By Zach Baru
The Kraft family provide an excellent example of how a professional sports franchise and its fans can work together to achieve more than just sports and entertainment. Last week, the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation came to Springfield, Massachusetts to pledge to match up to $100,000 of donations made to the United Way to help the victims of the June 1 tornado.
As if that was not good enough for a region that was hit by the tornado just three weeks prior, the Patriots returned to Springfield three days later for a free youth football clinic. It is efforts like these that make the Kraft family and the Patriots a model for all franchises, showing the great bond that can be made between a franchise and its community.
The charitable efforts the Patriots have made throughout New England is a great example of what reaching out to the community can do for a franchise. They literally have become part of the region, making it so much easier for the fans who do not necessarily like football to still root for the team. Starting the foundation in 1994 was key for establishing the team as not just a source of entertainment, but a part of the community as well.
And for communities like Springfield and Monson, among others that were hit hard by the tornado, the Patriots will always be a part of the community. It is a great concept that the Kraft family perfects so well, and really makes their franchise more than just a football team, but an important part of the entire region.
Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.