Tennessee DU top fundraising state 2016

DU President Rogers Hoyt (left) and CEO Dale Hall (right) present Tennnessee Ducks Unlimited State Chairman Bobby Allison with the Top State award for 2016. (Photo: Lalo Garcia)

At its national convention in San Antonio, Texas last week, Ducks Unlimited (DU) recognized Tennessee as the top fundraising state in the country for 2016.

DU's Top State Awards are based on total income growth, total member growth and the percentage of a state's chapters receiving the President's Citation. DU State Chairman Bobby Allison received the honor on behalf of the nearly 900 DU volunteers in the Volunteer State.

"It was such an honor to accept this award on the big stage at the national convention for all of the Tennessee DU volunteers. They received the award because of their passion and concern for the future of waterfowl and our rich hunting heritage," Allison said. "They work hard for every event and every donation and, in the end, they were recognized for being the best volunteers in the country. It has been my pleasure to serve as state chairman, and I would like to say ‘thank you!' to all of the volunteers for all of their hard work and dedication."

Multiple fundraising, volunteer and membership measures are considered when determining Ducks Unlimited's Top State Award. To reach number one, the Tennessee DU Volunteers raised more than $1.8 million in 2016, representing a 44 percent increase in total income from all events. These dedicated volunteers had an 80 percent average statewide event efficiency and grew their youth membership by 15 percent.

"Bobby Allison and his family deserve much of the credit," said DU Board Member Harold Cannon. "It takes a remarkable team of volunteers to accomplish such an achievement. It also takes a dedicated and capable leader. Every volunteer will tell you that Bobby has poured himself into this position, and we are all thankful for his devotion."

With nearly 14,500 members, Tennessee DU had 47 local committees that hosted 87 fundraising events in 2016. Among these committees is the top high school chapter in the country, the Memphis University School Varsity DU Chapter. These dedicated volunteers have helped support the more than 45,400 acres conserved in Tennessee.

"Volunteers are the heartbeat of Ducks Unlimited, and event fundraising is how they make a difference for conservation," said Regional Director Jimbo Robinson. "Every dollar they raise helps Ducks Unlimited deliver conservation and continue our hunting heritage. What we do is for the ducks, but it's also for the people and other wildlife that depend on healthy wetlands on the landscape. From clean and abundant water to economic returns, wetlands provide us with a host of benefits beyond waterfowl habitat."

Ducks Unlimited has one of the highest nonprofit efficiency ratings in the country. A minimum of 80 cents of every dollar goes into conservation and education programs. In addition, DU leverages every event and donated dollar many times over with funding from other sources. In Tennessee alone, $11 million has been spent on local projects.

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