Details regarding the personal and professional life of major individual US-based donors are provided below. These major donors include James and Sarah Kennedy, David and Margaret Grohne, Beckie and Harry Butler, Jr., John L. Morris, Dennis A. Avery, Wise Batten, Sr., John W. Childs, Paul Dickson, William Dunavant, Jr., Matthew Grayson, Joel H. Porter, Dan Ray, Glenn Alan Robinson III, and William Thomas Willin, Jr. Among them, two are already deceased. William Thomas died last August 2019 while Dennis Avery died last June 2020.
1. James (Jim) and Sarah Kennedy
- James Cox Kennedy is an American businessman, media executive, and philanthropist who was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1948. He studied business administration at the University of Denver and he is best known as the chairman and owner of Cox Enterprises, the famous media conglomerate company. Aside from being the chairman, James served as the CEO from 1988 to 2008 though he started as a production assistant in the company’s newspaper division in 1972. Through his leadership, company revenues jumped from $1.8 billion to $21 billion.
- James’ parents are Stanley C. Kennedy, an airline executive, and Barbara Cox Anthony, daughter of the founder of Cox Enterprises. James’ only sibling is Blair Parry-Okeden, Australia’s second richest woman. His maternal grandfather was James M. Cox, who started the Cox Enterprises in 1898 when he acquired the Dayton Evening News.
- James and Sarah reside in Atlanta, Georgia and they have three children. Sarah has been an ardent supporter of James, her husband, and she prefers a quiet life with her family. Sarah is known to be a constant supporter of numerous charitable causes and she has been donating substantial funds for the uplifting and development of society.
- James is an avid conservationist of waterfowl as well as other wildlife habitats. He is on the board of Ducks Unlimited, Inc. and he was also the Wetlands American Trust president for 15 years. His respect and deep love for wetlands and waterfowl are well-known not just nationally but also internationally.
- In September 2008, James “generously established the James C. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Aquaculture of the College of Forest Resources at Mississippi State University.”
- In 2011, James and Sarah supported “Emory’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center for clinical trials and associated research studies for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, chairing its “A Family Affair” event benefiting the Center in 2013.” The couple has also provided support for Emory’s Brain Health Center and Emory’s Center for Maternal Substance Abuse and Child Development. James said, “We believe Emory can serve as a national model for improved health care delivery.”
- When James and his family are not in Atlanta, they usually enjoy outdoor activities such as hunting “on their lands protected by permanent conservation easements through Ducks Unlimited, Inc.” James and Sarah are considered to be Ducks Unlimited’s Wetlands Guardians, a reference to those who have donated more than $20 million to Ducks Unlimited.
2. David (Dave) and Margaret (Marg) Grohne
- David F. Grohne is a retired conservationist and industrialist of Wilmington. He was selected by the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) to be one of the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame in 2018.
- He is the former chairman of the Independence Tube Corporation of Chicago, a metal tubing manufacturer that was bought by Nucor Corporation in 2016 for $425 million.
- He and his wife, Marg, have been longtime avid supporters of efforts to expand and develop wetland habitats for the benefit of waterfowls and other wildlife. In 2017, Dave and Marg Grohne were given recognition by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ducks Unlimited for their lifetime of service, leadership, and philanthropic support with the naming of a 1,380-acre waterfowl protection area in North Dakota in their honor.
- The Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame announced, “As one of the country’s most ardent supporters of Ducks Unlimited’s conservation efforts in the Prairie Pothole Region, Dave exemplifies the highest ideals of leading by example. Naming federal lands in honor of private citizens is rarely done, and it is a high honor for both the Grohnes and Ducks Unlimited to have their name forever identified with one of the jewels’ of the Missouri Coteau (region) of North Dakota. Their support has helped conserve thousands of acres of critical waterfowl nesting habitat, restore and preserve crucial duck migration habitat in the Illinois River Valley, and fund numerous important waterfowl research projects in conjunction with the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, Delta Waterfowl Foundation, and The Wetlands Initiative.”
- The Hall of Fame announcement added, “Through the Independence Tube Corporation and the D.F. and M.T. Grohne Family Foundation, nearly $800,000 has been donated to fund nature field trips for more than 100,000 students through the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant program managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Mr. Grohne realizes the value in providing students and teachers with the opportunity to take their learning outside the classroom, and to experience nature.”
