AUSTIN (KXAN) — A former University of Texas at Austin Longhorn and NFL great, Derrick Johnson is showing some love to Austin through his Defend the Dream Foundation.
Johnson collaborated with the Austin ISD’s nonprofit education foundation, Austin Ed Fund, to breathe some new life into the library space at Oak Springs Elementary. The library now features new furniture, bookshelves, flooring and more than 1,000 kid-friendly titles — along with a couple of decals of him in uniform.
“Giving back is my due diligence, I have to do that,” he said. “I know that through my faith, being a blessing, you have to be a blessing to others. Being able to provide the proper resources to inner-city kids through education, it’s what I’m passionate about. And today is a great example of that.”
The former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker established the Defend the Dream Foundation in 2012 with the specific focus on providing “low-income and inner-city young people with the opportunities and resources to reach their full potential,” according to the foundation’s website. After a 13-year NFL career, the Waco native returned to Austin in 2019.
Johnson told KXAN the inspiration behind his latest project at Oak Springs Elementary is from his mother, who worked as a teacher for more than 40 years.