Israel Idonije is well known as a game changer both on and off the football field. He is an 11-year NFL veteran, playing 10 years for the Chicago Bears and one year for the Detroit Lions. He led the NFL in blocked punts/field goals in 2005, 2006, and 2007. He received the Ed Block Courage Award in 2009, was named to the USA Today All Joe Team in 2010 and 2012, and was a member of the Chicago Bears NFC Championship team, which played in the 2006 Super Bowl.
Israel is equally known — and admired — for the things he has done off the football field. He is the founder of the Israel Idonije Foundation, which programs have benefitted over 8,000 underserved youth in Chicago, Winnipeg and West Africa since its inception in 2007.
Numerous honors and awards have been given to him for his work both on and off the field. Some include the NFL’s JB Award and award for Global Dedication, April 2008; Bears “Walter Payton Man of the Year” nominee, 2009 and 2010, and one of three finalists for the League award in 2010; 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 an entrepreneur who started several businesses – blessed Communion, the global leader in the manufacturing and distribution of pre-filled Communion solutions, and Athlitacomics, LLC, bringing some of our greatest sports characters and stories to life in a new way. He recently co-founded AskTheDoctor.com to help people all over the world get medical advice and help. He also built The Bureau Chicago to offer a dynamic work environment for those with a passion for building business. Israel also sits on the advisory board of Magic Leap, one of the most talked about tech companies in the world.
Israel was born in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to Brandon, Manitoba a small town west of Winnipeg, Canada when he was four. 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.