ATTLEBORO - When New Hope's Marcia Szymanski's phone rang a week ago Thursday, the last words she expected to hear were: "Hello Marcia, it's Robert Kraft."
The head of the anti-domestic violence organization was floored when the New England Patriots owner called with a $100,000 commitment via the New England Patriots Foundation to support New Hope's educational programs aimed at preventing domestic and sexual abuse.
"It was completely surreal," Szymanski said. "I thought it was a family member pulling my leg."
No joke, Kraft's call was another in his series of surprise philanthropy gifts to area nonprofit organizations. The pledge to New Hope is a part of a commitment to agencies working to end domestic violence.
In addition to gifts to area programs, Kraft and the New England Patriots Foundation pledged $1.5 million to Jane Doe, Inc. in support of their Institute for Safety and Justice.
Kraft is also collaborating with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey on a program entitled Game Change to prevent violence among high school students.
Szymanski said New Hope will reveal its plans to use the gift at its Highlights of Hope event Sept. 29. Information about the event can be found on New Hope's website, www.new-hope.org.