Robert Kraft and New England Patriots consider expanded leadership program

Sports fans and NFL enthusiasts alike will understand that home office representation still has a long way to go. Between the NFL anthem protests about police brutality and the executive-level scandals surrounding racially-motivated front offices, you don’t have to tell anyone in the sports industry that there are still progress to be made on racial equality.

Josh and Robert Kraft work together to take fairness to a new level through the New Balance Sports Leadership and Administration program at UMass. Josh Kraft said of his decision to take on the role of CEO of the new UMass program: “We need to do a better job of providing opportunities for everyone to enter this profession. “

Bringing Social Justice to UMass Boston

Josh Kraft is the President of Kraft Family Philanthropies and as such has become one of the main faces of the program. Son of sports legend Robert Kraft, Josh Kraft says he hopes he can “help those looking to break into” what he considers to be a “very competitive field.”

For his part, Josh Kraft has already started working both in person and on Zoom to connect with students through the program. Discussions include lunch with students, advice meetings, and even tours of places like Gillette Stadium. Josh Kraft said of his efforts, “In any way I can support them, give them feedback, answer any questions they may have, I’m happy to do so. “

Only in his third year, the Sport Leadership and Administration Program at UMass is the only one available to undergraduates at a four-year public university. In 2021, the program reached its highest enrollment on record with 91 students enrolled for the class. Robert kraft hopes the program will help develop future leaders in sports management while promoting inclusion and diversity.

Joseph N. Cooper is the J. Keith Motley Chair of ALS. Cooper praised the work done by the Kraft family. Cooper highlighted the professional background and philanthropic history of the Kraft family as one of the primary reasons for supporting the program. Cooper said of Robert Kraft’s local philanthropic efforts: “This is in direct alignment not only with UMass Boston but also with New Balance in terms of our commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. “

The meetings between Kraft and Cooper have been described as “invaluable” moments of sharing wisdom with conversations focused on networking, relationship building and skill building. Of course, conversations revolve around the New England Patriots as well. Cooper says of the student body, “Obviously they’re Patriots fans and they’re just excited to meet someone of his stature and really learn. “

Working with UMass won’t be the first step towards diversity in athletics for Robert Kraft and his philanthropic team. Kraft Sports + Entertainment established the first Robert K. Kraft scholarship reward BIPOC candidates with professional experience in the industry.


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Kevin E. Boling