Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT) President Anthony Benoit recently got an unexpected phone call from Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group and owner of the New England Patriots. Kraft was calling to let Benoit know that he was providing the college with a $100,000 surprise gift. The gift will be used over the next two years to provide gap scholarships to first-year BFIT students struggling to pay for a college education.
“Giving hope to those who may not have hope is what it is all about,” says Kraft. “My hope is that by making gap scholarships available at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, we are providing Boston’s youth a chance at economic mobility while also meeting the skills shortage in Massachusetts.”
Since 1908, BFIT has been training local young people for the fields that drive the region’s economy by offering affordable college programs that prepare students for technology jobs in growing fields. BFIT students graduate with practical experience in their field of study and “power skills” that are of immediate value in the workforce like teamwork, critical thinking and professionalism.
“This is a game changer for young people in Boston,” says Benoit. “Thanks to the generosity of Robert Kraft, the dream of a college education can come true for many deserving students who otherwise would not have been able to afford it.”
"Giving hope to those who may not have hope is what it is all about. My hope is that by making gap scholarships available at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, we are providing Boston’s youth a chance at economic mobility while also meeting the skills shortage in Massachusetts." — Robert Kraft
The college is pushing hard to close the gap for as many students as possible, so a matching gift campaign to multiply the benefit of the Kraft grant will soon be announced. Matching gifts play a starring role in the history of the school, which was founded in 1908 when Andrew Carnegie made an investment inspired by the direct bequest from Benjamin Franklin a century earlier.
“With financial support from our friends in the Boston philanthropic community, many more young people will earn a degree and qualify for rewarding careers, uplifting themselves, their families, and their communities,” says Benoit.
You can meet Mr. Kraft’s challenge with a matching gift today. Donate online. At a recent luncheon to recognize the scholarship recipients, students briefly shared some of their thoughts on how these funds will support them in their pursuit of a college education. Below, meet a few from the 2016 class of Kraft Scholars:
Jim Nguyen, Automotive Technology
“I would have applied for financial aid, but that wouldn’t work because of my student loan debt. This helped me get to school this semester and get started with my career goals. It helped me get back on my feet when I really needed to.”
Asha Kanjirakkattu Varghese, Health IT
“I came to this country last year, so there was not much help available to me in terms of loans as I don’t have enough credit history. This helped me to pay the tuition. It’s really helpful for students like me and I appreciate Mr. Kraft’s help.”
Keisha Francis, Health IT
“It really helped because I had a bad financial situation. I didn’t think I’d be able to afford to go back to school. I was thrilled when I heard about the gift. I said I can finally go and register for classes. It’s a step forward toward what I want to do.”
Kaleb Dias, Electrical Technology
“The money that I received has helped me by not having to worry about the financial aspect so I can just focus on my studies. I am thankful that he was willing to help us.”