Guest Speaker: Matt Light
BACKGROUND: Matt Light is a true team player and champion. Drafted out of Purdue University by the New England Patriots in the second round (48th overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft, he retired after 11 seasons with the team. During his career, he played in nine division championships, three Pro-Bowls and helped the team win five AFC Championships. He played in 175 games in his 11 seasons, and earned three Super Bowl crowns. A few years ago, at a home opener, Light was named to a spot on the Patriots’ 50th Anniversary Team.
EDUCATION: Light grew up in a rural farming community in Greenville, Ohio, where he says he learned to respect nature and developed a real love for the outdoors. A starting tight end of his high school football team, he was recruited as an offensive tackle for Purdue University, where he helped take the Boilermakers to a Big Ten title and their first Rose Bowl appearance in 35 years. After graduating there in 2000 with a degree in Industrial Technology, he was drafted by the Patriots, where he became an anchor for their offensive line. In 2013, Matt was inducted into the Purdue Athletic Hall of Fame. During his NFL career, Matt graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, and Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneurial Program.
FOUNDATION: Light, who has always made a practice of giving back to the community, dreamed of creating a charitable organization that would work with children of different backgrounds to help them reach their highest potential. In 2001, Matt and his wife, Susie, formed the Light Foundation, which strives to instill and develop the values of responsibility, accountability and hard work by providing youth with unique outdoor learning experiences that assist them in meeting, and exceeding all of their goals. Matt hopes these opportunities will lead them down a path to becoming responsible members of their communities who are capable of passing on the torch of leadership and achievement to their friends and families. The largest clay shoot in the country, the Matt Light Celebrity Shootout, has raised over 5 million dollars for The Light Foundation’s programs and initiatives.
In 2014, the Light Foundation welcomed 4500 kids through the many different programs it offers. With the money raised over the past few years, especially from the annual “Matt Light Celebrity Shootout” event, the Light Foundation was able to open Camp Vohokase at Chenoweth Trails in 2009. Camp Vohokase is an outdoor leadership training camp, located on 450 acres of land near Greenville, Ohio. The Foundation developed a portion of the land, and opened the Camp to host a select group of teenaged boys from Ohio, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Indiana, Tennessee, Louisiana, and the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana. Campers enjoy a variety of outdoor experiences, including archery, fishing, hunting and other trail-based activities. They also take part in a career day, community service work, visit nursing homes, and complete daily chores. Light has also run character development football camps in New England, and in Ohio. The opportunities the Foundation has been able to provide these teens are life-changing, and would not be possible without the support of donors and supporters.
AWARDS: Light received the third New England Patriots Ron Burton Community Service Award in 2005. In 2008, he was presented the President's Volunteer Service Award by President George Bush for his outstanding work in the community. Other awards that Matt received include the 2012 Gridiron Club of Greater Boston Man of the Year Award, the 2014 All Sports United Humanitarian Award, and the 2015 CCFA Man of the Year Award. He has served on the Executive Committee for the NFLPA and his leadership helped get the NFL through the 2012 Lockout.
CURRENT NEWS: Since retiring Matt is now focused on many endeavors that include a farming business in Ohio with row crops on roughly 400 acres of land. Matt manages commercial properties through Lighthawke Properties in Ohio, developed residential properties in Foxboro, MA through King-Light, LLC and owns and operates the Pheasant Ridge hunting lodge in Rhode Island. Matt also shares ownership of Keel Vodka, LLC, which launched in 2012. Matt Light is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting, fishing, and shooting sporting clays. He lives south of Boston with his wife, Susie, their two daughters and two sons.