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Warrick Dunn Charities improves lives through innovative programming inspired by our founder's life journey.
Homes for the Holidays is dedicated to providing opportunities for economically disadvantaged single parents and children who have demonstrated a commitment to achieve financial independence and stability.
Betty’s Hope empowers youth to manage grief in a responsive environment to heal and enhance their quality of life. Through a mobile outreach program in Baton Rouge, La., children aged 5-18 are provided with group grief support.
HISTORY: A native of Baton Rouge, La., Warrick Dunn grew up the oldest of six children, experiencing all the struggles of a single-parent family. His mother, Betty Smothers, a local police officer, worked tirelessly to provide for her family and to one day realize the American dream of home ownership.
Tragically, Dunn’s mother was killed during an armed robbery when he was a senior in high school. Faced with the challenge of raising his five siblings, he was grateful to the Baton Rouge community for the support his family received. Friends and neighbors banded together to create a memorial fund for his family in honor of his mother’s selfless public service to the city of Baton Rouge. Through his mother’s example in life and death, Dunn was provided the tools to become a pillar of hope and strength; not only for his family, but also for the communities he has called home.
Touched by this outpouring of community support, Dunn set a goal to give back to the communities that had given so much to him. Since his rookie year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Warrick Dunn realized the impact he could have through a positive image and community involvement. Challenged by Tony Dungy to become a vital part of the community, Warrick established Homes for the Holidays. To date, the program has rewarded 127 single parents and 344 children and dependents for achieving first-time homeownership in Atlanta, Ga., Baltimore, Md., Baton Rouge, La., Dallas, Tx., Jacksonville, Fla., New Orleans, La., Tampa and Tallahassee, Fla. Homes for the Holidays not only provides uplifting support for these communities, it also is a way for Warrick to extend his mother’s dream of homeownership to other self-sufficient single parents.
Although the Homes for the Holidays program has existed since 1997, Warrick Dunn Charities was created in 2002 as a way to grow programs and services for at-risk families.
As Warrick Dunn Charities continues to pursue its mission of providing opportunities for single-parent families, a national expansion was launched to include all National Football League cities. In addition, the Charity is researching ways to improve and expand the scope of service for its target population. In 2012, Betty’s Hope Children’s Bereavement program was launched in Dunn’s hometown of Baton Rouge to bring a sense of hope and community involvement to those who have lost a loved one.
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