Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner has been selected by USA WEEKEND as its Most Caring Athlete for 2009. Warner will be featured on the cover of the November 20-22 issue of the magazine.
A four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, three-time Super Bowl starter and two-time league MVP, Warner is one of the most accomplished passers in NFL history.
However, for all of his on-field accomplishments, Warner’s community work remains his biggest source of pride and the Most Caring Athlete honor is a reflection of that commitment. Kurt and Brenda Warner established the “First Things First” foundation in 2001 and have personally contributed more than $1.5 million since then to host trips to Disney for Make-A-Wish families, furnish homes for low-income single moms, and host Punt, Pass & Kick clinics with Special Olympic athletes, to name just a few of their initiatives. After visiting flood-ravaged regions in 2008, he created a partnership with Habitat for Humanity to sponsor home builds throughout the Midwest and those efforts have raised over $675,000.
Just before kickoff of Super Bowl XLIII between the Cardinals and Steelers last February, Warner received the 2008 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, the only league recognition that acknowledges a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.
Each year since 1995, USA WEEKEND has bestowed the Most Caring Athlete Award on professional sports figures who give their time, talents, and name to a host of worthy causes and inspire their fans to do the same.
In recognition of the honor, USA WEEKEND is contributing $5,000 to Warner’s foundation, “First Things First.” The foundation also received a 2009 NFL Charities Player Foundation grant in recognition of its outstanding work in the community.