Issuu on Google+

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” Matthew 6:33

Volume 9, Issue 1

2011 Year In Review

Moving Forward In 2011, we continued implementing many of the programs we believe have a significant

impact on those served, and we also began to take action on some of the ideas we have for the future outreach of First Things First. Those new programs are further explained on this page and page 11 of this newsletter. We are continually in awe of God’s provisions and guidance as He directs us to partner with like-minded companies, organizations and individuals to carry out the plans He has for First Things First. We hope you will continue to prayerfully consider helping us carry out His mission. In Christ,

PS – For daily updates on the Warner family and the activities of First Things First, follow Kurt on Twitter @kurt13warner or and Brenda on Twitter @WarnerBrenda.

Making A Difference Through Mentoring The latest in the outreach of First Things First is a mentor program called

arête (pronounced air-eh-TAY), the Greek word for excellence. The term can best be defined as excellence of any kind; the act of living up to one’s full potential; courage and strength in the face of adversity. Kurt and Brenda hope to instill those principles in the eight high school-age kids they are mentoring from Sunshine Acres in Mesa, Arizona. The program centers on Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord.” Each month Kurt and Brenda meet with the eight mentees as they build relationships, stretch their comfort zones and focus on key areas for successful living including social counseling, education, community service, financial guidance, spiritual nurturing, health and fitness. The group focused on team building during an evening of paintball and a day at Bondurant Racing. They also spent quality time relaxing together and discussing their book for the year, First Things First: The Rules of Being a Warner, during gettogethers at the Warner’s house for a swim party in July and a game party in December. Everyone received royal treatment with dinner at iPic Theater and a viewing of Moneyball. The group heard Brenda’s testimony at the Women of Faith Conference in September. Focused on understanding the importance of serving others, the group spent an afternoon packing food at Feed My Starving Children in June and an evening of shopping to fill shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child in November. Special thanks to a foundation friend at Chase Bank for turning the Operation Christmas Child activity into a wonderful budgeting exercise with practical tools for the future. And many thanks to NY 54 Limo for generously donating car service for the kids each month.

Volume 9, Issue 1 Page 2

Warners Return to Cedar Rapids to Complete Home Challenge Kurt and Brenda returned to Kurt’s hometown to join

Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity and dozens of volunteers and partner organizations to raise walls on a new home in the profoundly flood affected Czech Village area. This home marked the 100th home built or rehabilitated by CVHFH since its start in 1988. First Things First made a $100,000 gift to help complete two Habitat homes in 2010 and challenged Cedar Rapids organizations to match their gift in 2011. The community responded by raising $101,600, making it possible to build this Habitat home right in the heart of the hardest hit part of the city from the Flood of 2008. Corporate and community partners who met and exceeded the First Things First Challenge

include Wells Fargo, the Cedar Rapids Area Association of REALTORS, CRST, Quaker Oats/Pepsico, Beaton Inc., Farmers State Bank, Van Meter Industrial and the Linn County Board of Supervisors Witwer Trust. Special support for this building project was also provided by the City of Cedar Rapids.

Teachers Count! Kurt and Brenda are all smiles after the walls are raised (top). Ku r t w i t h C e d a r Va l l e y H a b i t a t ‘ s 100th family, Isaiah and Amber with their three kids. (left)

Kurt and his high school teacher/coach Richard Breitbach are part of an awardwinning poster series featuring athletes and celebrities in conjunction with TeachersCount, an organization dedicated to lifting the visibility and respect of the teaching profession. The series of posters that go to schools have the theme, “Behind Every Famous Person is a Fabulous Teacher.”

