When Warrick Dunn's mother, Baton Rouge police officer Betty Smothers, was gunned down in an armed robbery during an off-duty shift, 18-year-old Warrick was left to care for his five siblings.
The Baton Rouge community banded together to create a memorial fund for the Dunn family in honor of Betty's selfless public service to the city. Grateful for this outpouring of support – and through his mother's example in life and in death – Warrick was provided the tools to become a pillar of hope and strength not only for his family, but for all the communities he has called home.
During his 1997 rookie season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Warrick Dunn realized the impact he could have through community involvement and established the premise for the Homes for the Holidays program, which assists struggling single parents achieve home ownership. Now in its 15th year, Homes for the Holidays has helped 127 single parents and 344 children – in Atlanta, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Tampa and Tallahassee – realize the security of a home of their own.
Continuing his mission of providing opportunities for parents and their children, Warrick Dunn Charities launched Betty's Hope in 2012 to ensure young people living with loss get the support that they need.