This Feature Friday we chat with former NFL player, businessman, and philanthropist Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. His work both on and off the field has made a huge impact both in our community and around the world.
Today, he continues to pursue his various business ventures and focuses much of his time on his foundation, The Larry Fitzgerald Foundation. He founded it in honor of his mother, and it focuses on creating opportunities for young people to learn and thrive in a safe and healthy environment, as well as providing resources to individuals impacted by breast cancer. The foundation’s latest fundraiser, the 13th Annual Fitz’s Supper Club, takes place on Monday, May 8, 2023 at Dominick’s Steakhouse.
We sat down to chat with him about his philanthropy, football, what he’s doing now, and the one thing people would be surprised to know about him.
Thank you for chatting with us! Do you have a favorite career moment?
Without a doubt, the highlight of my football career was being recognized with the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2016. The award acknowledges commitment to philanthropy and community impact. It was such an honor to be selected.
You have The Larry Fitzgerald Foundation. Can you tell us briefly what it is and why you launched it?
The mission of The Larry Fitzgerald Foundation is to support youth education and breast cancer awareness. We are working to create opportunities for young people to thrive in safe and healthy environments, where they can reach their full potential. Additionally, recognizing the impact breast cancer has, especially on historically underserved communities, we provide resources, education, and support to women, men, and families impacted by breast cancer.
I launched the foundation in 2005 in honor of my mother, Carol, who passed away from breast cancer. My mother was an incredible advocate for youth and families, and she was a founding member of the African American Breast Cancer Alliance. She was a great inspiration to me to always give back.
On May 8th, you’ll once again have the foundation’s annual Fitz’s Supper Club. What is the event?
Fitz’s Supper Club is an annual event that brings together business and community leaders, friends, and family to enjoy outstanding cuisine and live entertainment, and most importantly raise funds for The Larry Fitzgerald Foundation. The evening is always a great opportunity for attendees to have fun while supporting education and the fight against breast cancer.
The event begins with a red-carpet arrival and VIP cocktail reception, which is followed by dinner, entertainment, and a live auction. This year we’re stepping it up with specialty cocktails, entertainment by world-class magician and mentalist RMax Goodwin, live music from master violinist John Uzodinma II, and “auctiontainer” and well-known Valley personality Letitia Frye leading the live auction.
And you are holding it at Dominick’s Steakhouse again, correct?
Yes, I am pleased to say that Dominick’s has been our partner since the beginning. They have incredible food, outstanding service, and most importantly, they share the Foundation’s commitment to giving back to the community.
Any future plans you can tell us about?
Believe it or not, my schedule has probably gotten busier since I stopped playing in the NFL! I am laser-focused on growing The Larry Fitzgerald Foundation and expanding our impact, as well as being the best dad I can be. Trying to spend a little time building up the sport of pickleball, too, and we just launched the AZ Drive Major League Pickleball team. There is great momentum and growth happening with this sport and it is so much fun to play.
Favorite Scottsdale restaurant?
Aside from Dominick’s? It’s gotta be Ocean 44. Always a delicious meal and wonderful ambiance. Highly recommend it.
Is there anything people would be surprised to know about you?
People may be surprised to know that I play chess every day. Since I was 7, chess has been a huge part of my life. The game has taught me so much about myself, the people around me, and how to handle adversity in different forms. In fact, when I first moved to Phoenix, I worked with coach Liulia Cardona at Phoenix Chess Academy. I’ll be competing in an NFL-themed tournament hosted by Chess.com this summer. The proceeds go to the charity so I’ll be playing for The Larry Fitzgerald Foundation!
For more information about Fitz’s Supper Club, visit The Larry Fitzgerald Foundation. The event will be held Mon., May 8 at Dominick’s Steakhouse at Scottsdale Quarter.