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Myra Kraft, a powerful figure in the world of philanthropy, passed away yesterday at the age of 68 after a long battle with cancer. Although she may be best known as the wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Myra used the fame that came with her last name to create a lasting legacy of philanthropy.
In an obituary in today's Boston Globe, that legacy was recounted in great detail. The piece recounted how Kraft manned phone-banks for fundraising drives for countless charities, rather than just staying in the background as a benefactor. She was also chair of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston and of the Boys & Girls Club of Boston. Her hands on approach to philanthropy was so effective that the Boys & Girls Club waived its normal term limits to keep her on board.
According to the Globe article, Myra was concerned that, when her husband bought the Patriots in 1994, the large amount of money spent and borrowed on behalf of the team would hurt their giving. This did not happen. On the contrary, the couple's philanthropy increased. Their last major gift as a couple was a $20 million donation to Partners HealthCare this year. This donation was used to pay off the student loans of doctors in exchange for them working at community health centers for the needy.
Myra was a powerful force in the philanthropic sector. By the time she reached adulthood, she had already donated more than $100 million to various different causes. Her work will surely be missed, not only by those who knew her personally, but by those who benefited from her generosity. To read the full obituary of Myra Kraft, visit the Boston Globe online.