Dalton Risner is a true Renaissance man throughout Colorado.
Entering his fourth season as an offensive lineman with the Broncos, the Colorado native has fully embraced the NFL’s many different community initiatives.
“My cause is making an impact in this work,” Risner said.
Risner has partnered with nonprofit organizations, such as the Special Olympics, Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Denver Rescue Mission. He looks toward organizations dedicated to supporting those struggling with homelessness or addiction.
Risner knows his time in the NFL is limited and is committed to making the most of that public platform while he still has it.
“I was blessed with this platform, I worked hard to have this platform,” he said. “It’s a temporary platform [that] I won’t have forever.”
While his time in the league might be limited, his desire to give back is seemingly limitless.
“Using this platform to impact the lives of others is what I truly believe is most important to me in life so that’s what I do,” Risner said.
This eagerness to engage with the community has also led Risner to partner with a number of smaller organizations and grassroots groups. These include A Precious Child, a local non-profit that strives to provide children in need with opportunities and resources to empower them, where Risner currently serves as an ambassador alongside teammate Justin Simmons.
His organization, RisnerUp, has also sponsored youth football camps in both Denver and Wiggins, Risner’s rural hometown about an hour outside of the state capital.
Risner, 27, has emerged as one of the league’s leaders in community engagement, earning recognition and a reputation for his generosity along the way.
The Kansas State graduate says the work isn’t about the accolades though – it’s always about the people he serves.
“You never want to do something just so you can get rewarded for it, especially when you’re doing good for other people,” he said. “For me, it’s just I get so much joy from those impacts, I get so much joy from seeing that I have impacted someone’s life in a positive way.”
This sometimes involves a little surprise appearance at a local basketball game.
Risner spearheaded a $5,000 donation to Monarch High School, in response to the Marshall Fire that spread throughout Boulder County -- an hour away from his hometown of Wiggins -- right before the New Year and destroyed over 6,000 acres and 1,000 buildings in the process. The Marshall Fire was the most destructive in Colorado history in terms of structures lost.
Risner recruited other Broncos players to auction off jerseys, equipment, cleats and footballs and then donated the money to a local high school athletic department, with the goal of providing equipment and necessary assistance to students impacted by the fire.
Risner’s doesn’t believe in silos. That’s why his dedication to serve can be traced back across the state -- to community groups ranging from those battling cancer to those just trying to make ends meet.
“Any way that I can make an impact, whether that’s working with … kids that are fighting cancer or are in remission from cancer or kids that are getting bullied at school or families that need help buying groceries,” he said.