Daily Sports Smile: New England Patriots provide special grants to local non-profit organizations

Detailed view of a New England Patriots helmet against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Jaylon Thompson
USA TODAY Sports+

The New England Patriots and the Kraft Family recognized local volunteers and community organizations this week. The Patriots honored 17 individuals for their commitment to serving the community. Each were celebrated in a virtual ceremony that was hosted by the Kraft Family.

This season, the organization selected an individual to be their Patriots Difference Maker of the Week. The team also gave a $5,000 grant to the non-profit that the individual supports. In total, the Patriots have provided over $100,000 throughout the year.

“This is the 11th consecutive year that we’ve celebrated volunteers with our Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a press release. “It’s an opportunity to thank New Englanders who go above and beyond to improve their local communities. This year, we are honored to recognize 17 community heroes and the causes that they represent.”

The Patriots Foundation also named their Patriots Difference Maker of the Year. The award went to local volunteer Richard Jacobs.

Jacobs is a local pilot that volunteers with Angel Flight Northeast. He helped fly patients to areas with specialized medical care. The Patriots also made a $20,000 donation to Angel Flight Northeast.

Other non-profits that were recognized were Camp Rising Sun, Catching Joy, Angels Anonymous, New England Adventures and Little Angels Service Dogs among others.

“We are excited to once again recognize local volunteers with our Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award,” Josh Kraft said in the press release. “Each of these honorees has their own unique story of community service and we are proud to shine a light on the tremendous work they are doing. We would like to thank all of this year’s Patriots Difference Makers for helping to build stronger New England communities.”

The Patriots will look to continue the 2021 season in the NFL playoffs. They face the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card Round on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. ET.