The Genesis Prize Foundation has announced Robert Kraft, philanthropist and owner of the New England Patriots football team, as its 2019 Genesis Prize Laureate.
The annual $1 million award honors individuals for their outstanding professional achievement and commitment to Jewish values and the Jewish people. As with previous laureates, Kraft has chosen to forgo the $1 million monetary award so that the funds can be used to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice, "as well as attempts to de-legitimize the State of Israel" — issues Kraft has spoken out about and donated generously in support of for decades.
Noting the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the United States and Europe over the last few years, Kraft recently pledged to donate all proceeds from a benefit match between his Major League Soccer team, the New England Revolution, and Chelsea Football Club (UK), along with a personal contribution of $1 million, in support of initiatives to fight prejudice and hate crimes, including anti-Semitism.
"I am honored to receive the Genesis Prize and thank the Genesis Prize Foundation for its recognition and willingness to direct my prize monies to such worthy causes," said Kraft. "This award amplifies my ability to raise both awareness and additional funds to fight anti-Semitism, attempts to de-legitimize Israel, and other forms of prejudices. It is important that we continue to support organizations that focus on combating prejudices by building bridges and uniting people of different backgrounds."
"I applaud Robert Kraft's decision to focus his energies and the Genesis Prize award funds on combating anti-Semitism, the de-legitimization of Israel, and racially-motivated hate crimes," said Jewish Agency for Israel chair Isaac Herzog, who heads the Genesis Prize selection committee. "The rising tide of anti-Semitism is a threat not only to Jews, but to the very fabric of any democratic society where it is allowed to take place. We cannot be blind to history's lessons. The time to act is now."