The Sports & Entertainment Advisory Council is co-chaired by Mr. Warrick Dunn and Mr. Don Wildman. Representing the National Football League, Mr. Dunn is a Limited Partner of the Atlanta Falcons and Founder of Warrick Dunn Charities. Mr. Wildman is the President of Archivist Media and host of Cities of the Underworld on the History Channel. Sports and entertainment have a storied history within the fabric of the U.S. For centuries, arenas, stadiums, and theaters have brought people from all walks of life together to share a singular experience. This council, under the leadership of Mr. Dunn and Mr. Wildman, will aim to harness the reach and unifying spirit of sports and entertainment as a tool to expand America250’s influence and impact on every American.
A250: What inspired you both to be co-chairs for this advisory council?
Dunn: I’m inspired by the opportunity to help lead a group of individuals who are passionate about the work we are doing and the stories we are telling. It’s an opportunity to both reflect on the history of our country and create a better future together.
Wildman: In 1876, my great-grandfather attended the Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia. To this day, I keep the souvenirs he purchased on a bookshelf in our home, reminding me that the stories told about this country last for generations and help to shape its destiny. For me, the story we most celebrate today—and struggle with as a still-evolving nation—is about our wonderfully diverse population and how we can move forward to create a better, more equitable, and free society for all. The 250th anniversary is a tremendous opportunity to express this story again for younger generations. I couldn’t pass up the chance.
A250: What do you hope to accomplish as a co-chair pair?
Dunn: Don and I come from different backgrounds but share the same vision. My goal is that we bring out the best in each other and I’m excited to leverage his experience in media and storytelling as we explore America’s past and future through the lens of sports and entertainment.
Wildman: My co-chair, Warrick Dunn, is a record-breaking athlete and accomplished philanthropist. I can’t touch the former, but I hope to align with him on the latter–and to support our council together in its creative efforts. This will be a long-term, gradual process demanding leadership with perspective.
A250: What is your vision for the advisory council?
Dunn: Ultimately, I think it’s to open hearts and minds as we celebrate 250 years of America. It’s an opportunity to bring together different perspectives, creative minds, and passionate people. I want to elevate the stories in sports and entertainment that have been overlooked throughout our history and move things forward for all.
Wildman: Personally, I hope we can make the storytelling of American sports and entertainment a significant part of the celebration. Ours is a nation built on its stories—but we need to develop new ways to tell them.
A250: How will you know you’ve accomplished your goals?
Dunn: We’ve brought together a diverse group of individuals in sports and entertainment to create a clear vision and direction moving forward. It’s about shining the light on untold stories from our past and creating better opportunities for the next person that walks in our shoes.
Wildman: When we’ve gathered the most balanced group of energetic and focused individuals from the widest range of the sports and entertainment industries, who mean to articulate a passionate, new vision on where our dynamic nation is headed–and how!
A250: What does America need to know about your advisory council?
Dunn: This is about celebrating 250 years of America and inspiring the next 250. Sports and entertainment have always had a unique ability to unite people. To me, it’s about using our collective stories to inspire that enthusiasm, resilience and optimism in others.
Wildman: I hope Americans feel ours is an earnest effort to get it right. It’s a profound challenge ahead, given the obstacles faced by so many, and divisions that run deep. It may be tempting to doubt or feel cynical, but if those challenges and divisions are met honestly and our stories are told in a healthy and dynamic spirit, I think we’re good!