Robert Kraft donates $6 million to build sports campus in Jerusalem


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and a noted Jewish philanthropist, has donated $6 million to create the Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem.

The contribution is to “advance Jerusalem as an international sports hub,” the office of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement issued Tuesday announcing the gift. It is part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem and the 20th Maccabiah Games, an Olympics-style event that will be hosted in Jerusalem in July.

The campus in Emek Haarazim, in the northwest part of the Israeli capital, is scheduled to open in the summer.

Established in collaboration with the Jerusalem Foundation and the Jerusalem Development Company-Moriah, the campus will include soccer fields, a dual-use U.S. regulation football and soccer field, locker rooms and administrative offices, a central pedestrian thoroughfare, parking and an access road, with plans to add other facilities.

“The Kraft Family Sports Campus allows me to invest in two things that I have always been very passionate about: My love of Israel and my support for youth athletics and team sports, especially American football,” Kraft said.

He added that team sports “help unify those who might otherwise be divided by cultural differences” and are “proven to develop leadership.”

The Kraft Family Field in Sacher Park in Jerusalem already plays host to American football.

Kraft, 74, is the chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group, a holding company with assets in paper, packaging, real estate and sports teams. He has donated over $100 million to numerous institutions and organizations, many of them Jewish.

Barkat said Kraft “has been an unwavering partner in the growth and development of Jerusalem.”

“This gift, which helps celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification, furthers Robert and his family’s commitment to the capital of Israel, and to enhancing sport and particularly football in Jerusalem,” the mayor said.

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