Myra Kraft, the wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and a long-time philanthropist, has died at the age of 68. The NFL team said in a statement on its website that she died Wednesday morning after a battle with cancer. The statement said “we are all heartbroken” and added that the philanthropic community has “suffered a great loss.”
Kraft was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and was the daughter of the late Worcester philanthropist Jacob Hiatt. She was a 1964 graduate of Brandeis University. Myra is known to have intervened in the operations of her husband’s teams only once, when shortly after the 1996 NFL Draft, she learned that the Patriots’ fifth-round choice, Christian Peter of Nebraska, had a lengthy history of violence against women.
At Myra’s insistence, the Patriots relinquished Peter’s rights only a week after the draft.
Kraft, who is listed as by Boston magazine as one of the 20 Most Powerful Women in Boston, is president and director of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation and trustee of the Robert K. and Myra H. Kraft Foundation. She served on the boards of directors of the American Repertory Theatre, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, and Brandeis University. She and her husband have given millions of dollars to the Kraft Stadium for American football in Jerusalem.
In 1995, she became the first woman to chair the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, a position she held until 2002. The International Herald Tribune credits Kraft with “modeling a new form of engaged giving that is transforming the relationship between philanthropist and philanthropy.” The Boston Globe states that she is “forging a whole new form of engaged giving.”By: Pat Prescott
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