Former NFL Player, Warrick Dunn, launches new charity in historic Laney Walker Community groundbreaking in Augusta, Georgia
[left to right: Shea Johnson, HUD Georgia Director of Operations; Warrick Dunn, Founder of WD Communities and former NFL Player , Javalle Mcallister, HUD Georgia Office and Jason Becker, HUD Georgia Community, Planning and Development Office. ]
left to right: Shea Johnson, HUD Georgia Director of Operations; Warrick Dunn, Founder of WD Communities and former NFL Player, Javalle Mcallister, HUD Georgia Office and Jason Becker, HUD Georgia Community, Planning and Development Office.
[Lots for new affordable housing in the community.]
Lots for new affordable housing in the community.

The City of Augusta recently celebrated a new charitable partnership and ground breaking with Warrick Dunn, former NFL player and Founder of WD Communities, Housing and Community Development, and Antioch Ministries along with community leaders, partners and HUD Georgia Office leadership and staff in an ongoing effort to improve affordable housing opportunities in the historic Laney Walker area. The Warrick Dunn Charity – WD Communities is dedicated to breaking generational poverty cycles and the groundbreaking of the first three homes are part of the Perry Avenue Development Project in the historic neighborhood.

The City of Augusta has taken a holistic approach in revitalizing the Historic Laney Walker neighborhood, by using a combination of funds from available community resources such as private investments and bonds while also leveraging its participation in the HUD HOME Investment Partnership Program and its national recognition for its community renovation masterplan which won the 2013 HUD Secretary's Opportunity and Empowerment Award.

“As a HUD Community Development Block Grant grantee, the HUD Region IV Atlanta Office continues to support the City of Augusta and its efforts to enhance the area by providing safe and affordable housing to those we mutually serve.” said Shea Johnson, HUD Director of Georgia Operations.

“I love the fact, here in Augusta, they’re committed to building healthy communities.” said Dunn. The former Atlanta Falcons running back is well known for his philanthropy and has assisted 177 families around the country with affordable homeownership and transitional housing through his Home for the Holiday program. 

I want to be able to help these individuals go through this transition, where they are building better habits, and staying true to the things they signed up for added Dunn.

The Director of Housing and Community Development, Hawthone Welcher Jr., explained that “It just feels good to know that Augusta is not doing this alone, “and “With partnerships, we are transforming neighborhoods.”

WD Communities partnered with the Augusta Housing Community Development because they share some of the same vision. Last year, Dunn, through his charity, fully furnished two homes for single-parent family homes in Augusta.

Laney Walker/Bethlehem is a long-term redevelopment project on 1,100 acres in the heart of Augusta, Georgia encompassing two historic African American neighborhoods. Plans call for a mixed-income, mixed-use, sustainable neighborhood, much as the neighborhood was in its heyday. The masterplan won the 2013 HUD Secretary's Opportunity and Empowerment Award in Chicago at the National Planning Conference.

The aspirational plan calls for 10,000 residents, and $2.8 Billion of investment to create 38,000 new jobs, and result in total investment into the local economy of $4.5 billion over the next five decades. The City of Augusta is working with two teams of consultants to implement the plan and has taken out bonds to finance the project.