WASHINGTON – Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C., and the NFL Players Association have selected Robert Kraft, chairman and CEO of the New England Patriots, as the inaugural recipient of a new joint award.
The presentation of the NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award to Kraft took place during the 26th Annual Lombardi Gala Saturday in Washington, D.C.
The NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award was established to honor a leader in the sports industry whose life and family have been touched by cancer, and who encourages cancer research, prevention and treatment through awareness and philanthropy.
The connection between the NFL Players Association and Georgetown Lombardi has grown in the past few years, in part out of a shared connection to the legacy of legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi, who was treated for cancer at Georgetown University Hospital before succumbing to the disease in 1970. Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center is named in his memory.
DeMaurice F. Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, is serving as the honorary chair of the Lombardi Gala for the third year.
“Like many of us in the NFL community, Mr. Kraft has been personally affected by cancer,” says Smith.
In 2011, Kraft’s wife of 48 years,
“Despite his loss, Mr. Kraft has continued to be a leader on cancer awareness, research and treatment. We are thrilled to honor his achievements and dedication to fighting cancer on this special night,” Smith said.
Over the past four decades, the Kraft family has become known as one of New England's most philanthropic families, donating more than $100 million in support of local charities, as seen in Foxborough through Celebrate Volunteerism events in the community and civic affairs.
“Mr. Kraft is widely recognized as one of the most successful owners in professional sports, but he’s also a champion off the field,” says Georgetown Lombardi Director Louis M. Weiner, M.D. “We honor Kraft for his vision to recognize the need for generous community support for cancer research if we are to defeat this devastating set of diseases.”
Kraft is the founder, chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group, based in Foxborough. In addition to the Patriots, the Kraft Group’s holdings include the Rand-Whitney Group, Rand-Whitney Containerboard, International Forest Products, the New England Revolution, Gillette Stadium, Patriot Place and a portfolio of more than 100 private equity investing and philanthropy.
The 26th Annual Lombardi Gala was a black-tie dinner and dance that was open to the public. It featured a cocktail reception, silent auction and a popular annual raffle of a new 2013 Lexus. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the Gala will go to Georgetown Lombardi for cancer research, education and treatment.