“Our community is so excited right now with the Chiefs win and this is such a heartwarming story to add to our city’s excitement,” KC Pet Project’s chief communications officer, Tori Fugate, told The Washington Post in emailed comments.
“We’re here for every animal that comes to us in need no matter what and we’re just so honored that Derrick chose our organization to partner with,” Fugate wrote. “We’ve had people stop in to our shelter today and say, ‘Please tell Derrick thank you for doing this.’ It’s so sweet.”
Nnadi’s adoption-fee arrangement, per the shelter, was sponsored by his charitable foundation.
Fugate said Nnadi’s foundation approached the shelter about working together, and they devised the promotion linked to Chiefs wins that began this season. She said adoption fees are typically around $150, and the promotion has been very successful.
“When the Chiefs won the AFC Championship, Derrick reached out wanting to sponsor the adoption fees of ALL of the available dogs at KC Pet Project if they won,” Fugate told The Post. “When they did, we were so thrilled, not only for the Chiefs win and for our city, but [for] Kansas City’s adopted pets who get to find homes as a result of their victory."
In addition to his partnership with the shelter, Nnadi has been linking tackles he has made this season to fundraising efforts for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City. A native of Virginia Beach, the 23-year-old also has been active in trying to help at-risk youth in that community.
“Growing up, I’ve always wanted to help out people,” Nnadi said recently. “In high school, college, I’ve always been around people with that same type of goal. My high school coach, Coach [Chris] Scott, he’s always instilled helping out the community, trying to be a big brother so to speak.”
According to the NFL Players Association, which named Nnadi its first Community MVP this season for his philanthropy work, he gave 10 kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia backpacks filled with school supplies and a note offering them his best wishes for the upcoming academic year. He also surprised 10 children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City with a back-to-school shopping spree at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
In addition, Nnadi paid for a similar shopping excursion for a family of three children who lost their mother in a mass shooting in Virginia Beach in May.
“For him to take time out of his busy schedule to show any care toward us, that was huge,” the children’s father, Jason Nixon, said before the Super Bowl. “We were so down and out during that time. … It put a smile on my girls’ faces.”
Nnadi just finished his second year with the Chiefs, after they traded up to make him a third-round pick in 2018 out of Florida State. He started for Kansas City in the Super Bowl and had four tackles, including one for a loss.