Robert K. Kraft was awarded Carnegie Hall’s sixth Medal of Excellence at their benefit gala at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on Thursday, June 13. Kraft has long been associated with success in business as well as philanthropic enterprises.
The Medal of Excellence honored both of these admirable aspects of Kraft’s character. “We’re delighted to honor my great friend, Bob Kraft by presenting him with Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence,” said Sanford I. Weill, Chairman Emeritus of the event. “Bob has made such a remarkable impact on the lives of so many, complementing his great success in business with a strong commitment to giving back to the community. This is exemplified by Bob’s fortitude in having a designated member of the New England Patriots football staff to work with each of his football players on the importance of philanthropy and giving back to society. Now that is leadership and that is vision. We’re proud to recognize Bob for his great spirit of generosity and his friendship to the Hall.”
Kraft’s business accomplishments are almost too many to count. He began his career with the Rand-Whitney paper packaging company, eventually acquiring the entire company. From there, he continued to expand, founding the International Forest Products. He next set his sights on sports, acquiring the New England Patriots football team and founding the New England Revolution soccer club, both two of the most successful teams in their respective leagues.
Kraft is also on the board of directors for Viacom, on the executive committee of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a trustee at Columbia, Boston College, and Carnegie Hall, and an inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Science. The list goes on and on.
Despite the enormity of his financial and personal success, Kraft has remained grounded, becoming just as renowned for his philanthropic enterprises as he is for his business ventures. In the last four decades he has donated over $100 million to various causes, including his most recent contribution of $20 million to Partners HealthCare to launch an initiative designed to improve access to quality healthcare throughout New England. Kraft and the New England Patriots also collectively raised $617,000 to be donated to the One Fund, an organization founded to help those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.
“I have such respect and admiration for Carnegie Hall,” said Mr. Kraft, “The venue is one of the preeminent concert halls in the world and their board of trustees continues to show great leadership and vision with their wide support of community programs. Their programs are giving people of all ages and backgrounds, particularly children, exposure to the arts and new opportunities to explore their potential as musicians. It is an honor to receive this award and I look forward to a very entertaining night.”
As if all of his much-deserved success and gracious generosity wasn’t enough, he’s also a friend of Elton John – who performed Robert and Myra Kraft’s wedding song at their 40th anniversary as well as appearing as the surprise guest artist at this year’s benefit gala.
The event was attended by over 500 guests and raised more than $5 million. All proceeds will support Carnegie Hall’s artistic, education, and community programs.