New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is donating $24 million to Harvard Business School to establish a fellowship benefitting young leaders with great potential but limited funds to attend his alma mater , according to university officials.
Kraft, a 1965 graduate of the business school, and his son Jonathan, a 1990 graduate, have made the Robert K. Kraft Family Fellowship Fund the school’s largest endowed fellowship, according to a statement from Harvard.
“Being part of HBS changed my life, and I am deeply grateful for the chance to help others benefit from the transformational power of this experience,” Robert Kraft said in the statement. “Our family is proud of the extraordinary difference that our fellowship recipients make in the world.”
In 2015, the Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation donated $20 million to establish an endowment at HBS to fund research in personalized medicine.
Growing up in in Brookline, Kraft dreamed of attending Harvard Business School, according to the statement. While an undergraduate at Columbia University, Kraft visited the business school campus often. He built a relationship with then-Assistant Dean Richard Chapin, who encouraged Kraft to enroll, which he ultimately did with the help of a fellowship. Later, Jonathan Kraft attended the business school and in 2000 established his own fellowship fund there.
The new fund will “specifically support students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who are first generation college students or from other underrepresented student backgrounds,” according to the statement.
The school’s dean, Srikant Datar, said the fellowship will help expand opportunities for a more diverse group of students to attend the Ivy League graduate school.
“As HBS strives to ensure business is a force for good in society, it is increasingly important to educate leaders who anticipate the impact of their decisions on employees, customers, and their communities,” Datar said in the statement. “Having the voices of fellow students from a range of cultures, industries, and socioeconomic backgrounds in the classroom broadens everyone’s perspectives on the real-world challenges they will face as business leaders.”