Derrick Johnson Raises More Than $110,000 at his Fourth Annual Celebrity Waiter Night
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
KANSAS CITY – (June 6, 2016) – Kansas City Chiefs’ Linebacker, Derrick Johnson, welcomed 175 guests to Grand Street Café on Monday, June 6, 2016 for his fourth annual Celebrity Waiter Night, raising more than $110,000 to benefit Derrick Johnson’s Defend the Dream Foundation.
Guests enjoyed the unique opportunity of being served appetizers and entrees by their favorite Chiefs. At the Celebrity Waiter Night, Alex Smith, Tamba Hali, Dontari Poe, Charcandrick West, Anthony Sherman, Eric Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz, Albert Wilson, Mitch Morse, Daniel Sorensen, Ron Parker, Dee Ford, Frank Zombo, Josh Mauga, Justin March, DJ Alexander, joined Derrick Johnson and traded in their uniforms and helmets for plates and trays to benefit Johnson’s cause.
The mission of Derrick Johnson’s Defend the Dream Foundation is to provide low income and inner city young people with opportunities and resources to reach their full potential. The goal of Derrick Johnson’s Defend the Dream Foundation is to impact the lives of more than 100,000 at-risk Kansas City children by the end of 2019.
In the past 14 months, the foundation has opened 9 DJ's Discovery Dens and has prepared children to effectively learn through Gearing Up! Together, these programs have resulted in 9 reading oases, containing 10,800 age appropriate books, and 300 kids receiving school supplies, before heading back to school. All proceeds from the evening will help to install more DJ Discovery Dens and to continue to supply school supplies for Gearing Up!
During the program, Dr. Anthony Lewis, the Director of Elementary Education for Kansas City Public Schools, spoke to the group about the impact of Derrick Johnson’s programs. Dr. Lewis shared that while visiting one of DJ’s Discovery Den’s, he witnessed a 6th grade boy who reads at a 3rd grade level completely captivated by a book that the program provided. Derrick Johnson is able to motivate children to learn and provide access to educational tools they need to succeed.
Following Dr. Lewis, Johnson shared his motivation for helping young people and pledged $30,000 to his own foundation. Immediately after Johnson’s donation, Lisa Ginter, of CommunityAmerica Credit Union, pledged $15,000 to cover the full cost of opening another DJ’s Discovery Den.
The evening was rounded out by an exciting live auction that included items like a Chiefs away game travel package and the opportunity to fly as a copilot in a real military fighter plane.
Mitch Holthus served as the evening’s emcee while Yve Rojas served as the evening’s auctioneer.
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