Published On: Sun, Oct 13th, 2013

Robert Kraft Goes Five Fold On His Offer To Help Progeria Research

Kraft has guaranteed that he will equal, penny for penny, the first $500, 000 donated towards research into the Progeria disease that causes premature aging in children.

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Robert Kraft / Getty

Robert Kraft has always been known as a man with a big heart when it comes to philanthropy. And once again he has proved it by increasing his planned gift to the Progeria Research Foundation already a generous one hundred thousand dollars to five times that amount.

This gesture came about after Kraft was given a preview of a documentary produced by HBO entitled “Life According to Sam.” The documentary describes the life of high school student Sam Berns, who suffers from  Progeria.

Progeria, whose full medical description is  Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, describes a rare genetic condition,  characterized by an accelerating aging process in children. Currently there are estimated to be less than 250 Progeria sufferers who have survived the disease into adulthood, with many of the children diagnosed as being Progeria sufferers succumbing to heart attacks and even strokes, which can begin to onset from as early as the age of five. The average life expectancy of a Progeria sufferer is just thirteen years, according to information provided by the Progeria Research Foundation.

While many people in America and throughout the world are unaware of the disease, thanks to the tremendous efforts by the Progeria Research Foundation and cooperation from HBO, public awareness is liable to grow considerably thanks to their planned showing of the documentary “Life According to Sam”, which will make his television debut on Monday, October the 21st . The documentary will give details of how the  foundation as well as Sam and his family is pursuing treatment for the disease.

With the documentary due to be shown on peak time television, the PRF was hoping to raise a considerable sum of money towards research. Now thanks to Robert Kraft’s tremendously generous offer the American public has been given a tremendous incentive to dig deep into their hearts and their pockets to help find a cure for this cruel disease which only affects the young and helpless. Kraft has also promised to donate the costs of clinical trials that hopefully will lead to finding a cure for Progeria.

 

Robert Kraft was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. After completing high school, Kraft went on to graduate from Columbia University, later going on to receive his Masters from Harvard Business School in 1965.

Kraft began his professional career working with the packaging company Rand-Whitney Group, owned by his father-in-law Jacob Hiatt. Robert Kraft is still involved in the company’s management till this day. serving as company chairman.

In 1972, Kraft diversified his activities a little through the founding of International Forest Products, which traded physical paper commodities, with the two combined companies going on to comprise the largest privately held paper and packaging concern in the United States as well as enjoying a considerable export market.

Robert Kraft has been a lover of American football in general and the New England Patriots in particular for more than forty years.

After a long-term struggle to gain control of the team, Robert Kraft eventually succeeded in 1994 at the same time managing to ensure that the Patriot’s home would remain in Boston, with the previous owner St. Louis businessman, James Orthwein being on the verge of transferring the team to his home city.

In two thousand and two the New England Patriots  moved to a brand-new stadium, with the initial construction costs of $350 million being privately financed by Robert Kraft. Initially the stadium was known as CMGI Field, before Gillette acquired the naming rights.

In 2007, Kraft invested an additional $375 million to develop the land around Gillette Stadium, creating an entertainment center as well as outdoor shopping and restaurants

In Kraft’s first 18 seasons as team owner the Patriots have won 193 regular season games and 19 playoff games, including three Super Bowls.

Apart from his business and sporting activities Robert Kraft has always been active in the field of philanthropy, reported to have donated over $100 million to a variety of philanthropic causes both in America and in Israel, focused around education, health care and the furtherance of sport for youth among other causes.

Among the many institutions that the Kraft’s have supported over the years are Columbia University, Harvard Business School, Boston College, Tufts University, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

In Israel the Kraft family have been supporters of the establishment of an American Football league, including the building of the Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem as well as paying most of the costs of establishing the Family Israel Football League.

Robert Kraft’s gesture to match donations to the Progeria Research Foundation is not the first time, even this year, that he has encouraged donations to worthwhile causes by matching them. In the wake of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack in April of this year, Kraft announced he would match the first $100, 000 in donations made for the victims of the attack through his New England Patriots Charitable Foundation.

 

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