Five key principles to building successful people.
Israel Idonije is a builder. He has been building toward the next phase of his life since he was a child. He built an 11-year NFL career against all odds by building himself to the status of an elite athlete(playing 10 years with the Chicago Bears and one year with the Detroit Lions). Through that process he realized that the formula to building success in sport directly correlated to building success in business. To prepare for life after football, Idonije built businesses to provide a rewarding and meaningful future, not only for his own future,but to help others build their dreams.
Israel is equally known –and admired–for the things he has built off the football field. He is the founder of the Israel Idonije Foundation (IIF), which programs have served and contributed to the building of lives in over 8,000 youth in Chicago, Winnipeg and West Africa since its inception in 2007. Some of IIF’s core programs include its After-school Program, Youth Leaders Summer Internship, All-Star Football and Cheer Camps, Shop With a Cop Event and Project Africa.
Numerous honours and awards have been given to him for his work both on and off the field. Some include leading the NFL in blocked punts/field goals in 2005, 2006, and 2007 and member of the Chicago Bears NFC Championship team,which played in the 2006 Super Bowl; the NFL’s JB Award and award for Global Dedication, April 2008; Ed Block Courage Award, 2009; Bears “Walter Payton Man of the Year” nominee, 2009 and 2010, and one of three finalists for the League award in 2010; USA Today’s All-Joe Team, 2010 and 2012; recognized as Points of Light Awardee by Barak Obama and George HW Bush at the White House, 2013; presented the Order of Manitoba by Prince Charles, May 2014; and awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws by University of Manitoba, June 2014.
Israel is also an entrepreneur who started his own businesses — blessed Communion and Athlitacomics — before his retirement from the NFL. He recently co-founded Ask The Doctor to help people all over the globe get medical advice and help. He also opened The Bureau Chicago to offer a dynamic work environment for those with a passion for building business.
Israel was born in Lagos, Nigeria where he was raised until the age of four when his family moved to Brandon, Manitoba a small town west of Winnipeg, Canada. He attended the University of Manitoba where he played football for the Manitoba Bisons. Chicago has been his home for the last 12 years. It is important to Israel that all of his ventures have a positive impact on the world lifting and building others. He believes everyone is blessed with the gifts and abilities to become successful in their own unique way.