will continue to use our platform to promote their work in hopes of inspiring others to do the same.”
Christine Lai of Greenwich was selected as a 2022 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for her commitment to Special Education Legal Fund. As part of this recognition, the Kraft family, the New England Patriots Foundation and Gillette will make a $5,000 donation to support the nonprofit.
Special Education Legal Fund (S.E.L.F.) helps economically challenged families of children with learning disabilities to navigate the special education system. S.E.L.F. provides grants of up to $5,000 per child for legal representation to help families achieve better learning and development outcomes. S.E.L.F.’s goal is to level the playing field in the special education system so that no child with a learning disability falls between the cracks due to legal or economic challenges.
Following over a decade of educational challenges for her own son, Christine Lai dedicated herself to making special education and services for people with intellectual disabilities more accessible and understandable to all families regardless of economic status.
“Throughout my life, I have been blessed to be given opportunities to give back,” Lai said in a release. “Receiving this recognition is an especially incredible honor for me because of the legacy of the Kraft family and the Patriots Foundation in volunteer work and community service.”
In four years, S.E.L.F. has provided over $400K in legal assistance grants to over 100 families and educated thousands more via direct community outreach programs and informational content on its website. Christine is a woman of purpose on a mission to help as many families and children as possible achieve the best possible educational outcomes.
The Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award is part of the foundation’s Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, designed to educate fans about the need for volunteering, highlight deserving volunteers from across the region and inspire Patriots fans to become lifelong volunteers.
“There’s no better example of the ‘Best a Man Can Get’ than the 17 honorees who are being recognized as 2022 Patriots Difference Makers,” said Kara Buckley, Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs, P&G Gillette. “These everyday heroes work tirelessly to improve the lives of those around them and have strengthened our community in many ways. We are grateful that our partners at the Kraft Family and New England Patriots Foundation are celebrating these individuals and inspiring others by example.”
This marks the 12th season of that the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award has been presented to volunteers from across New England. Since its inception, more than 180 individuals have received this award and over $890,000 has been donated to local nonprofit organizations.
To learn more about the program visit www.patriots.com/community.