Dunn to receive 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award

Habitat for Humanity, NFL’s Warrick Dunn help metro Atlanta mother get her 1st house
Habitat for Humanity, NFL’s Warrick Dunn help metro Atlanta mother get her 1st house

Falcons limited partner and former running back Warrick Dunn, the founder of Warrick Dunn Charities, will receive the Atlanta Sports Council’s lifetime-achievement award during the 2021 Atlanta Sports Awards, which will be held virtually at 7 p.m. Aug. 2.

“Known for his excellent professional football career in Atlanta, Warrick’s dedication to his philanthropic initiatives have had a profound impact on the city’s community and continued his legacy as a leader in Atlanta and beyond,” Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council, said in a news release. “His dedication and involvement in the community as well as his charitable giving efforts make Dunn the embodiment of the Lifetime Achievement Award.”

The award show will be held virtually with a one-hour special in partnership with WXIA-TV. Leading to the award show, fans will have a chance to vote for their favorite athletes, teams, coaches and more on https://www.11alive.com/sportsawards. The awards, created by the Atlanta Sports Council in 2006, highlight the high school, collegiate and professional sports community in Atlanta.

Dunn, who played at Florida State, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1997. He played for the Bucs for five years before he signed with the Falcons in 2002. During his time with the Falcons, Dunn gained 5,981 rushing yards, the fourth-most in Falcons history, and 30 touchdowns while averaging 4.2 yards per carry. He caught 204 passes during his career with the Falcons, the second-most among running backs in franchise history, for 1,635 yards, which is the third-most among Falcons running backs, and scored six receiving touchdowns.

He amassed over 1,600 yards from scrimmage (1,416 rushing, 220 receiving) to help the Falcons reach the NFC Championship game after the 2005 season.

In 2008, Dunn returned to the Bucs for his final season.

Upon his retirement in 2009, he became a limited partner of the Falcons. In 2013, Dunn graduated with his Executive MBA from Emory University. In 2013, he became the 10th member of the Falcons’ Ring of Honor.

Dunn is the founder of Warrick Dunn Charities, which began as a tribute to his mother, Betty Smothers, a Baton Rouge police officer who was a single mother of six. She wanted to own her a home. While working a second job as a security guard, Smothers was killed in the line of duty and never realized owning a house.

Since 1997, Warrick Dunn Charities has worked with affordable housing providers in 24 markets across the country to provide assistance for 190 single-parent families who are actively working to support themselves and are purchasing their first home. The organization surprises single-parent families by completely furnishing each home and providing down-payment assistance totaling $940,000 to date.

Also, Warrick Dunn Charities offers a financial-literacy program called Count on Your Future and SCULPT, a health and wellness program, and more than 500 families have participated in the programs since 2015.

In February 2020, Dunn launched his second nonprofit, WD Communities, which will help families with the purchase of affordable or transitional housing.

“If winning this award helps bring attention to the plight many families suffer because of the lack of affordable housing, then I am honored to accept it,” Dunn said in a news release. “The Lifetime Achievement Award, bestowed by the Atlanta Sports Council is helping shine a light on the issues that effect many of those who live in and around Atlanta, and that is important work, so I’d like to recognize their help as well.”

Previous lifetime-achievement award winners including Steve Koonin (2020), Dikembe Mutombo (2019), John Schuerholz (2018), Arthur Blank (2017), John Smoltz (2016), Tom Glavine (2015), the late Tommy Nobis (2014), Chipper Jones (2013), Dominique Wilkins (2012) and Bobby Cox (2011).

“Warrick’s passion for Atlanta is unmatched, and his philanthropic efforts not only make our community better but also set a high bar for other athletes in the community to give back,” Dina Gerson, the Atlanta Sports Council’s board chair, said in a news release. “His influence and advocacy have helped make Atlanta’s sports community what it is today.”

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