Derrick Johnson Raised More Than $120,000 for Inner-City Kids

Posted May 17, 2017

The Chiefs’ linebacker held his fifth annual event Monday night

The idea is simple. Derrick Johnson names the night, and his Kansas City Chiefs teammates come.

Johnson held his fifth annual “Celebrity Waiter Night” Monday evening, and 13 Chiefs, including wide receiver Tyreek Hill, tight end Travis Kelce and quarterback Alex Smith did just that.

"It's wonderful to have teammates and guys I have bled, sweat and had tears with out there on that field to come and help me do some stuff off the field, which is pretty important when we're at the platform we're at,” Johnson said. Every time I ask the players—all those guys, they're like, 'I got you, man. I'm coming.' It lets me know the respect that I have from the Chiefs."

The night begins with a cocktail hour, in which the players serve appetizers and meals. Throughout the evening, guests are encouraged to bid on autographed jerseys and other prize packages.

Every dollar made on the evening supports Johnson’s Defend the Dream Foundation, which provides low-income and inner-city young people with opportunities and resources to reach their full potential.

The “Voice of the Chiefs,” Mitch Holthus, emcees the event.

“Mitch is wonderful,” Johnson said. “Mitch makes us all look good. He talks really well about us, and he's a fan favorite, so Mitch is our guy, and he gets the energy going."

Holthus said he was impressed with how many players Johnson can get to the event year after year.

“I do a lot of these events throughout the year, and quite honestly, other than the kickoff luncheon, where the guys are required to be there, this gets the most activity of any event,” Holthus said. “It shows how much our players love DJ and how much they believe in this event.

“It goes right to the core of some critical need areas because all across the country, whether it's Kansas City or coast to coast, we're having a hard time funding education whether it's public or private, and we're particularly struggling in the places that need it the most. I think one of the answers across the country will be private endeavors like this because we can't rely on public funding. We just can't. It's not there, and so guys like DJ step up and do this."

By night’s end, more than $120,000 were raised for the Defend the Dream Foundation.

“It's setting the tone I think not only in Kansas City,” Holthus added, “but for the rest of the country."



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