Class of 2019
Isreal Idonije

Israel Idonije is a builder. He has been constructing his path towards the next phase of his life since childhood, overcoming obstacles to forge an 11-year NFL career and ascend to the status of an elite athlete. Throughout his journey, Idonije has received numerous honors and awards for his contributions both on and off the field. He led the NFL in blocked punts/field goals in 2005, 2006, and 2007, and was a member of the Chicago Bears NFC Championship team that played in the 2006 Super Bowl. He received accolades such as the NFL’s JB Award and Global Dedication award in April 2008, the Ed Block Courage Award in 2009, and was twice nominated as the Bears’ “Walter Payton Man of the Year” in 2009 and 2010. Idonije was also recognized as one of three finalists for the League award in 2010, and earned a place on USA Today’s All-Joe Team in 2010 and 2012. His philanthropic efforts were acknowledged when he was presented with the Points of Light Award by both Barack Obama and George HW Bush at the White House in 2013, and he was bestowed with the Order of Manitoba by Prince Charles in May 2014. Idonije further received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Manitoba in June 2014 and was named an Entrepreneur of the Year Midwest Finalist in 2016. He was inducted into the Football Manitoba Hall of Fame in 2018 and honored with Canada’s Meritorious Service Decoration in March 2019. As the founder of iF Charities, Idonije’s programs have positively impacted the lives of over 10,000 youth in Chicago, Winnipeg, and West Africa. Additionally, he has ventured into entrepreneurship, successfully founding several business ventures. His company, blessed, stands as an industry leader in Communion supplies, while ATHLiTACOMiCS develops custom comic content and properties. Idonije also co-founded Crypto Key Stack and launched FBRK (fabric), a 140,000 square-foot entrepreneurial hub in the South Loop, in 2020. Throughout his endeavors, Idonije prioritizes making a positive impact on the world and uplifting others. He believes in utilizing one’s gifts and talents to contribute to the betterment of society, embodying a spirit of service and empowerment.

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