Massachusetts General Hospital receives record gift from Kraft family to benefit community health and health equity

BOSTON — Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a founding member of Mass General Brigham, has received a groundbreaking $50 million gift from Robert K. Kraft and The Kraft Family Foundation to address health care disparities caused by race, ethnicity, geography and economic situation. The gift is the largest in support of community health and health equity in MGH’s history and more than doubles the Kraft family’s previous commitments to ensure the highest quality equitable health care available in all communities served by MGH.

“On behalf of the hospital, I would like to express our profound gratitude to the Kraft family for this transformative and inspiring act of philanthropy, which is not only the largest of its kind in our history, but also the latest highlight in their already long history of support for MGH,” said David FM Brown, MD, president of MGH. “We are committed to serving our communities, and this incredibly generous gift puts MGH in a position to help even more patients in need of our care.”

The Kraft family gift will support the Robert K. Kraft Endowed Chair in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which addresses health disparities in clinical care at MGH and can be replicated outside the hospital walls.

The Chair will be chaired by the Medical Director of the Center for Comprehensive Sickle Cell Care at MGH. Research into sickle cell anemia (SCD), a serious genetic blood disorder that predominantly affects African-Americans (as well as Hispanics of Caribbean descent and people of Middle Eastern or Indian subcontinent descent), has historically been underfunded, leading to inequitable access to appropriate care for this debilitating, painful disease.

“By creating an endowed position focused on addressing disparities in clinical health care, Robert Kraft and the Kraft family are creating important pathways for patients living with sickle cell disease to receive comprehensive medical care that has not traditionally been available to them said Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH, Sumner M. Redstone Endowed Chair in Health Equity and Senior Vice President for Equity and Public Health at MGH. “I am grateful to the Kraft family for their long-standing commitment to improving health care access and outcomes for patients and residents of our community.”

The gift will also further contribute to the Kraft Center for Public Health, first established in 2011 thanks to funding from the longtime benefactor. Its mission to catalyze innovative solutions to frontline community health issues, implement local solutions and make them scalable to improve health outcomes for disadvantaged populations in Massachusetts – as well as nationally – will continue to make a difference the healthcare landscape with Kraft’s latest gift.

In 2018, the Kraft Center funded the Community Care in Reach program, a mobile unit providing clinical care and harm reduction services to people most affected by the opioid epidemic in the communities of Boston, Brockton, Springfield and Worcester.

“The Kraft family’s support is vital to the advancement of community health and health equity in the Commonwealth,” said Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, executive director of the Kraft Community Health Center and chief health officer and community health equity at Mass General Brigham. “This visionary gift will have a significant impact on the lives of the people and communities we serve, especially the most vulnerable, strengthening health care, improving health outcomes and eliminating health disparities.” I could not be more grateful to Mr. Kraft and the Kraft family for this gift to continue the meaningful and impactful work of the Kraft Center.”

The gift will also fund efforts to expand the Mass Blood Donor Center, one of the nation’s largest, to be renamed in honor of the Kraft family. Serving more than 12,000 donors annually and accepting donations of whole blood, platelets, and matched red blood cells, the Mass Total Blood Donor Center provides 75,000 blood components annually, or approximately 30% of the blood transfused, to patients at all Massachusetts General Brigham hospitals. The gift underscores the center’s goal to become the primary source of blood for patients treated at MGH and to create a diverse donor population to support the care of patients with sickle cell and other blood disorders that primarily affect minorities.

“I am proud to live in a city that is home to what I believe to be the greatest hospitals in the world, led by Mass General,” said Robert Kraft, chairman and CEO of Kraft Group. “Yet, I’ve always been concerned about health care inequities because I know there are many people in nearby communities who don’t have health care and don’t have access to the excellent care that others get here. This is what inspired my family and I to create the Kraft Center for Community Health in 2011. The center’s mission is to bring world-class health care to communities throughout the region, providing easy access to anyone in need through our mobile care units . That initial investment has paid dividends as Dr. Elsie Tavares and her team have saved lives and positively impacted thousands of patients over the past 12 years. I have now been joined by Jonathan, Patti and my entire family as we have decided to significantly increase our commitment. With this gift, it is not only our intention to grow and scale the Kraft Center, but also to help increase the visibility of equity issues that exist in therapeutic treatment and development. I am honored that the leader of Mass General’s sickle cell program, a disease that primarily affects people of color, will receive the attention and focus it deserves under Robert K. Kraft’s Chair for Equity and Diversity Inclusion.”

The Kraft family’s more than 40-year history of supporting MGH and the health of the Greater Boston community is extensive. Robert Kraft is Honorary Co-Chair of The Campaign for Mass General, an ambitious fundraising effort to raise $3 billion to directly support patient care, health equity, and the hospital’s community health, research and education programs. Jonathan Kraft, chairman of Mass General and president of Kraft Group, and his wife, Patty, serve as co-chairs of The Campaign.

About Massachusetts General Hospital

Founded in 1811, Massachusetts General Hospital is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and the third oldest hospital in the nation. Each year, the 1,100-bed academic medical center cares for more than 50,000 inpatients, records more than 1.5 million outpatient and emergency visits, and delivers more than 3,800 babies. MGH consistently ranks among the top hospitals in the nation on US News & World Report’s list of “America’s Best Hospitals” and among the top three hospitals in the world on Newsweek’s list of “World’s Best Hospitals.” Mass General is home to the MGH Research Institute, which conducts the nation’s largest hospital science program, with annual research expenditures of more than $1.2 billion and involving more than 8,500 researchers working in more than 30 institutes, centers and departments . Mass General is a founding member of the Mass General Brigham Health System.

About Mass General Brigham

Mass General Brigham is an integrated academic health care system bringing together great minds in medicine to make a life-changing impact for patients in our communities and people around the world.

Mass General Brigham connects a full continuum of care across a system of academic medical centers, community and specialty hospitals, a health insurance plan, physician networks, community health centers, home care and long-term care services.

Mass General Brigham is a not-for-profit organization committed to patient care, research, teaching and community service. In addition, Mass General Brigham is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations and a major teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information, please visit massgeneralbrigham.org.

For the Kraft Community Health Center

The Kraft Center for Community Health at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is focused on leading innovation in community health. The center was established in 2011 with a generous gift from Robert Kraft to expand access to high-quality, cost-effective health care for disadvantaged individuals and families. The Kraft Center’s initiatives are focused on developing a new generation of clinical leaders committed to community health as well as providing direct frontline services to populations in need.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *