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Murray Journal

Murrayite Bob Dunn receives Governor's Career Humanitarian Leadership Award

Feb 17, 2020 01:40PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

President Dallin H. Oaks of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presented Bob Dunn with the Governor’s Career Humanitarian Leadership Award. (Photo courtesy Utah Philanthropy Day)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

On a local scale, it might be similar to winning the NBA’s Coach of the Year for service. 

Bob Dunn recently received the Governor’s Career Humanitarian Leadership Award. He was feted in November at the annual Utah Philanthropy Day, hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Utah Nonprofits Association, and UServeUtah.

Utah Philanthropy Day has recognized Utahns every year since 1999, including Jon Huntsman and Spencer Eccles. The Governor’s Career Humanitarian Leadership Award recognizes leaders who inspire others to get involved for the betterment of their community and have had a career of 30 years or more.

Dunn recently retired as executive director of the Murray Boys & Girls Club after 39 years with the organization. Additionally, Dunn served on the TOSH Community Advisory Committee, Utah State Boys & Girls Club Alliance, Utah Council for Citizens Diplomacy Volunteer of the Year Award, Murray City Disability Advisory Board, Murray Rotary Club, Midvale City Neighborhood Action Coalition, and the Kids Eat Board. 

A statement in the Utah Philanthropy Day program noted, “As a respected expert on youth programs, Bob lives and breathes positive youth development into everything he does. For over 50 years, he has worked to inspire and engage everyone he meets to work for the betterment of the youth in our community and to empower kids to become responsible and caring citizens.”

Upon accepting the award, Dunn said, “I look at the people I have known—I have people (at the Boys & Girls Club) who have adopted poor kids who did not have a home; that took in a girl that was abused by her father and adopted her; that saw kids who were hungry and needed food over the weekend and started an organization; that went through some personal challenges and stayed strong and continued to support us; people that have had unimaginable lives, that have grown and made something of themselves.”

Before receiving the award, presented in the Salt Palace’s grand ballroom, a short movie featuring highlights of Bob’s 40 years of work at the Boys & Girls Clubs was shown. Those who had worked closely with him over the years got to express their admiration and love for him and for all the children’s lives he touched and positively influenced. 

Dunn has been part of the Boys & Girls Club since he was hired on in 1978, at the age of 24, after attending the University of Utah. The starting budget for the program was a meager $19,000. In the beginning, the Boys & Girls Club’s activities were held in a small building. Dunn said they hosted 100+ kids daily.

Under his leadership, the Murray Club grew to Boys & Girls Clubs of South Valley and later merged with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake in 2015 to expand services to eight locations and more than 7,500 kids annually in three counties.

Though retired, Dunn continues to serve as a Special Projects Consultant for the Boys & Girls Clubs and works with its executive leadership team and board of directors, supporting donor and public relations on behalf of the kids in Salt Lake, Tooele, and Carbon counties.

Last year, with support from the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation, the 40-year-old Boys & Girls Club building was renovated and rechristened the Miller Family Club. An anonymous donor contributed to creating a gaming room named the Dunn Fun Zone, after the former director.

In their award presentation, Utah Philanthropy Day noted, “Dunn has a never-ending passion for the thousands of Boys & Girls Club members and staff he has mentored during his 40 years in youth services. Throughout these years, Bob has helped shape many educational and prevention programs that have directly improved the lives of Utah’s youth. Today, many credit the Club, and Bob personally, for literally saving their lives.”