• Thursday, May 16, 2013

    Robert K. Kraft to Receive Carnegie Hall Medal of Excellence on Thursday, June 13 at the Waldorf Astoria

    Mr. Kraft, Founder, Chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group and Chairman and CEO of the New England Patriots, Recognized for Outstanding Leadership in Business and Philanthropy

    Carnegie Hall announced today that Robert K. Kraft—Founder, Chairman, and CEO of The Kraft Group and Chairman and CEO of the New England Patriots —will receive the Carnegie Hall Medal of Excellence at a gala benefit on Thursday, June 13 at 6:30 p.m. at The Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom. The award, recognizing Mr. Kraft’s outstanding leadership in business and philanthropy, will be presented by Sanford I. Weill, Chairman of Carnegie Hall’s Board of Trustees. Scott Pelley, the managing editor for CBS Evening News and correspondent for 60 Minutes, will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

    “We’re delighted to honor my great friend, Bob Kraft by presenting him with Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence,” said Sanford I. Weill. “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.”

    “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.”

    Alongside Mr. Kraft’s great achievements in the worlds of business and sports, the Kraft family has been recognized for more than four decades as one of New England's most philanthropic families, donating over $100 million in support of varied causes, including youth and family initiatives, education, and healthcare throughout New England and New York. Most recently, the Kraft family pledged $20 million to Partners HealthCare to launch the Kraft Center for Community Health, an initiative designed to improve access to quality healthcare at community health centers. While launching in Boston, the program is designed to expand to community health centers nationally. Mr. Kraft also recently announced that he and the New England Patriots had raised $617,000—in honor of Boston’s “617” area code—to The One Fund, a central resource established to help those affected by the tragic events at the Boston Marathon.

    Carnegie Hall’s 2013 Medal of Excellence Gala is chaired by Sanford I. Weill, Chairman Emeritus, Citigroup; Brian T. Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America; Anne M. Finucane, Global Strategy and Marketing Officer, Bank of America; Jerral W. Jones, Owner, President and General Manager, Dallas Cowboys; Edward C. Forst, Senior Advisor, Fenway Partners LLC; Jack Connors, Jr., Chairman Emeritus, Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Inc.; Ronald O. Perelman, Chairman and CEO, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc.; Terry J. Lundgren, Chairman, President and CEO, Macy’s, Inc.; and Lowell C. McAdam, Chairman and CEO, Verizon.

    The June 13 gala includes a cocktail reception and dinner, followed by the award ceremony. A surprise guest artist will perform as part of the evening’s celebratory program. All proceeds from this event benefit Carnegie Hall’s artistic, education, and community programs. Gala Tables are priced at $100,000, $50,000, and $30,000 and include a table of ten guests at the Gala Awards Dinner. To reserve gala tables, please call the Gala Office at 212-903-9679 or email specialevents@carnegiehall.org.

    Robert K. Kraft is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of The Kraft Group, based in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Kraft Group is the holding company of the Kraft family's many businesses, with interests concentrated in six areas: manufacturing of paper and packaging, international distribution of forest products, sports and entertainment, real estate development, private equity investing and philanthropy.

    Mr. Kraft began his business career with the Rand-Whitney Group, Inc. of Worcester, Mass., a company that converted paper into packaging for various industries. He later acquired the company. In 1972, he founded International Forest Products, a trader of paper commodities that now does business in more than 90 countries. International Forest Products is the leading exporter in Massachusetts and consistently ranks among the Top 30 exporters in North America. Together, Rand-Whitney and International Forest Products comprise one of the largest privately-owned paper and packaging companies in the world. The Kraft Group’s holdings include the Rand-Whitney Group, Rand-Whitney Containerboard, International Forest Products, the New England Patriots, the New England Revolution, Gillette Stadium, Patriot Place and a portfolio of more than 100 private equity investments.

    Mr. Kraft is widely recognized as one of the most successful owners in professional sports. As Chairman and CEO of the New England Patriots (National Football League) and Investor/Operator of the New England Revolution (Major League Soccer), Mr. Kraft has helped change the culture of professional sports in New England by delivering 10 conference titles and three league championships in the past 17 years. In addition to building two championship-driven franchises, Mr. Kraft has committed the resources necessary to create a world-class sports and entertainment complex with the privately-financed construction of Gillette Stadium as well as the development of Patriot Place. Gillette Stadium is the only stadium of its kind to be built without public funding and without the use of personal seat licenses (PSLs).

    A lifelong New England sports fan, Mr. Kraft began attending Boston Patriots games during their infancy in the 1960s. When the franchise moved to Foxborough in 1971, he purchased season tickets for his family, an account he maintained for the next 23 years before purchasing the team in 1994. Since then, the Patriots have won more games, including more playoff games (20), more conference championships (6) and more Super Bowls (3) than any other team in the NFL. The Patriots also own two records for the longest consecutive win streaks in NFL history with 21 straight victories (including playoff games) and 10 straight victories in the playoffs. Since 2001, the Patriots’ winning percentage is not only the highest in the NFL, but also the highest among any team in the five largest professional sports leagues in the U.S. (MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL and NHL).

    A native of Brookline, Mass., Mr. Kraft attended public schools before matriculating to Columbia on an academic scholarship. Upon graduation, he received a fellowship to Harvard Business School, where he earned a master's degree in business administration.

    Mr. Kraft serves on the board of directors for Viacom. He is also on the executive committee of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he established the Robert K. Kraft Family Blood Donor Center. He is a trustee emeritus at Columbia as well as a trustee of both Boston College and Carnegie Hall. He has also received honorary degrees from several colleges and universities. In 2012, Mr. Kraft became the first NFL owner in the 43-year history of the honor to be selected for the George Halas Award by the Pro Football Writers of America. The award is presented annually to the NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed. In 2011, he was inducted into the 231st class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious learned societies. With his induction, he joins the likes of many other Patriots, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and John Hancock. In 2006, he was awarded the NCAA's highest honor when he received the Theodore Roosevelt Award, which is presented annually to a distinguished citizen of national reputation with outstanding accomplishments.

    About Carnegie Hall
    Since 1891, New York City's Carnegie Hall has set the international standard for excellence in performance. Its walls have echoed with applause for the world's outstanding classical music artists, as they have for the greatest popular musicians and many prominent dancers, authors, social crusaders, and world figures who have appeared on its stages.

    Today, the venue remains a preeminent concert hall and a vital, active cultural destination for performers and audiences. Carnegie Hall presents more than 170 performances by the world's finest artists each season on its three great stages—the renowned Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, intimate Weill Recital Hall, and innovative Zankel Hall—with offerings ranging from orchestral concerts, chamber music, and solo recitals to jazz, world, and popular music. In addition to Carnegie Hall’s presentations, the venue is also home to over 500 independently produced events each year. Complementing its performance activities, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute creates extensive music education and community programs that will serve more than 400,000 people in the New York City metropolitan region, across the United States, and around the world annually next season, playing a central role in Carnegie Hall's commitment to making great music accessible to as many people as possible. For more information about Carnegie Hall, please visit carnegiehall.org.

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