Hard at work with the tablesaw and hammering insulation to outside walls. Page 3

Rewarding Hard Work with Homes for the Holidays R ain

didn’t dampen the spirits of the Huck Family in South Roxana, IL on a chilly day in February. It was the closing day on their home they helped to build with Lewis and Clark Habitat for Humanity. They were speechless to find their home completely furnished a s a Va l e n t i n e ’ s D ay surprise through the Homes for the Holidays program, a par tnership between First Things First and Aaron’s along with U-Haul and Amway. The house was completely move-in ready with furniture for every room, kitchen

s u p p l i e s , T V, c o mp u te r, washer & dryer, decorations, lawn & garden equipment, etc. The down payment assistance donation will allow Danielle to use her finances to further her education in the nursing field and bring stability for her two daughters McKenna (7) and Brooklynn (3). Just prior to Christmas, two families in the Phoenix area were also surprised with Homes for the Holidays. As Brenda commented it was a day of “secret Santa on steroids.” Mariana and her two year old daughter, Alina, worked with Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona to purchase their home in Phoenix. Diana and her children Daniella (11) and Brian (9) partnered with Neighborhood Housing Services of Southwest Maricopa County and the City of Surprise to purchase their newly constructed home in Surprise, AZ. Aaron’s, U-Haul and Amway once again joined First Things First to bless these two deserving families along with additional donations from R&S Mattress Liquidators, Albertson’s, The Pedal Power Foundation, and Domino’s Pizza. Including these three families, First Things First has now surprised a total of 26 families in St. Louis (11), Iowa (4), New Jersey (1) and Arizona (10). Page 4

Volume 9, Issue 1

Ten Years of Disney Magic

Kurt and Brenda developed the concept for the “We’re Going to Disney World!” program prior to the start of the foundation when a Make-A-Wish child wished to meet his favorite NFL Quarterback, Kurt Warner. Kurt didn’t want any child to “waste” a wish on a brief meeting with him. So with a desire to maximize a child’s wish, the Warner’s decided a Giant Wish of spending a week with them at the “Most Magical Place on Earth” was the perfect solution. In June 2011, First Things First hosted 10 Make-A-Wish families in Orlando for the tenth annual trip, totaling 85 families since the first trip in 2002. Five families from Arizona, three from Missouri, and two from Iowa flew to Orlando thanks to a grant covering airfare from third-

year partner, For Those Without A Voice. Each family stayed in their own private villa at Give Kids the World, a fantasyfilled resort for children battling life threatening illnesses. Over the course of the week, the families visited each of Disney World’s Parks with the Warner family, enjoying rides, shows and meals together. The parents also had adult-only time with the Warners to share their stories. And the annual Praise & Worship service was a special time for Kurt to preach and share his heart for the Lord. The greatest impact of the trip has remained consistent year after year. While the Disney experience is amazing, the bonds that form between the families and the Warner family as well as the families with each other is a lasting impact from the week spent together. As one mom wrote two months after the trip, “We [the families on the trip] all have become very close. Since our Disney World trip we have gotten together at least five times.” More information on the strength of those relationships can be found on Page 5. Page 5

Disney Reconnect & Reminisce

Family reunions are a time to reconnect and reminisce on good times and special people… and Disney family reunions are no different! In 2011, First Things First hosted two reunions for the 75 families who have been part of the memories for “We’re Going to Disney World!” trips from 2002-2010. In June, the Warner family gathered with Arizona alumni at a private home in Litchfield Park complete with swimming pool, playground equipment, petting zoo and more with dinner provided by Carrabba’s Italian Grill. On a hot day in July, the Warners and Disney mid-western alums from the past nine years gladly played indoors in the youth center of St. Louis Family Church. First Things First hosts reunions with the Make-A-Wish and Dream Factory families from Arizona, Missouri, Illinois and Iowa every two years to give the families an opportunity to reconnect with each other and the Warner clan. Page 6

Volume 9, Issue 1

8th Annual Ultimate Football Experience Scores Fun & Funds! Eighty-one gridiron fans from the corporate world stepped onto the field of battle with

NFL stars past and present for what many described as the “greatest 24 hours of their lives” at the eighth annual Ultimate Football Experience held in Phoenix on March 11-12, 2011. The once-in-a-lifetime experience kicked off with the Draft Party and Auction at F1 Race Factory (now Octane Raceway) where guests enjoyed delicious food courtesy of P.F. Chang’s. Te a m p a r t i c i p a n t s competed on Segways and go-karts for their place in the Silent Draft to choose from a Who’s Who celebrity roster to quarterback their team for the four-onfour flag football tournament. The next morning participants from Prosource, Priority Sports, Insight/CA/Lenovo, and Nutrilite along with individuals who purchased spots on teams arrived at the Arizona Cardinals Training Facility ready to hit the field. After breakfast from Jason’s Deli, a chapel service, and stretching, the morning tournament set the team rankings for the afternoon bracket. Paradise Bakery & Café provided teams and spectators with lunch before the afternoon tournament where Team 13 led by Rich Gannon defeated Insight/CA/Lenovo quarterbacked by Matt Cassel for the title! The event ended with a fabulous dinner buffet courtesy of Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Thanks to the generosity of everyone involved, over $225,000 was raised for First Things First!

