Tampa, Florida (October 5) -
The Heisman Trophy Trust announced yesterday that it has selected former Florida State University and NFL running back, Warrick Dunn, as the fifth recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award. The award will be formally presented to Dunn at the 76th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner on December 13, 2010 in New York City.
The Heisman Humanitarian Award was established in 2006 to recognize athletes who go above and beyond to serve their community and improve the lives of others. Dunn started the Homes for the Holidays program in 1997 during his rookie season in the NFL to honor his late mother’s dream of homeownership. In 2002, he established the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation as a way to grow programs and services for single-parent families. Through his charitable efforts, Dunn has rewarded 99 single parents and their more than 260 children and dependents in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Tallahassee and Tampa for achieving the American Dream of becoming a first-time homebuyer. The Homes for the Holidays program has contributed $1,890,000 in home furnishings with furniture provided by Aaron’s, Inc. and $455,000 in down payment assistance since 1997.
“Warrick Dunn’s athleticism and charitable contributions exemplify the Heisman spirit and it will be an honor to welcome him to the Heisman Humanitarian Award family at the 76th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner,” said Rob Whalen, executive director of the Heisman Trophy Trust. “Dunn’s experience growing up with a single mother has pushed him to improve the lives of other single parents, providing them with down payment assistance, new furniture and additional household necessities. He is making a difference in four cities he has called home, giving back to the communities that supported him growing up and during his college and professional playing days. Dunn continues to prove that hard work is rewarded both on and off the field and it is a privilege to present this award to him this year.”
Dunn, the oldest of six children, experienced the struggles of life in a single-parent family. His mother, Betty Smothers, was a City of Baton Rouge police officer who often worked security shifts to provide for her family. It was always her goal to experience the American Dream of becoming a first-time homebuyer. Before she could realize her dream, she was gunned down in an armed robbery during an off-duty shift, leaving 18-year-old Dunn to care for his five siblings. Dunn’s dedication to charity was born as a result of the outpouring of support his family received from the Baton Rouge community during this tragic time.
“I am honored to receive this award from the Heisman Trophy Trust and I believe it is a testament to the values instilled in me by my mother. Without her strength and determination as an example growing up, I would not have been able to achieve my goals in life and on the football field,” said Dunn. “This award will help bring more attention to the work of the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation and for that, I am grateful.”
The Warrick Dunn Family Foundation will receive a $50,000 charitable donation from the Heisman Trophy Trust.
The 76th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner will take place at the New York Marriott Marquis on Monday, December 13, 2010.