Our Team

Israel Idonije - Founder

Israel Idonije is a builder. He has been building toward the next phase of his life since he was a child. He built an 11-year NFL career against all odds by developing himself to the status of an elite athlete. Through that process he realized that the formula to building success in sport directly correlates to building success in life. To prepare for life after football, Israel created businesses to provide a rewarding and meaningful future not only for himself, but to help others build their dreams.

Israel is equally known, and admired, for the things he has built off the football field.

He is the founder of iF Charities, which programs have served and contributed to the building of lives in over 10,000 youth in Chicago, Winnipeg and West Africa since its inception. Some of iF’s core programs include its Youth Leaders Summer Internship, All-Star Football and Cheer Camps, Shop With A Cop and its newest, iF Code. Israel has worked in youth programming since he was in high school. He understand the importance of supporting and guiding our youth.

Numerous honors and awards have been given to him for his work both on and off the field including leading the NFL in blocked punts/field goals in 2005, 2006, and 2007 and member of the Chicago Bears NFC Championship team, which played in the 2006 Super Bowl; the NFL’s JB Award and award for Global Dedication, April 2008; Ed Block Courage Award, 2009; Bears "Walter Payton Man of the Year" nominee, 2009 and 2010, and one of three finalists for the League award in 2010; USA Today’s All-Joe Team, 2010 and 2012; recognized as Points of Light Awardee by Barak Obama and George HW Bush at the White House, 2013; presented the Order of Manitoba by Prince Charles, May 2014; and awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws by University of Manitoba, June 2014.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, he was raised there until the age of four when his family moved to Brandon, Manitoba, a small town west of Winnipeg, Canada. He attended the University of Manitoba where he played football for the Manitoba Bisons. He has lived in Chicago since 2003 and considers it home. It is important to Israel that all of his ventures have a positive impact on the world lifting and building others. He believes everyone is blessed with the gifts and abilities to become successful in their own unique way.

26197877_10102779621014025_1798100322911138865_o.jpg

el da' sheon nix
executive director

EL Da’ Sheon joined iF Charities in January of 2018.  EL Da’ Sheon is a former football player and a 2004 graduate of Northwestern University who majored in Human Development and Psychological Services and earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education and Social Policy.  Following graduation from Northwestern, he worked for two years as the Lead Mental Health Professional at the Rice Child and Family Center which is a residential treatment facility in Evanston, IL, that provides services for adolescents with mental and behavioral disorders.  Then, he began working as a Youth Development Worker at the Youth Organization Umbrella in Evanston, IL.  Since 2007, EL Da’ Sheon has served as a tutor, mentor, coordinator, director and Executive Director of several organizations; Evanston Community Defender’s Office, Cabrini Connections, Beyond Sports Foundation, Year Up Chicago, and North Chicago Community Partners.

As the Executive Director of iF Charities, EL Da’ Sheon brings in nearly 15 years of leadership experience in the non-profit sector and a lifelong passion for connecting youth, families, and communities to the resources needed to thrive and be successful.

Kelley Speck-5.jpg Head shot (1).jpeg

Kelley D Speck – President (REALIS Group)

Kelley is one of the founding board members of iF Charities and long time volunteers of the organization.   Kelley is the current President of REALIS Group. REALIS Group manages a diverse portfolio of businesses. Prior to REALIS Group, Kelley was an Executive in the Midwest region for CORT.  CORT is a Berkshire Hathaway Company that’s ranked as the nations leading provider of transition services.

In her free time, Kelley enjoys spending time with her family and expanding the iF Charities’ brand.

TERESA MYERS

Teresa is a communications maven with 20 years corporate, start up and agency experience. She has successfully designed and executed public relations campaigns and brand activations for athletes, clubs, national brands, and many other clients in a variety of industries. 

It is rewarding to her to be involved with iF Charities, an organization that makes a real difference in the lives of the youth it serves. 

Teresa is married and has two fantastic boys. In 2005, she helped start the first charter school in her community and she enjoys volunteering weekly for a local nonprofit.