The nonprofit Simmons First Foundation has donated $100,000 to Ducks Unlimited to support the Big River Park Conservancy project located along the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tenn., and West Memphis, Ark.
This project’s approximately 1,500 acres sits along the western bank of the Mississippi River.
The Simmons First Foundation was established in 2013 to help Pine Bluff-chartered Simmons Bank give back to the communities that have been so vital to its continuing growth and success. . In 2021, Simmons First Foundation established a $3 million endowment to support environmental efforts to aid conservation and sustainability projects. The Simmons First Foundation develops and expands programs, especially those serving areas with the most in need.
Former Simmons Bank CEO Tommy May heads the foundation.
“The Simmons First Foundation is honored to support the mission of Ducks Unlimited,” May said in a statement. “Our organizations believe in the power of supporting our communities, and Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 15 million acres in North America throughout the last eight decades. We are honored to provide a grant which will support the organization’s habitat restoration and conservation efforts and provide a better quality of life for wildlife and our communities.”
Big River Park Conservancy is accessible from the interstate, the Levee Trail and downtown Memphis via the Big River Crossing pedestrian bridge. The park will provide a myriad of benefits to Memphis and West Memphis residents and visitors, inspire a deeper connection with the Mississippi River, and demonstrate the importance of a working river and its floodplain.
“It is exciting for DU to have great partners like Simmons First Foundation join with us in this project to conserve 1,500 acres along the Mississippi River,” said Ducks Unlimited chief fundraising officer Amy Batson. “This is a unique opportunity to re-establish this region to benefit wildlife, water quality, and a healthy ecosystem.”
DU’s national headquarters is based in Memphis, though regional offices are across the United States. Over the past 85 years, DU has become the world’s largest nonprofit waterfowl and wetlands organization in North America.
In 2020, DU surpassed an impressive milestone — conserving 15 million acres of wetlands and associated uplands across North America.