Being a professional athlete comes with many responsibilities, including being a role model for both children and adults, being the voice of your team during media and press conferences, and also knowing how to manage your own multi-million dollar contract. Israel Idonije, a former defensive end for the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions, decided early on in his 11-year NFL career that he was going to do more than just play football. Idonije has been building and managing businesses that help to uplift the community, while also making a lucrative living from thriving companies.

His nonprofit, Israel Idonije Foundation is linked to several community based initiatives including the Izzyz Kidz After School program; an “All-Star Camp,” a one-day skills training event targeting youth in underserved communities each summer; and Project Africa where the foundation’s team goes to West Africa to help support poor communities in Nigeria and Ghana.

Last week, we were able to sit down with “Izzy” to talk more about his journey to success  at BMW’s “The Ultimate Dinner.”  Guests heard Idonije’s journey from the NFL to being an entrepreneur with Q&A session moderated by retired NBA player Steve Bardo. Watch the video below to learn more about how Israel Idonije made his transition into a successful businessman.