Rizzos found charity organization to benefit D.C. children

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Mike Rizzo spent the first half of his professional life roaming every corner of the United States and beyond in search of young baseball talent. He’s spent the second half of that professional life staying in one place, making Washington his home during his 18 years working for the Nationals, the last 15 as general manager.

Along the way, as he realized how much D.C. had become home to him and his family, Rizzo decided he wanted to give something back to the city he now lovingly calls home.

“I’m so humbled and grateful every day,” he said. “I was an area scout and grinded it out for a long time to appreciate where I’m at right now. I’ve been blessed in my career and in my life – I’ve made enough money where I can help out the less fortunate – and I married a woman who wanted to do the same thing. We kind of teamed this thing up to leave a mark. I think the city deserves for me to give something back to them, since they’ve given so much to me.”

Thus was The Rizzo Family Foundation – aka “Riz Kids” – born. A new nonprofit organization created by Mike and Jodi Rizzo, it intends to champion educational equity and invest in D.C. children and their families through community grants, college scholarships and opportunities to experience special baseball events.

The idea came to the Rizzos sometime in 2020, after Mike’s sister Kim died of ALS. The birth of the couple’s son, Sonny, last year helped further push them to create the foundation, which officially launched this week.

“The passing of my sister really kind of put things into focus for me, and then the birth of Sonny,” Rizzo said. “I said: ‘We have to do something, and we have to do it in DC.’”

The Rizzos, who live in Navy Yard near Nationals Park, wanted to help less fortunate District residents, especially underprivileged children. The new foundation will award grants to non-profit organizations dedicated to supporting children and families in need of educational, physical, emotional and/or financial assistance.

They’re also creating the Kim Rizzo Penway Scholarship, named in honor of Rizzo’s sister, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2018 and died two years later. Recipients will have the opportunity to have their college educations paid for by the foundation.

“We put those scholarships in my sister’s name, because that was her life,” Rizzo said. “She was big into education. She had a mentally challenged child and tried the teaching and mentoring that goes into that. I thought that was the best way to honor her and the best way to utilize our money: To impact at least two young people per year and give them a head start to getting an education.”

In addition to the grants and scholarships, Riz Kids will donate tickets and offer opportunities to D.C. youth organizations to attend Nationals games and get behind-the-scenes access.

“Those type of things, I think, go a long way in trying to uplift the neighborhood and the city,” Rizzo said.

For more information, visit the foundation’s web site at rizkids.com.

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in Jupiter
Gore avoids big inning, Barnes has strong debut, L...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/