In Warrick Dunn's rookie year in the NFL, he and his teammates were challenged by historic Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy to help the community in which they played. Dunn accepted the challenge and kept running. To date, Warrick Dunn Charities has helped 185 single-parent families in 24 markets to realize their dreams of becoming homeowners through its flagship program, Homes for the Holidays (HFTH). The organization focuses on providing a hand-up—not a handout—in the form of home furnishings and down payment assistance to single parents who are actively employed and supporting themselves and their children.
Dunn, who played 12 seasons in the NFL as a running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons, made an impact on the field, but his legacy for giving back to the communities where he's lived is far more incredible. Raised by a single mother who was a police officer and was fatally injured while working a second job, Dunn turned his trials into triumph and made it his life's purpose to aid families like his achieve their dreams.
The work of Dunn and his team doesn't end at homeownership, however. The organization offers programming, including financial literacy, nutrition and wellness, and scholarships to reward youth who serve their communities. In times like these, when the world needs kindness more than ever.
"Warrick Dunn Charities is committed to breaking the cycle of generational poverty,” says Whitney A. Jackson, MSW, Executive Director of Warrick Dunn Charities. “But we can only do that by teaching others to fish, not feeding them just for a day. Our programs not only reward families and individuals who have started on the path toward creating a better quality of life for themselves but gives them the foundational tools and resources necessary to transform entire communities for generations to come."
Not only does he walk the walk, Dunn finds it essential to pass the ball to young people, empowering them to make a positive impact in the world.
Founder Dunn takes the role of investing in youth and giving back seriously and shared that "we [all] have to do more to build empathy in children, so they have a hard time mistreating one another. It all starts with kids, so we all have to care about kids, especially kids at risk for never learning how to socially and emotionally relate."
For more information about Warrick Dunn Charities and its programs, visit WDC.org The website is an arsenal of information and resources for overall wellness, from mental health to nutrition, financial education, homeownership, and beyond.