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Warrick Dunn, Black NFL Owner, Helps Families in Need

Warrick Dunn refuses to be another headline that reads: ‘NFL Player Squanders Fortune.’

With his business savvy and altruistic heart, the only thing he’ll be guilty of is giving all of his money to charity. The former running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently found a new home for the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation headquarters at the elegant family offices where the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation is also located in a tony section of Atlanta.

He reveals why he moved the foundation from Tampa. “I am in Atlanta a lot more since I am part-owner of the Atlanta Falcons and, believe it or not, all of the people who work for me wanted to be in Atlanta.”

Through the foundation’s Homes for the Holidays program, Dunn has been a financial blessing for 101 single mothers and fathers and 270 dependents, rewarding them with down-payment assistance and home furnishings for purchasing and decorating their first homes in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, La., and Tampa and Tallahassee, Fla.

In December 2010, the foundation celebrated a milestone. They awarded the 100th home to a single mom, Janice Cantrell, who lost a nephew and son to gun violence and was purchasing her first home to provide a safer place for her family. Former President Jimmy Carter, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Atlanta Falcon’s owner Arthur Blank attended the event.

The foundation’s mission “is really about helping people who are trying to help themselves … [and] put themselves in the best position to be successful. This foundation really started out with a dream that my mom had to own her own home,” Dunn shares. A police officer, Dunn’s mother was ambushed and killed in 1993 while off-duty.

Dunn, who played for the Atlanta Falcons for six years before becoming a Buc, says that his ownership in the Falcons has presented an opportunity to expand the foundation’s reach as well as partner with the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation.

They also have plans to “launch a new bereavement program in Baton Rouge for children who have lost a loved one to violent crime, like Dunn; increase outreach to more families each year through Homes for the Holidays; and expand its board of directors to represent all of its markets.” ­–yvette caslin

The Foundation’s official housing partner is Habitat for Humanity affiliates. To learn more about the organization, visit www.wd-ff.org. You can find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at WarrickDunn and @WD_FF.