Larry Fitzgerald said his charity work stems from his mother’s own spirit of giving when he was growing up. (Photo by Margaret Naczek/Cronkite News)
Originally published Sunday, August 5, 2018 at 06:00a.m.
SCOTTSDALE – Eleven-time Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald donned a white chef coat and proudly held a piece of steak he prepared at Dominick’s Steakhouse.
When asked what was harder, hitting the golf course, playing on the field or cooking a steak, the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver said, “definitely cooking a steak. … I burnt my fingers a couple of times.”
Fitzgerald, entering his 15th season with the team, was promoting his 10th annual Fitz’s Supper Club event, which will be held August 27 at the Scottsdale steakhouse.
Fitzgerald’s involvement in the community and nationwide started with his First Down Fund, established in 2005. The charity’s two priorities, according to Fitzgerald’s website, is to “promote reading proficiency and technology” for children and “support events to prevent and cure breast cancer.”
“There’s nobody better to do it. Nobody gives back like Larry,” said Oliver Badgio, chief brand officer of Prime Steak Concept.
Badgio has been involved with Fitz’s Supper Club event for five years.
Fitzgerald’s charity work stems from his late mother’s involvement in the community.
“When we were young, my brother and I would see her doing it and want to be a part of it, so I promised myself once I had the platform and the ability to help, I was going to go full speed ahead and do it and thank God, I’ve been able to do it so far,” Fitzgerald said.
The 34-year-old was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and despite living 1,600 miles from his hometown, Fitzgerald continues to give back to his Midwest community.
Fitzgerald’s late grandfather, Dr. Robert Johnson, founded the Plano Child Development Center in Minnesota, which Fitzgerald donates to annually.
Fitzgerald said it’s his responsibility to give back. Referencing other athletes such as LeBron James and the new school he started, Fitzgerald said it is true greatness to use the time and resources professional athletes are blessed with to help those who are less fortunate.
“The things that we’ve been able to do have been magnificent,” Fitzgerald said. “Just giving kids technology and helping women with their mammograms and early detection of breast cancer. That’s where we are, and that’s where are scope of focus is.”