About Deunta Williams

Deunta Williams is an entrepreneur, former college football All-American athlete, and youth advocate who epitomizes resilience. Growing up in a public housing project in Jacksonville, North Carolina, at an early age, Deunta was exposed to immense poverty and lack of educational resources. Despite his environment, he had an insatiable desire for knowledge and a relentless commitment to overcoming obstacles in his path. After a notable high school career as a three-sport athlete playing football, basketball, and track; he selected a football scholarship to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill from numerous scholarship offers. At UNC, Deunta’s achievements continued when he reached All-American status and was projected as a top safety for the NFL Draft for his class. These accolades, however, came to a screeching halt when Deunta broke his leg the last game of his college career and was declared medically unable to return to football. Instead of being defeated, he channeled the resilience that got him to that point and realized his life was bigger than football.

Deunta believes that

With a “champion mindset” you can overcome any obstacle in your life.

His drive has always come from his entrepreneurial prowess that started in elementary school with him selling egg sandwiches to his classmates. After finishing his degree in management and society at UNC, he became the owner of a Zaxby’s franchise that he would later sell for profit at the age of 24. Following that, over the next four years Deunta became an investor in corporate and residential real estate; corporate stocks and bonds; and a mobile app that was sold to Fox Sports. While exploring these business endeavors, he earned a Masters in Business Administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management at DeVry University.

Most importantly, Deunta uses his business acumen and inspiring testimony to encourage and empower others through life coaching and the numerous other uplifting activities he has initiated or participates in. Always remembering where he came from, Deunta is a passionate change agent in the lives of youth. He is the founder and director of Exciting Movement, Expanding Resources, and Genuine Engagement (EMERGE) Youth Foundation.

EMERGE Youth Foundation has been developing since 2012, with the mission of exposing underserved youth in Jacksonville to all facets of a successful life. The foundation has helped over 500 young people through football camps; Thanksgiving giveaways; after school seminars; and an annual back to school event that provides haircuts, hairstyles, manicures, and school supplies to Jacksonville youth.

Deunta believes most of all that his story can be the catalyst for change in the lives of others. Currently, he is authoring an empowering self-help book that captures the most vulnerable moments that exist within recreating yourself and finding new purpose. Throughout the book, he uses his sage outlook on life and rare experiences to share wisdom that will motivate readers to begin their journey of rebirth and resilience.

Founder’s Message


Growing up, I received an enormous amount of support and encouragement from leaders and other caring members of the community. The support received helped put me on the path to accomplish my dreams, see the world, and become the person I am today, and I believe every child should have an opportunity to experience this level of support.

Mission: To increase youth achievement and eliminate the growing achievement gap.