UFE 2011 Celebrity Line-up ... Back row L-R: Steve Breaston, Matt Cassel, Michael Strahan, Michael Irvin, Brad Johnson; Front row L-R: Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Rich Gannon, Joe Flacco

Bradford, Buck & Birdies

Page 7

Renowned sportscaster Joe Buck and Rams Quarterback Sam Bradford joined Kurt and Brenda at The Pageant in St. Louis on August 28 for the third annual Night With Champions presented by Edward Jones. Prior to the start of the program, guests enjoyed tastes from some of St. Louis’ most popular restaurants including Cardwell’s at the Plaza/BC’s Kitchen, Dewey’s Pizza, Fitz’s American Grill & Bottling Works, Pappy’s Smokehouse, Renaissance Grand Hotel, Stadium Sports Bar & Grill, and Sugo’s Spaghetteria. Guests also bid on a wide variety of items and packages in the silent auction. Then everyone took their seats to hear Kurt speak on Champions, a Q&A with Kurt and Sam led by Joe, pop culture and personal questions from Brenda for the panel, and questions from the audience. It was a night of insight on Rams football past and present as well as laughter and an opportunity to get to know the panel on a more personal level. The next morning, golfers took to the links at Norwood Hills Country Club for the third annual Kurt Warner First Things First Golf Classic. On the course golfers enjoyed food and beverages from Auntie Anne’s, Bud Light, Chick-fil-A, Nutrilite by Amway, Pepsi, and Smoothie King. As the golfers played 18 holes in a scramble format on one of St. Louis’ premiere courses, Kurt and Brenda took foursome photos, signed autographs, mingled and took an occasional swing or putt. Special thanks to all of the golfers along with Edward Jones, FedEx Office, NFL, Nutrilite by Amway, St. Louis Rams, Fox 2/KPLR 11, and 101.1 ESPN for the tremendous support of this fundraiser which raised more than $92,000 for First Things First during the two-day event. Watch for details at for the 2012 Night With Champions and Golf Classic.

Friendly Online Competition for a Cause NCAA basketball fans and NFL fans across the country signed up for various online

pools hosted by Kurt and First Things First throughout the year to help raise money for the foundation and enjoy a little friendly competition with Kurt. Winners received autographed merchandise and a chance to talk with Kurt either by phone or Skype. Together these pools raised over $6,000 for First Things First! Watch for the second annual Kurt Warner Bracket Hoop-la happening this March.

Volume 9, Issue 1

Page 8

Keeping up with the Warners B.


C. D.



A. Kurt signed an exclusive contract with NFL Network to serve as an analyst. B. Kurt enjoyed Hall of Fame festivities in Canton for Marshall Faulk including this encounter with Ice Cube. C. Prior to receiving the first-ever Dick Vermeil Award, Kurt enjoyed getting to know the special guests at the Bert Bell Awards Dinner. D. Kurt tested his skills in a different sport with former teammates Fitz and Anquan Boldin at the Larry Fitzgerald Double Play Celebrity Softball Game. (Bruce Yeung) E. Kurt & Brenda attended Childhelp’s Gala where they accepted the “Spirit of the Children” Award. F. To promote her memoir, One Call Away, Brenda did interviews and book signings in NYC, St. Louis, Phoenix, & LA. (Bill Greenblatt) G. Kurt headed to Cedar Rapids in support of Masters Champ & friend Zach Johnson’s Golf Tournament. H. Kurt, Brenda, & daughter Jesse chat with Dr. Rehnborg, President of Nutrilite Health Institute, during a tour of Nutrilite Center for Optimal Health in CA.


