MEET OUR FOUNDER

Warrick Dunn headshot in suit
Warrick Dunn

If ever there was a comeback kid story, our Founder is one of them.

Raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Warrick Dunn was the oldest of six to his single mother, Betty Smothers. Betty worked tirelessly as a police officer until January 7th, 1993, when she was ambushed and killed while escorting a businesswoman to make a night deposit. Warrick was only 18 years old.

Thrust into the role of head of the household, Warrick used his mother’s life insurance to purchase a home for his younger siblings. In the midst of the tragedy, Warrick was also being heavily recruited as a senior out of Catholic High School to play football. He would ultimately choose to fulfill his mother’s dream and play at Florida State University.

Dunn, with the help of his grandmother, managed to both parent and be a brother to his siblings from afar, while becoming one of the best backs the Seminoles have ever seen. At FSU, Warrick was a three-time first-team All-ACC performer where he became the first back in the school’s history to record three 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He finished as the Seminoles’ career leader in rushing yards, gaining 3,959 to surpass Greg Allen’s 3,769 (1981-84), and he graduated on time in 1997 with a degree in Information Studies.

 

Continuing to defy the odds, Warrick Dunn was drafted in the first round (12th pick overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 1997 he was named NFL Rookie of the Year by Football News, Pro Football Weekly and Sports Illustrated, and designated Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press, Football Digest and College and Pro Football Newsweekly. Warrick would go on to play five seasons with the Buccaneers, six seasons with the Falcons, and then one final year with the Buccaneers. He retired from the NFL 14th all-time in all-purpose yards with 15,306 and 19th in rushing yards with 10,967.

Warrick Dunn running football for Buccaneers
 

Continuing to defy the odds, Warrick Dunn was drafted in the first round (12th pick overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 1997 he was named NFL Rookie of the Year by Football News, Pro Football Weekly and Sports Illustrated, and designated Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press, Football Digest and College and Pro Football Newsweekly. Warrick would go on to play five seasons with the Buccaneers, six seasons with the Falcons, and then one final year with the Buccaneers. He retired from the NFL 14th all-time in all-purpose yards with 15,306 and 19th in rushing yards with 10,967.

Warrick Dunn with Arthur Blank

During his tenure as a Falcon’s runningback, Warrick’s curiosity and interests off the field helped him develop a close relationship with Falcon’s owner Arthur Blank. In December 2009, that relationship helped Dunn realize a long-time goal of expanding his knowledge and experience in the area of NFL team management, branding, and operations by being unanimously approved by NFL owners to become a limited partner of the Atlanta Falcons. The purchase of his minority ownership position in the club was completed in March 2010.

 

In addition to his impressive on-field accomplishments and resume, Warrick is perhaps best known for his involvement in philanthropy. As a rookie for Tampa Bay, Warrick founded our Homes for the Holidays program to fulfill his mother’s dream of home ownership for single parent families. The program partners with local organizations to turn houses into homes for single parent families through home furnishings and down-payment assistance. Since its inception, Homes for the Holidays has furnished 169 homes, provided over $800,000 in down-payment assistance, and served over 457 single parents and children.

The impact of Homes for the Holidays inspired Warrick to expand into three additional programs: Count on Your Future, Sculpt, and Hearts for Community Service Scholarships, all housed today under the Warrick Dunn Charities umbrella. Together, the four programs are dedicated to strengthening and transforming communities by combating poverty, hunger, and improving the quality of lives for families academically, socially, and economically.

Warrick hugs emotional Homes for the Holiday's recipient

In addition to his impressive on-field accomplishments and resume, Warrick is perhaps best known for his involvement in philanthropy. As a rookie for Tampa Bay, Warrick founded our Homes for the Holidays program to fulfill his mother’s dream of home ownership for single parent families. The program partners with local organizations to turn houses into homes for single parent families through home furnishings and down-payment assistance. Since its inception, Homes for the Holidays has furnished 169 homes, provided over $800,000 in down-payment assistance, and served over 457 single parents and children.

The impact of Homes for the Holidays inspired Warrick to expand into three additional programs: Count on Your Future, Sculpt, and Hearts for Community Service Scholarships, all housed today under the Warrick Dunn Charities umbrella. Together, the four programs are dedicated to strengthening and transforming communities by combating poverty, hunger, and improving the quality of lives for families academically, socially, and economically.

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Phone: +1 (470) 585-1648

Email: [email protected]

Warrick Dunn Charities, Inc.
229 Peachtree Street, NE Suite 675
Atlanta, GA 30303

IMPROVING LIVES / INSTILLING HOPE / INSPIRING COMMUNITIES

Get Involved

Volunteers make our mission of turning houses into homes possible.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Follow Us on Social

Phone: +1 (470) 585-1648

Email: [email protected]

Warrick Dunn Charities, Inc.
229 Peachtree Street, NE Suite 675
Atlanta, GA 30303

IMPROVING LIVES / INSTILLING HOPE / INSPIRING COMMUNITIES