There are big differences, and Meek Mill has made sure Mr. Kraft appreciates them too. “I said it to Robert the other day, ‘Someone as powerful as you, you have done so much good in the world and brung so much to America, you see what they did to you,’” Meek Mill said. “I said to him, ‘Imagine someone that comes from poverty in the ghetto who doesn’t have people to speak up for them on their behalf. It happens in my community every day.’”
Mr. Kraft grew up in Brookline, Mass., loving sports, though joining teams was difficult because he couldn’t play on the Sabbath. He liked the Boston Braves baseball team.
He went to college at Columbia, on scholarship. As a senior, he went back to Boston for a football game and spotted Myra Hiatt in a delicatessen. He waited until her date went to the restroom and then introduced himself. He went to the library on the Brandeis campus the next day to look her up, and they married the following year.
Myra finished college, and they had four sons; three work for the family business.
After attending Harvard Business School, Mr. Kraft went to work for his father-in-law. Mr. Kraft had his own vision for the company, and left but eventually purchased the business and began to build a fortune in paper and packaging. As he did, he and Mrs. Kraft established themselves as a power couple in Boston’s charity scene. The family has given away “hundreds of millions of dollars,” a Patriots spokesman said.
Foundations backed by Mr. Kraft are known to make unexpected calls to small organizations in which Mr. Kraft pledges a gift ranging from $100,000 to a few million dollars, urging the nonprofit group to create donor-match campaigns.
A few years ago, Lisa Goldblatt Grace, a founder of My Life My Choice, received such a call, from an executive at the Patriots Foundation. The mission of My Life My Choice is to support young survivors of sexual exploitation and the commercial sex industry. The foundation gave the group $100,000, with a matching incentive. The money allowed the group to hire another mentor, Ms. Grace said.