- August 8, 2022
PDQ, the Tampa-based fast-casual restaurant chain, has enlisted a heavy hitter to help launch its latest eatery, in Brooksville — Tampa Bay Buccaneers legend Derrick Brooks. The Hall of Fame linebacker’s charitable foundation, Derrick Brooks Charities, will receive 100% of the proceeds when PDQ customers donate their rounded-up change from transactions made at that restaurant and 29 others between July 10 and Aug. 7.
Brooks, in an interview with the Business Observer prior to his appearance at the Brooksville PDQ grand opening, says PDQ has been a longtime supporter of his charitable activities, providing food for youth football programs, for example. But the current initiative is “next level,” he says.
“It’s something that I've talked about with PDQ leadership for the last couple of years,” he adds. “The time is right, because the needs are out there.”
Brooks envisions a long-term partnership with PDQ, which, since it was founded in 2009, has donated nearly $6 million to local, state and national nonprofit organizations ranging from Big Brothers Big Sisters to Metropolitan Ministries and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
“The past 22 years we’ve have done a great job, stayed in our lane and done our best with our resources,” Brooks adds, “but now is an opportunity for next-level investment and engagement by bringing on this type of corporate partner that believes in the same values. This is not a ‘one and done’ relationship.”
Brooks says he doesn’t have a specific fundraising goal in mind: “Whether it's $1 or a million dollars, I'm accepting it all. My goal is to have impact — and the resources to do it.” The funds will go toward a wide range of youth education programs, everything from sports and tutoring to mental health services. Other than that framework, the 30 participating PDQ locations will have carte blanche to allocate proceeds from the round-up initiative how they see fit.
“They know their communities,” he says, “and I promise that every dollar that is raised is going back into the community.”
Brooks, who remains active in the NFL as one of the league’s appeals officers, also touched on his expectations for the Bucs now that superstar quarterback Tom Brady has un-retired and returned to the team.
“Having Tom there gives them consistency,” he says. “I’m excited to see Coach Todd Bowles’ leadership with a very good football team, vs. his last stint as a head coach. He gets a chance now to guide a contender. The Bucs will be right there in the mix as contenders, and we’ll see how some of the younger players take on a bigger role within the team. I expect our Bucs to earn a playoff berth.”
But watching Brady light up the stat sheet well into his mid-forties, does Brooks, who retired in 2010, ever wish he had played a few more seasons?
“Absolutely not,” he says with a laugh. “I just sit back and continue to be a fan, honestly, of what he's doing, rather than trying to compare it to see if I could have done it as a defender.”