- In 2015, Dave Grohne and James C. Kennedy of Atlanta donated $2 million to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for the establishment of an endowed faculty position in wetlands and waterfowl conservation.
- David and Marg Grohne both graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder. They both run a family foundation, the David and Margaret Grohne Family Foundation, in Western Springs, Illinois. The foundation’s contact number is 60558-1731 and the exact address is 4908 Lawn Ave. Western Springs, Illinois, United States.
- Marg Grohne is known to be a breast cancer survivor. In 2010, Dave and Marg were considered to be the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s most generous donors. According to Margaret Grohne, “We’re (Dave and I) both interested in cancer research, and we wanted to see more research.”
3. Beckie and Harry Butler, Jr.
- Harry Butler, Jr. is the Chairman of the Butler Properties and Development group of companies. He took over the company management when his father, Harry Butler Sr., died in 1970. He then moved the company’s headquarters to Atlanta, Georgia. His son, Travis Butler, is the president of the company.
- Beckie and Harry Butler’s landline number is (828) 787-1848, as recorded by ClustrMaps.
4. John L. Morris
- John Morris is a Waterfowl Patron of Ducks Unlimited since in 2019 he has donated an amount within the range of $10 million to $20 million. He is a noted conservationist who has spent $300 million in building a 350,000 square-foot aquarium and museum in Missouri that opened in 2017.
- According to Forbes, his net worth as of November 2020 is $4.1 billion. John is the CEO and founder of Bass Pro Shops, an outdoor gear retailer that has generated $6.5 billion in sales revenue. Bass Pro Group is also the owner of White River Marine Group, the largest boat manufacturer (by volume) in the world that makes recreational and fishing boats.
- In 1972, he started the company by “selling fish tackle from the back of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Missouri. ” Then in 2017, he purchased Cabela, the rival company, for $5 billion which resulted in nearly doubling the size of his Bass Pro company.
- According to the “2018 Retail Reputation Report from Reputation.com, which analyzed 4.7 million online consumer reviews posted on Google and Facebook,” Bass Pro Shops and Cabela were ranked by customers as “among the very best in America for in-store customer service.”
- John is married and he has four children. He resides in Springfield, Missouri and he earned his bachelor’s degree in Drury University. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- When he was 22 years old, he “competed in the first national B.A.S.S. fishing tournament and came in 21st place.” He also owns a mountain resort in the Ozarks which is called Big Cedar Lodge, and it hosts over one million guests per year. His son, John Paul Morris, who is also a conservationist like his dad has 31,300 followers on Instagram.
- John Morris said, “We share a steadfast belief that the future of our industry, and the outdoor sports we all love, depends more than anything else on how we manage our natural resources.”
5. Dennis A. Avery
- Dennis Avery is one of the 2019 Conservation Pioneers in Ducks Unlimited which means that he has donated an amount within the range of $5 million to $10 million. Dennis died last June 20, 2020, at the age of 83.
- Avery worked as “an agricultural analyst for the US Department of State, where he was responsible for assessing the foreign-policy implications of food and farming developments worldwide.” At the Hudson Institute, he monitored developments in world food production, safety and security of food supplies, farm product demand, and the sustainability of world agriculture. He was also a “staff member of the President’s National Advisory Commission on Food and Fiber.”
- He was the director of the Center for Global Food Issues, a senior fellow with The Heartland Institute, and a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute. He was also the co-author of ‘Unstoppable Global Warming – Every 1,500 Years’, which became a New York Times best-seller in 2007. His email address is email@example.com.
- Dennis studied agricultural economics at the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University. He received several outstanding performance awards from different government agencies and was given the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement in 1983.
- He was also the author of ‘Saving the Planet with Pesticides and Plastic: The Environmental Triumph of High-Yield Farming’ and ‘Global Food Progress 1991.’
6. Wise Batten, Sr.
- Wise Batten is a real estate broker and a registered forester at Wise Batten, Inc. and he has been working there since 1978. He earned his master’s degree in Forest Management at Clemson University and he resides in Estill, South Carolina. He can be reached through his LinkedIn profile.