F. Page 9

Keeping up with the Warners J.


I. Kurt & Brenda had a cameo in Fox’s “Truth Be Told” family-friendly movie starring Candice Cameron Bure and David James Elliot (pictured). J. Kurt joined Doug Williams and Joe Montana for the Bing World Champion Quarterback Panel moderated by Mike Tirico at the ESPN NEXT Experience in Dallas during Super Bowl week. K. Kurt and Brenda joined Larry Fitzgerald at his annual charity fundraising dinner in Phoenix. (Bruce Yeung) L. On a visit to New York City, Kurt kicked off Duracell’s “Power Those Who Protect Us” national campaign that supports volunteer fire departments across the country. (Stuart Ramson/Insider Images for Duracell) M. In partnership with Starkey Hearing Foundation, Kurt joined teammate Larry Fitzgerald as a volunteer to help fit local adults and children with hearing aids in Mexico. N. Zack & Kurt, donning Lloyd’s “Dumb and Dumber” orange tux, had fun at the annual Best Buddies Arizona fall fundraiser. O. Brenda traveled across the country with Women of Faith sharing her testimony with thousands of women in attendance. She will be part of the 2012 tour, visiting 12 cities. Visit for more info.



N. O.

M. Page 10

Volume 9, Issue 1

First Things First Message to Youth:

In March, 38 groups of high school and college age students

received $1,000 scholarships to assist with costs for their service-based mission trips in the U.S. During spring break or summer vacations the groups traveled to 26 different locations serving the needs of others by doing home improvement and yard work for elderly residents, serving meals at homeless shelters, and more. As one high school student from Iowa wrote, “This mission trip changed me by showing me that one person’s idea, if they follow through with it, can make a big difference.”

Ending the R-word in AZ

New Perspectives In May, Red Mountain High School

in Mesa, AZ became the fourth school to participate in CHEER (Consciousness Helps Encourage Equal Respect). For a week, students, called CHEER Leaders, were recruited to adopt a disability for a day, which was simulated by using a wheelchair, wearing visual impairment goggles, using a whiteboard for communication, wearing earplugs, or keeping their dominant arm strapped down. At the conclusion of the week, Kurt and Brenda spoke during assemblies for the entire student body. They interviewed the CHEER Leaders about their experiences and lessons learned, then shared the perspective they have received from their son Zack and others with special needs they have been blessed to know.

The Warner Family joined Governor Brewer and Special Olympics Arizona for the signing of a bill eliminating the “R-word” from Arizona legislation. Page 11

FTF Blesses Local Women Via Women of Faith

When Brenda joined the “Over the Top” Tour of Women

of Faith, First Things First, Brenda and Women of Faith joined forces to bless women served by local ministries. Women in each of the 12 cities Brenda visited with Women of Faith, 196 in total, were treated with tickets to the 2-day conference, a First Things First tote bag filled with a devotional, journal, Bible, book, and First Things First visor, as well as a private Meet & Greet with Brenda.

The Treasure He Purposed B elieving

that all people, regardless o f a b i l i t y, h ave a purpose and call for their life, the Warners and First Things First have begun planning for a Christianb a s e d s u p p o r t i ve living community for young adults with developmental disabilities called Tr e a s u r e H o u s e . Kurt and Brenda are inspired by all that their oldest son Zack has accomplished in his life, despite the diagnoses and labels given to him. Zack fuels the passion to create this community with opportunities to cultivate independence and self-advocacy through employment, education and community service. The first Treasure House will be created in the Phoenix area as a replicable model with hopes that it may eventually serve the needs of this special population in multiple locations across the country. A vision of this scope requires a team effort for success. Interested donors and supporters of this project are encouraged to call the First Things First office at 602-385-0840.

