Yeah, "to confer" is really more a secondary meaning... the primary meaning is hard to translate with a single word in English, but it basically means "thinking someone deserves something", or "thinking it's right that someone should get something".
For instance: "Ik gun het hem wel, dat hij de loterij gewonnen heeft - hij heeft al zoveel pech gehad in zijn leven." = "I'm glad that he's won the lottery, he's had so much bad luck in his life."
Though it can also be used negatively, as in "Ze gunnen elkaar het licht in hun ogen niet" - "They begrudge each other the light in their eyes", i.e. they each don't want the other to have anything at all and begrudge him/her whatever he/she does have.
Or it can be used of oneself, e.g. "Na al die inspanningen gunde hij zich wel een pleziertje": "After all that effort, he thought he'd deserved some fun".
And then you get to the secondary meaning, where you don't merely think someone should have something, but also give/confer it to them.
So I guess the easiest definition in English is "the opposite of begrudge".
Which I don't know any English word for...