- Wise Batten, Inc. is a real estate brokerage and timber management firm that serves as an agent in the sale of timberlands, plantations, hunting properties, and offers management services for hunting and farm leases. He is one of the 2019 Conservation Pioneers at Ducks Unlimited.
7. John W. Childs
- John Childs is a billionaire and owner of the Massachusetts-based private equity firms, J.W. Childs Associates.
- He has been living in Indian River Shores, specifically at Vero Beach. In 2008, he said that he decided to settle in Vero Beach to escape the cold. John said, “I had friends there and I came down, liked what I saw. There were ducks, waterfowl, porpoises in the river, even a resident bald eagle in a tree half a mile away, and so I settled in Vero Beach.”
- In 2008, John became the president of Ducks Unlimited’s Wetlands America Trust. At an early age, he had already been enthusiastic about duck hunting. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In February 2019, John Childs was accused of being involved in a Florida prostitution. According to the Florida police, “John Childs is one of several men accused of soliciting prostitution in connection with a Florida spa tied to an international human trafficking ring.” John, however, had denied the accusation. He said, “The accusation of solicitation of prostitution is totally false.” After he was charged, he retired from J.W. Childs Associates and he has donated more than $330,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee.
8. Paul Dickson
- Paul Dickson has been an avid supporter of conservation efforts as seen through his over 30 years of support for Ducks Unlimited as well as in his advocacy for science-based and sound policies at the national and state levels. Ducks Unlimited recognized him for his extensive volunteer endeavors that successfully led to a $10-increase for the Federal Duck Stamp.
- He is also the owner of Pinola Aviary which is a private aviary that houses 300 species of birds near Shreveport, Louisiana. According to Shreveport Times, Pinola Aviary is “one of the largest private aviary collections in the world.”
- Last June 2018, Paul discovered a Code 3 masked duck at the Pinola Managed Wetlands near Shreveport. Although Paul’s aviary is not open to the public, he agreed to open the site for those who have contacted him at his email address. Paul’s email address is email@example.com.
9. William Dunavant, Jr.
- William Dunavant, Jr. is “one of the world’s most successful cotton merchants” in spite of him being allergic to cotton. He is the chairman of Dunavant Enterprises, Inc. in Memphis and he has successfully led the enterprise into becoming the world’s largest cotton merchandising company. The company’s address is 3797 New Getwell Road Memphis, Tennessee 38118 United States and its landline number is 901-369-1500. William Dunavant’s contact number is 901-761-3226.
- Dunavant is known to be a man of his word, more so when it comes to his business transactions. He did much of his business over the telephone. “If a cotton man doesn’t keep his word, ‘he is through,’” Dunavant said. He believes that the “culture of cotton brokering relies on honesty from its industry’s members and one’s reputation and character is key to business success.”
- Dunavant, a Tennessean, is one of the leading sportsmen in the history of Tennessee history. He was an athlete, fisherman, avid hunter, sports entrepreneur, and conservationist. He was able to put Tennessee “on the global cotton map when he made the first sale of US-grown cotton to China in 1972.” He graduated from the University of Memphis though he also attended Vanderbilt University.
- William is also considered to be an accomplished amateur athlete having won in a number of golf and tennis tournaments. He is very competitive and would play with anyone in tennis. He even had a continuing rivalry with the tennis legend Bobby Riggs. William’s passion for tennis led him to establish the Racquet Club of Memphis in 1972. He is also responsible for bringing the US National Indoor Tennis Championships to Memphis in 1975, which still remains to be the only professional tennis tournament in Tennessee. William is also responsible for bringing stars such as Andre Agassi, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, and John McEnroe to the Memphis tournament.
- From 1984 to 1985, he owned the United States Football League’s Memphis Showboats. Also, since 1994, his organization has been managing the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Football Classic.
- As a major sponsor to Ducks Unlimited, being a Conservation Pioneer in 2019, he is credited as the essential figure in transferring the world headquarters of Ducks Unlimited from Chicago to Memphis in 1992.
10. Matthew (Matt) Grayson
- Matthew Grayson is the owner of Telarana ranch, a 5,500 acre-ranch in Refugio and Bee counties. In 2018, he opposed the coming of Blackjack Creek Wind Farm near his ranch. According to him, “A hundred plus wind turbines, each with blinking red lights would dramatically change the character of our area and devalue real estate in Woodsboro, Refugio, and the county by up to 50 percent.”