Brenda Released Memoir with Portion of Proceeds to FTF

“The impact of inviting our ladies to the conference has been felt all over the building. Those ladies beam like glowing angels and they have not stopped talking about the life changing experience.” The Shade Tree, Las Vegas

Brenda’s memoir, One Call Away: Answering Life’s Challenges with Unshakable Faith (Thomas Nelson) details her stranger-than-fiction l i fe c i rc u m s t a n c e s both before and during her marriage to Kurt. One Call Away can be purchased at kur with proceeds going to First Things First. Page 12

Volume 9, Issue 1

Giving Thanks by Giving Food to the Needy Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. ~W.J. Cameron

First Things First put this philosophy in motion once again this year with outreach to several organizations feeding those in need in Phoenix, St. Louis and Des Moines. In partnership with Albertson’s, First Things First provided 50 food boxes for families at Homeward Bound, a residential facility for homeless and domestic violence survivors in Phoenix, as well as a $1,000 donation in support of Turkey Tuesday with St. Vincent de Paul and the sponsoring of a Thanksgiving brunch for 127 families at UMOM, which offers shelter and services for homeless families and individuals. In St. Louis, 340 turkeys were distributed to low income families served by the agency network of Operation Food Search while in Des Moines, 600 meals for families resulted from a $4,000 gift toward the Scan Away Hunger program of Hope Ministries, which exists to bring lasting hope to men, women and children who are homeless in Iowa. Accompanying each meal provided by First Things First was the spiritual nourishment of the Word of God with the donation of 1,130 Bibles.

Sharing Love at Christmas First Things First strives to spread the love of Jesus throughout the year, but it is a special privilege at Christmas time. In 2011, the foundation adopted three organizations including Jamaa Charter School in St. Louis, MO, Olivet Neighborhood Mission in Cedar Rapids, IA and Sunshine Acres in Mesa, AZ. Jamaa Charter School is a new school in north St. Louis serving kindergarten, third, and sixth grade students. All 78 students received a personalized stocking with gift cards, games, toys, gloves, sunglasses, etc. The extended Warner family in Cedar Rapids, including Kurt’s mom Sue (pictured above), helped deliver personalized stockings to the 12 families (49 people in all) adopted through Olivet Neighborhood Mission which offers individualized services to homeless or those living in poverty. The entire Warner clan continued their yearly tradition of spending time with the kids at Sunshine Acres to personally deliver stockings to each child (90 in all!). Everyone immediately got use of their new gloves as they played in the snow during the traditional snowball fight. Carrabba’s Italian Grill generously provided a delicious lunch and sweet treats were donated courtesy of Yogurtology. Page 13

Warm Bodies, Warm Hearts

Support FTF Simply by Searching, Shopping & Eating In 2010, First Things First partnered

The 11th annual Warners’ Warm-up Coat Drive kicked off at the Edward Jones

Dome on October 30 as Rams fans entering the dome donated coats and cash. This year, the funds collected were used to purchase new coats for children affected by the tornado in Joplin, MO. Over $3,000 was collected and with an additional $2,000 from First Things First, 265 Columbia coats were distributed in Joplin. The two-week community wide drive took place from November 1 – 14 with nearly 300 drop-off locations on both sides of the river including FedEx Office, Walgreens, LookAfter Hair Company as well as participating MO/IL police stations and credit unions. A-Mrazek Moving Systems once again supplied the collection boxes. Thanks to help from KMOX, Y98, Fresh 102.5, Fox 2 and KPLR 11, word about the drive spread and Bi-state residents responded by donating over 16,000 coats! Operation Food Search utilized their network of agencies on both sides of the river as well as relationships with school social workers to ensure the coats were given to those in greatest need. Mark your 2012 calendar for the 12th annual drive from November 1 – 14!

with to give people an effortless way to support our outreach every day just by searching and shopping online or dining out at your favorite restaurants. Since that time, we have raised $2,000+ with 129 supporters. This year we’d like to double that number! By downloading our GoodSearch toolbar from our homepage at you and your friends can see how much you raise for First Things First when you search, shop and dine! The best part is it doesn’t cost you anything extra!

Phoenix area residents can support First Things First by purchasing marinara sauce from Crust Restaurant locations in Phoenix with $1 from the sale of every jar benefitting the foundation. This homemade sauce in large 32 ounce jars is a Warner family favorite! Go to to learn more about Crust and find a location near you. Page 14

Volume 9, Issue 1

2011 Friends of First Things First Helping First Things First share God’s love with the community with cash and in-kind contributions (Sincerest apologies if anyone was inadvertently omitted from this list)

$50,000+ Amway $25,000+ Aarons For Those Without A Voice Hewlett Packard Nike Scottsdale Leadership $20,000+ Edward Jones Joyce Meyer Ministries Priority Sports and Entertainment Prosource Foundation, Inc.

