Helping families thrive socially, economically and educationally
I did not grow up with many material things, but I was surrounded by the love of family, friends and coaches. My single mother worked overtime to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. And when I was only 18, I lost her to a violent crime. Through her life – and death – my Mom taught me how to give of myself to those in need. The work of this foundation is dedicated to her.
Warrick Dunn, Founder
Warrick Dunn grew up the oldest of six children in a single-parent household. His mother, Betty Smothers, was a Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officer who worked tirelessly to provide for her family – and to one day realize the dream of home ownership. Tragically, Betty was killed during an armed robbery when Warrick was only a senior in high school.
Moved by the outpouring of support following his mother's death, Warrick promised to one day give back to the community that had given so much to him and his siblings during their time of need.
Despite his dire circumstances, Warrick went on to graduate from Florida State University, where he also laid the foundation for a successful football career. And after being drafted in the first round by the NFL in 1997, Warrick began delivering on his promise. He hasn't stopped since.
For the past 16 years, Warrick Dunn Charities has focused on providing programs and services for single parents who are committed to achieving stability for themselves and their children, making a difference for 125-plus single parents to date – along with more than 300 children. In 2012, Warrick Dunn Charities expanded its service to include a mobile children's bereavement program in Baton Rouge, La.