The owner of the New England Patriots has been announced as the winner of the £785,000 ($1 million) prize once known as the ‘Jewish Nobel’ – following in the steps of Natalie Portman, Sir Anish Kapoor and Michael Bloomberg.
Robert Kraft, whose private company is one of the largest in the United States, was announced as the next recipient of the Genesis Prize, which will be presented to him by the new Israeli prime minister in June.
The prize aims to honour those who make an outstanding contribution to humanity, with past winners including fellow philanthropist Michael Bloomberg, A-list actress Natalie Portman and renowned British sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor.
Kraft, whose net worth is estimated to be around £5.18bn ($6.6 billion), has extensive investments and operations in the US and Israel in industries including forestry, paper and packaging manufacturing, container shipping and real estate development.
However, he is best known for his sports and entertainment division, which owns and operates Gillette Stadium, the New England Patriots football team and the New England Revolution soccer team, who will play Chelsea in May. The proceeds of the match will go to initiatives tackling antisemitism.
“Robert Kraft has spent most of his life advocating for a more just society, tolerance and inclusiveness,” said Stan Polovets, chair of The Genesis Prize Foundation.
“He is one of the world’s most generous philanthropists whose charitable giving reflects the Jewish value of tikkun olam (repairing the world). Our foundation looks forward to working with Robert and leveraging the power of sports to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of hate and prejudice.”
Kraft chose to forgo the $1 million monetary award so that funds can be granted, in his honour, to initiatives combating antisemitism and other forms of prejudice as well as attempts to delegitimise the State of Israel.
Jewish Agency chair Isaac Herzog applauded Kraft’s decision to release the money, adding: “The time to act is now.”
Accepting the award, Kraft said: “It amplifies my ability to raise both awareness and additional funds to fight antisemitism, attempts to delegitimise Israel and other forms of prejudices.
“It is important that we continue to support organisations that focus on combatting prejudices by building bridges and uniting people of different backgrounds.”