16 New Englanders honored at Gillette Stadium at the 2012 Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards.

Matthew Martinelli of Boston, Mass. wins third prize award of $2,500 for Lights Out, Green In, Inc.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Volunteers are the backbone of nonprofit organizations.

The Kraft family and New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’s Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards place a spotlight on those who give their time to help others and exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving their communities through volunteerism. In 2011, the Kraft family and New England Patriots Charitable Foundation announced the renaming of the awards as part of the “Celebrate Volunteerism” campaign in honor Myra Kraft’s example of being a lifelong volunteer.

On June 13, 16 honorees were recognized for their contributions in a ceremony at Gillette Stadium and received grants for their respective nonprofit organizations. Ten New England organizations were presented with $2,500 in honor of their volunteers’ work with five more receiving grants of $10,000 and one grand prize winner of $25,000.

“Volunteers are the unsung heroes of our nonprofit communities,” said Robert Kraft. “Unfortunately, they often go unrecognized for their contributions. These awards give us a chance to thank and recognize them. What I love most about this event is the touching stories and the opportunity to show a small token of our appreciation to these outstanding individuals.”

On hand to congratulate the award winners was Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, New England Patriots Charitable Foundation President Joshua Kraft, Pro Football and Patriots Hall of Famer and Patriots Executive Director of Community Affairs Andre Tippett, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski and punter Zoltan Mesko.

Matthew Martinelli was one of ten $2,500 third prize winners.

“It is such an honor to be recognized by the Kraft famly as a recipient of the Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards. Myra Kraft’s commitment to philanthropy and impact on the community was legendary during her life and it’s heartwarming to see it grow stronger in her memory,” said Martinelli. “This award will allow Lights Out, Green In, Inc. to reach many more people with its message of conservation and demonstrate how making simple changes to everyday habits can combat climate change. I feel blessed to be recognized with this award and hope I can continue to channel the spirit of the late Mrs. Kraft and focus on the health of future generations and our environment.”

Martinelli is a great example of turning his passion about the importance of conserving energy into a nonprofit that is making a difference. As the founder of Lights Out, Green In, his vision is to educate and give people tangible tools to live more efficiently. He has collected hundreds of energy conservation pledges and works tirelessly to help curb climate change.

“The members of Lights Out, Green In are incredibly proud of Matthew’s selection as a recipient of the Myra Kraft Community MVP Award, and we are grateful to the Kraft family for its work in improving our community. As a small, grassroots, non-profit organization, this award will have a long-lasting impact on our work and allow us to reach an even wider audience in our goal to making our community more environmentally friendly,” said Joseph McBurney, Vice President of Lights Out, Green In, Inc. “This award is a testament to the work of Matthew who has worked tirelessly to build our organization. I am grateful to be a part of Matthew’s vision and I am particularly appreciative of the generosity and commitment to community service of the Kraft family in Mrs. Kraft’s memory.”

The 2012 MVPs represent all six New England states and a variety of nonprofit organizations. Nominations open each spring and for the most up-to-date information, visit www.patriots.com/community.

Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, Patriots Charitable Foundation President Joshua Kraft, and Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett were joined by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski and punter Zoltan Mesko to congratulate the Myra Kraft Community MVP Award $2,500 third prize winner Matthew Martinelli from Lights Out, Green In, Inc. for his outstanding volunteerism. During the luncheon the Kraft family awarded $100,000 in grants to 16 New England nonprofits.

The 16 volunteer winners range from 18-82 years old, with one winner from each state in the region. Winning nonprofits include military member support, food cupboards, domestic violence and drug prevention as well as health and fitness.

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