Matt Light is a true team player, champion, and philanthropist. 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 conference titles and three Super Bowls. He was also named an All-Pro in 2007 and is one of only five NFL players to start five Super Bowls. Light was also named to a spot on the Patriots’ 50th Anniversary Team, and in 2018 was elected to the New England Patriots Hall of Fame.
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 on his high school football team, he was recruited by Purdue University, where Coach Joe Tiller later switched his position to tackle. While there, he blocked for Drew Brees, helping take the Boilermakers to a Big Ten title and their first Rose Bowl appearance in 35 years. In 2013, he was inducted into the Purdue Athletic Hall of Fame. 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.
While Light is well-known for his illustrious football career, he has been similarly recognized for his charitable work. He and his wife Susie formed the Light Foundation during his rookie year, with a mission of taking young people out their everyday environments and providing them with unique opportunities that ignite their passion, purpose, and motivation to succeed. In the two decades since, Light and his team have developed the 500+ acre state-of-the-art Chenoweth Trails facility in his hometown, which plays host to more than 7,500 young people each year through various programs, events, and community use.
He has also created the Light Foundation Leadership Academy, which offers young people unique outdoor and hands-on learning activities in Ohio, Rhode Island and Massachusetts that support their social and emotional learning, build strong character, and equip them with the tools and skills needed to start their leadership journey and stay with them every step of the way. Its curriculum consists of a 4-year leadership program called Camp Vohokase, a Timber Frame Leadership Camp, youth turkey hunts, a Leadership Conference and Workshop, the award-winning Light Project, and an All-Conference Football Camp. Since its inception, the Light Foundation has raised more than $9 million to support its youth-based initiatives.
Light has been honored numerous times for his nonprofit work. He received the third New England Patriots Ron Burton Community Service Award, was presented the President's Volunteer Service Award for his outstanding work in the community by President George W. Bush, was named Pop Warner’s Humanitarian of the Year, a Special Legend by the Hockomock Area YMCA, the Gridiron Club of Boston’s Man of the Year, and the New England Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s Man of the Year.
In addition, Light has been acknowledged for his impressive business accomplishments. He is the co-founder of the world’s first premium light spirit, KEEL Vodka, owns and operates a small farm, develops real estate in Ohio and Massachusetts, and recently launched The Wooden Peg, a company that specializes in the deconstruction of historic old barns and buildings. The Boston Business Journal has twice honored Light, as a “40 Under 40” honoree, and a member of their “Power 50” list of influential Boston leaders.
Matt Light is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting and fishing. He considers himself a lifelong learner, tackling new pursuits whenever he has the chance. He lives south of Boston with his beautiful wife, Susie, their two daughters and two sons.
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