- Grayson added that he “had donated a 1,200-acre conservation easement on the Medio Creek to Ducks Unlimited, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of wetlands and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, other wildlife, and people. ” He is one of the Ducks Unlimited’s Conservation Pioneers in 2019.
- He said, “The parcel of land is set aside to protect this migratory bird flyway, which sees whooping cranes, bald eagles, and other species of birds in the proposed wind farm area.” Grayson didn’t want the wind turbines to be near the flyway because he knows that the turbines can kill the birds.
11. Joel H. Porter
- Joel Porter is the chairman and one of the founders of BankTennessee. He is also a partner in the Burch, Porter & Johnson law firm and has served as the chairman of the firm from 2001 to 2007. He used to serve as Cumberland Bancorp’s president then chairman of the board for Civitas BankGroup, which is the previous parent company of BankTennessee. In 2004, Joel together with other local investors bought BankTennessee from Civitas with the aim of retaining BankTennessee’s community focus and local ownership.
- Joel was included in the list of Best Lawyers in America for 25 years, as well as in the list of the MidSouth Super Lawyers. He used to serve as one of the board of directors and president of the Memphis Bar Association. He is also a fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation, American College of Trial Lawyers, and Memphis Bar Foundation. He is a Conservation Pioneer of Ducks Unlimited in 2019.
- His phone number is 901-524-5000 while his fax number is 901-524-5024.
12. Dan Ray
- Dan Ray is the chairman of the board of Santee Cooper, South Carolina’s public electric and water utility which serves more than two million customers. He has 23 years of experience in managing project finance for large financial firms.
- He earned his bachelor’s degree in Finance at Winthrop University and his master’s degree in Energy Economics and Operations Research at Colorado School of Mines. Ray also attended Furman University from 1980 to 1982.
- Dan is an ardent conservationist and an investment banking executive from Georgetown, South Carolina. Since 2005, he has been an involved trustee of Wetlands America Trust (WAT), the land trust arm of Ducks Unlimited. He offered his 3,400-acre plantation property, Annandale Plantation, to be placed “under permanent conservation easement with Ducks Unlimited and generously donates his plantation and time to numerous returning combat veterans and nonprofit wounded service member organizations.”
- In 2019, Dan was elected to the national board of directors of Ducks Unlimited (DU). The election happened during DU’s 82nd annual national convention which was held in Hawaii. In that same year, he is also referred to as a Conservation Pioneer of DU because of his generous donation.
- He and Linda, his wife, have one daughter and two sons. He can be reached through his LinkedIn profile.
13. Glenn Alan Robinson III
- Glenn Robinson is an American professional basketball player who is part of NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. He takes the shooting guard or small forward position. During the 2019-2020 season, his salary was reported to be $1,882,867. He has been playing in NBA for six years now.
- Robinson was born on January 8, 1994, at the Methodist Hospital in Gary, Ind. He was a premature baby and thus had to spend his first two months in an incubator. When he was growing up, even as a child, he has already been passionate about playing basketball.
- He attended Lake Central High School in Indiana and had played for his school’s basketball team then. In 2018, Robinson signed a contract with Detroit Pistons then in 2019, he signed with the Golden State Warriors. It was only in March 2020 that he signed with the Philadelphia 76ers.
- This is his Twitter account. He has 87,300 Twitter followers.
14. William Thomas Willin, Jr.
- William Thomas is a retired state trooper who died last August 2019 at the age of 85. He retired in 1977 as a Delaware State Trooper captain.
- In 1965, he served as a pilot of the 1st Department Airplane then in 1971, he served as Aviation Section Commander of 1st Department Helicopter. He was a “faithful member of Groome United Methodist Church in Lewes” and a “life member of the Association of Delaware State Police.“
- William enjoyed outdoor activities such as hunting, caring for his yard, golfing, landscaping, and watching the ducks in his pond in the backyard. He also “enjoyed playing bridge and was an avid antique collector.” He treasured the time spent with those he loves. William is described as a devoted and loving husband, father, brother, stepfather, grandfather, and friend.