For Robert Kraft, One Particular Donation is About More Than Just Money

To say that NFL player Damar Hamlin isn’t having a great start to his 2023 is, at this point, probably a bit of an understatement.

Football fans – and indeed, much of the world by this point – watched as Hamlin collapsed on the field during a Monday Night Football game. It was a scary sight to see someone who is otherwise healthy fall into such a state. While he was quickly taken off the field and looked after by some of the best doctors and medical professionals in the industry, it was still harrowing and it was a sight that touched many.

That list includes Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots. Kraft and his beloved team donated $18,003 to an online fundraiser for the player, who had collected more than $6.3 million just a few short days after the incident. But for Kraft, this particular donation was about more than just money. It was a symbolic gesture that was important to him in a number of different ways, all of which are worth exploring.

Robert Kraft and Damar Hamlin: An Overview

When discussing a charitable contribution made by a billionaire such as Robert Kraft, you may be wondering why he donated just over $18,000 in particular. The answer is simple: it directly relates back to Kraft’s faith, something that has been a major part of his life up to this point.

Robert Kraft is Jewish and the hi in that particular religion. It means “chai,” which is another way of saying “life.”

It’s also important to note that Hamlin’s jersey number is “3.” Therefore, the significance of a donation of $18,003.00 suddenly becomes clear.

For a period of time, Hamlin remained in critical condition under the care of medical professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He has since been released from the hospital and is said to be on the road to a full recovery.

In the month leading up to his cardiac arrest incident, he had set up a GoFundMe page online to help raise money for a holiday toy drive. The initial goal that was set was a modest $2,500. The purpose of that fundraiser was then shifted to help support both he and his family through what is obviously a difficult time. 

Robert Kraft has not only been known in the past for his dedication to a wide range of Jewish causes. Just earlier in the same season, he spent money to support an add that encouraged NFL fans across the country to “stand up against Jewish hate.”

That ad came at a particularly important time, when NFL fans began to question whether or not the league conflicted with the Jewish values they hold dear. A Rabbi named Shai Held even weighed in on his own perspective on a post on his personal Facebook page. 

Robert Kraft was born in Brookline, Massachusetts in the summer of 1941. His father was a leader at Congregation Kehillath Israel in the area, and had dreams of his son becoming a rabbi. While that didn’t necessarily happen, you’d be hard-pressed to say that things didn’t work out for Robert Kraft. In addition to being one of the richest people on the planet, he’s also a successful entrepreneur and the owner of what many consider to be the most successful team in the history of professional sports. It’s safe to say that things worked out in a satisfactory way. 

All told, Robert Kraft has a long and storied history with professional sports that pre-dates his ownership of the New England Patriots. In 1974, he and five colleagues purchased the Boston Lobsters of World Team Tennis (otherwise known as WTT for short). After that team ceased to exist, he attempted to purchase both the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Celtics, although he was outbid by others.

But it was his love of the Patriots that would cement his legacy. In the 1980s, he purchased a 10-year lease on a horse track that was located near the stadium where the Patriots played. This gave him some level of say over what could go on at the stadium itself. After a series of bad investments, the then-owner of the team let the stadium fall into bankruptcy. Kraft stepped in and purchased the stadium, which came with a significant lease on the team itself. This allowed him to prevent the team from moving to another city, which many would attempt to do over the years. 

Once Robert Kraft became the owner, the Patriots enjoyed a significant period of success for the first time in its history. Given the way things have been going for the past few seasons, that is one trend that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon. 

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