$10,000+ Arizona Cardinals CA Insight Direct USA, Inc. MarketPlace One NFL Charities St. Louis Rams U-Haul Women of Faith $5,000+ Badali Design Communications General Mills Mr. & Mrs. John Herber Will Meris John Merwin National Football League

NY 54 Limo R&S Mattress Liquidators Remo Tulliani Walmart Foundation $1,000+ Albertsons American Family Insurance A-Mrazek Moving Systems Anheuser Busch Apollo Group, Inc. Auntie Anne’s Belden Bruce Beverly Brett Bouchy

Chris Brien Cardwell’s at the Plaza/BC’s Kitchen Daniel Carns Carrabba’s Italian Grill Celebrity Fight Night Dewey’s Pizza FedEx Office Fitz’s American Grill & Bottling Works Foster Grant Donald Glaser Jamba Juice KMOX Radio Lumiere Casino Tom MacDonald Joan Malloy Rusty and Kim Maple Greg Maracek

Mars, Inc. John Mather Joe McEuen Jay Murchison Richard Nold Northern Trust Bank Pappy’s Smokehouse Steve Peters Renaissance Grand Hotel Mark & Ann Marie Rockamann Royal Restrooms Sonya Saldana Mark & Kathleen Simmonds Brenda & Dwayne Smith Greg Smith

Stadium Sports Bar & Grill Bill Stover Photography Mr. & Mrs. Trevor Strawhecker Sugo’s Spaghetteria Supreme Protein, Inc. Christopher & Mary Swenson Laureen Tanner Melanie Thomas Walt Disney World Resorts Wells Fargo Community Support Campaign Todd White XS Energy Bruce Yeung Photography Bob & Jean Zink 50th Anniversary Page 15

2011 Friends of First Things First (cont.) Helping First Things First share God’s love with the community with cash and in-kind contributions (Sincerest apologies if anyone was inadvertently omitted from this list)

$100+ A Better Alternative Bouncy Things All Star Framing ASU Gammage Martha Bauschka Bill’s Custom Frames Helen Boyd Michael Brickner Robert Buday Chick-fil-A Clayton Road Framing Clark Creighton Coca Cola John Collins, Jr. Maura Corrigan

Framin’ Place Gail Jansen Great American Title Agency Patricia Harre Heirloom Gallery Custom Framing John Hewkin Kylie Hoffman Jodi Hubly Michael Huether, MD Daniel Huitnik Christopher and Robin Ingersoll Jason’s Deli Senait Dyson Thomas Jochum Zach Jones

Mark Nerney Faye Orser Janet Ostermeyer Pedal Power Foundation Pepsi Phoenix Coyotes Gerald Potter Robert Radomski Jacquelyn Rahm Theresa M. Ramsbottom Adam Ray Jason Redman Kevin Riffle Kevin Schwers Smoothie King

Tom & Judith Coughlin John Coury John E. Cox Jane Craig Crave Potato Chips Crust Pizzeria Desert Ridge Resort David Edwards Ephrata Church of the Brethren Fairytale Brownies Fast Action Sports Ruth Faulls Fenway Asset Management Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund Fine Art Framing Frame of Mind

Eileen Kilbane Philip Kruis William Ko Bryce Kopper Brenda Lapaglia Harlan Lee Angela Lewis Loews Hotel Ludwig Klewer & Co LLC Julie Magrane Mary Tuttle’s Flowers & Gifts Kathleen M. Maus John McDonnell Moda Fina Fine Jewelry Moments Framed Scott Morgan

Sosnicki Family Derek Sotnyk Southwest Ambulance Sparkletts Water Judy Steele-Beckett Brian Steiner Ron & Charmaine Stiles St. Louis Cardinals Tracy Senf Colin Trout Truist Employee Contributions Gary Underwood Doug Vlasak Douglas Weible Keith Whittemore

FTF 2011 Year in Review