Robert Kraft is perhaps best known as the founder of the Kraft Group and the owner of the New England Patriots. However, he has long been a dedicated philanthropist, using his wealth to fund multiple worthy causes in the United States and abroad. His most recent gift is a record-setting $50 million to Massachusetts General Hospital, which will be used to support health equity as MGH strives to find ways to provide the care that minority patients need in order to lead healthy lives.
The donation isn’t the first that Kraft has given to support Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2011, Kraft helped to establish the Kraft Center for Community Health in order to help generate solutions to community health problems and ensure these solutions were executed on a local level. In 2018, Kraft funded the Community Care in Reach program to provide mobile units that would enable MGH to provide clinical care and harm reduction services to vulnerable individuals, specifically those impacted by opioid addiction. Even so, Kraft’s most recent donation is unique not just because of the amount of money given but also because of its designated use. The $50 million will primarily be used to establish a permanent chair establish a permanent Endowed Chair in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The chair will address health disparities in clinical care; it’s first chair, the medical Director of the hospital’s Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Center, already has experience with how underfunding effects equitable healthcare as sickle cell disease primarily impacts people of color, including African-Americans and those of Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Indian ancestry. The new program, like the Kraft Center for Community Health, is designed to be replicable so medical centers throughout the United States can see how it works and thus implement similar life-saving programs of their own.
Furthermore, the $50 million donation will also make it possible for Massachusetts General Hospital to expand its blood donor center. Already one of the largest in the nation, the center currently provides an eye-popping 75,000 blood components every single year and accepts not only blood donations but also donations of platelets and double red cells. As part of the expansion, the center will be able to put a priority of creating a diverse donor base to ensure that patients from all ethnic groups have access to the right blood type should the need arise. Additionally, a portion of this funding would go to help the Kraft Center for Community Health to enable it to reach it to not only continue providing top-tier, affordable healthcare for those in need but also develop a new generation of clinical leaders who know how to offer direct services to needy populations.
Kraft has been involved in helping Massachusetts General Hospital for more than forty years, not only through direct donations but also by co-chairing the Campaign for Mass General, which is designed to raise $3 billion in support of patient care, health equity, community health, research, and educational programs. Jonathan and Patti Kraft, Kraft’s son and daughter-in-law, also serve as co-chairs on the campaign. MGH is proud to partner with the Kraft family and is grateful for the help and support they have offered over the years. On receipt of Kraft’s most recent gift, MGH President David Brown, MD expressed his gratitude for the Kraft family’s generosity while explaining that the gift would enable MGH to support more patients than ever before. Vice-President of Equity ad Community Health at MGH, Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH, stated that the gift would enable the hospital to offer comprehensive medical care to sickle cell disease patients that would not have been available to them in the past. Current Executive Director for the Kraft Center for Community Health, Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, called the gift “visionary”, stating that it would impact the most vulnerable, strengthen health care, eliminate health disparities and improve health outcomes.
Robert Kraft is a philanthropist with a long record of donating to needy causes. In addition to supporting Massachusetts General Hospital, he has also donated to non-profits involved in education, child and women’s issues, and youth sports, and more. Even so, it is clear that MGH has a special place in his heart, and he is eager to see the hospital expand its top-tier services to benefit needy patients of all walks of life. Shortly after his record-breaking donation, he stated that he considers MGH to be one of the greatest hospitals in the world, but later explains that, like many medical professionals, he has been troubled to see that healthcare inequalities are making it impossible for many to receive needed care and treatment. His goal is to not only fund a leading medical center so it can address inequalities in healthcare but to also spread awareness of healthcare-related equity issues to inspire others to take steps to rectify these so that each person can receive high-quality healthcare and treatment regardless of their skin color or ethnic background.
Learn more about Robert Kraft here: https://www.crunchbase.com/person/robert-kraft