The NFL announced its 32 Walter Payton Man of the Year candidates on Wednesday. Each team names one player from their roster to be a finalist for the award, which recognizes a player's off-the-field community service as well his playing excellence. For the Arizona Cardinals, cornerback Patrick Peterson gets the award.
Peterson created his "Foundation for Success" in 2013 which aims to provide low-income and inner city youth with opportunities and resources to reach their full potential. He hosts an annual "Shop with a Jock" event each year at Walmart for 50 low-income and at-risk inner city families. Peterson has also hosted "Celebrity Golf Challenge" events at Topgolf in Arizona and has his annual "Show and Tell" car shows each April in Mesa to benefit his foundation.
Last January, Peterson unveiled the first "Patrick's Corner" of his foundation for students and families at Nevitt Elementary School in Phoenix. "Patrick's Corner" provides access to books and a safe environment to read with friends and family for at-risk students. There are currently three "Patrick's Corners" libraries in Title I schools and inner city community centers throughout Arizona.
Peterson has also launched the "Pick Up a Book" initiative within the Phoenix community which is designed to bring families, schools and communities together to support children's literacy development. Last month, he hosted his second annual "Celebs and Steaks" fundraising event at Donovan's Steak and Chop House.
In addition to his foundation work, Peterson is also very active through Cardinals team community events. Last January, Peterson joined Bidwill and Cardinals teammates at the NFL's Super Bowl Legacy Grant event leading up to Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona by participating at a Heads Up Football Clinic at ASU Preparatory Academy.
To further celebrate and support the nominees, Nationwide will launch the inaugural Charity Challenge today, December 2. The social media contest will give Cardinals fans the opportunity to show support for Peterson and give him a chance to secure an additional $20,000 for his cause.
Cardinals fans are invited to vote for Peterson by using #PetersonWPMOYChallenge on any social media platform. The Walter Payton Man of the Year finalist whose unique hashtag is used the most by December 31 will receive a $20,000 donation to their charity of choice, courtesy of Nationwide.
For more information about Peterson's foundation and community work, visit http://www.patrickpeterson.org
Before this season, the last three players named the Cardinals/Walter Payton Man of the Year were Larry Fitzgerald in 2012, Jay Feely in 2013 and Calais Campbell in 2014.
You can see who all 32 team award winners are here.