FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -- Just one year after taking on the National Football League as a rookie quarterback, Carson Wentz adds another major project to his workload.
More than 250 people filled the Oxbow Country Club event room Tuesday, July 12th in Oxbow, North Dakota to help kick off fundraising for the Carson Wentz AO1 Foundation.
The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has launched his foundation as a
nonprofit organization whose mission is to "demonstrate the love of God by providing opportunities and support for the less fortunate and those in need."
What is becoming his well known mantra takes center stage in his foundation's logo, the AO1. Meaning Audience of One. For Wentz, that means no matter what he does in life, Carson is living for an Audience of One — Jesus.
According to the foundation's website there are three separate branches of focus:
Underprivileged Youth -
To care for and provide food, shelter and educational opportunities for underprivileged youth living abroad.
Hunting & Outdoor Opportunities -
To provide hunting and outdoor opportunities for individuals with physical challenges, the under-served, or US vets living in the Midwest.
Service Dogs -
To support youth in the Philadelphia area by providing service dogs to assist with their development and quality of life.
While admittedly wide spread in it's focus, Wentz explained the passion behind each branch. The first coming after a mission trip this Spring to Haiti that he admits had a major effect on him.
"I've been telling a lot of people it sort of messed me up," Wentz said Tuesday. "You see all the need that is over there and it kind of just humbles you. But you recognize that they have so much need, materialistically, but at the end of the day they were happy. They had joyful relationships. They were in a real community with each other. It just spoke to me."
From there, Wentz wanted to bring his efforts closer to home. More specifically to his two homes: the Midwest and Philadelphia.
"I definitely wanted to be able to help out in this area [Midwest] and now in Philly, my new home. My adoptive home. Being able to help out out there because obviously I have an influence and an impact out there. God willing that will continue to grow."
"It's kind of random but it's really what I'm passionate about and when I can do it that way I'll be that much more invested and hopefully I can partake in a lot of the endeavors as well," Wentz explained.
As a non-profit the Carson Wentz AO1 Foundation will provide funds and partner with other organizations to reach a common goal, as well as work on projects and contributions singularly.
"I can deliver and help out with my resources but if we can all come together and people buy in to what the mission is of my foundation we can definitely make a much larger impact than I could just myself."
Wentz says he hopes to hold events in the Philadelphia area in the future and knows he can count on the support of his teammates.
Carson and his older brother Zach Wentz started building the foundation this past year but the support from his teammates in the Eagles locker room has been a huge factor for Carson.
"There are real relationships in that locker room. Guys really care about each other. It's been so encouraging," said Wentz. "We have a select group of guys that are really deep in their faith. Obviously that is a big part of it, living in that community, constantly lifting each other up. It makes it fun to go to work. It makes it fun to compete with them and we all kind of recognize the bigger picture at the same time."
Zach will play a key role in the running of the foundation, especially as it gets off the ground. Carson heads for Philly and training camp in 11 days, meaning his focus will be elsewhere. Come off-season though, Carson said it will be a welcomed project to return to.
"With this foundation it just gives me, in the off-season, a direction and things I can really set my sites on. And I've always been pretty good about being organized with my things and managing my time well so I know this isn't going to interfere with the main focus and that's obviously winning football games at the end of the day."
With his faith, a variety of passions in hand and the support of his home community, Wentz kicks off another major endeavor this summer. While football will always be his number one job, he is the first to tell you that life is about so much more.
"This is something that will definitely supersede that," he said. "On the field is what a lot of people know me for but at the end of the day I hope this makes a much bigger impact."