Adrian Phillips has wanted to start a foundation for some time, but told himself 2023 was the year he'd finally do it.
The Patriots safety had volunteered at plenty of events with the team's foundation over his time in New England, always reflecting that he would have loved that experience as a kid. Now with a child of his own, and another baby on the way, that goal came to fruition.
And just in time for the new year, too.
"It's called the Lake Foundation, named after my son," Phillips said after launching the charity with a holiday event at the Marlborough Boys and Girls Club of MetroWest last Tuesday evening.
"What made me want to start it was the fact that when I was growing up, we didn't really have a lot of outside influence in terms of people coming back and helping the kids. That was something I always wanted as a kid, so I always said that when I get the chance, I'm actually going to do it. This year I committed to starting it. It was harder than I thought, for sure, but it felt good to be able to host my first event."
His wife, Camille, and two-year-old son, Dylan Lake, joined Phillips at the Boys and Girls Club for a holiday party complete with presents, dinner, dessert, and of course, photo opportunities.
Phillips invited 21 children, in honor of his jersey number, identified by the club as kids who would benefit the most from gifts and activities during an evening with the Phillips family.
"It just felt right because I wanted to do something small and intimate for my first event and really be able to connect with every kid," Phillips said.
"The kids had wish lists for Christmas, so we picked out a gift on their wish list and were able to give it to them. We handed out stockings with candies and little toys and brought in some pizzas. We all took pictures and just had a good time."
Phillips has worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs of MetroWest before, specifically, the Marlborough club, and prioritizes growing that relationship to give back to youth of New England.
Still, nothing could have prepared him for the joy he felt himself when the hope was to spread cheer to others.
"It was amazing," Phillips said. "Just seeing the reaction on their faces and being able to give something on their wishlist that they really wanted was just an incredible feeling. You can't replicate it. It was just so great."
Going forward, the Lake Foundation's focus will be dedicated to lifting up others through bettering education, minority communities, athletics, and food insecurity.
In their work through this charity, Phillips wants to provide valuable lessons for his own children. Though Dylan is just a toddler, and Camille is pregnant with their first girl, the family aspect is important to him.
"It's super cool because I want (Dylan) to be able to see that type of stuff and see us giving back, understanding that I'm not just a professional athlete and I can use my platform to help out other people," Phillips said.
"He doesn't understand it right now, but hopefully, as he gets older, he will and he'll see those pictures and realize that I was more than just a football player. I was somebody helping our community."