Ducks Unlimited's 2021 Annual Report

An Executive Summary of DU's financial and conservation accomplishments during the past fiscal year

© Todd J. Steele

Mud, money, and members. Thanks to nearly 85 years of focus on these simple principles, Ducks Unlimited has become the world's largest and most effective private, nonprofit wetlands and waterfowl conservation organization. And in Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21), as the organization has done for more than eight decades, Team DU delivered its work through a series of partnerships with private individuals, landowners, agencies, scientific communities, and businesses.

Our supporters, volunteers, and leaders are just as committed to the cause as our founders were in the late 1930s. Even amid a global pandemic, DU's habitat work continued at full throttle. That hard work and commitment was on full display as DU protected or restored 565,485 acres of habitat in FY21.

Photo © Dean Pearson

Team DU celebrated a monumental conservation milestone with more than 15 million acres of habitat restored or protected in North America since its founding. To put that number in perspective, that's more than 23,000 square miles, an area the size of West Virginia! Of course, this impressive achievement would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of millions of DU supporters, volunteers, partners, and staff members throughout our history.

Ducks Unlimited's wetlands conservation mission has always been driven by science to deliver the best possible outcomes for waterfowl, wildlife, and people. Conserving more than 15 million acres was a true Team DU effort, and it's a perfect example of how waterfowlers, outdoors enthusiasts, and others with a passion for wetlands and waterfowl conservation can work together to achieve a common goal. DU's mission brings us together in good times and bad, attracts like-minded people to our cause, and delivers results. In fact, we're accelerating our efforts to ensure that we reach 16 million acres in record time.

In support of our mission, Ducks Unlimited generated record revenues of $340 million in FY21. More than 52,000 DU volunteers hosted more than 400,000 attendees at 4,500 in-person and virtual events, raising $61 million across the United States.

Photo © John Hoffman, DU

Each year, Ducks Unlimited promises to spend at least 80 percent of all funds raised on our conservation mission. We met that goal again in FY21 with more than 83 percent of our revenues going toward wetlands and waterfowl conservation and education.

And our conservation mission was clearly strengthened in FY21 by generous members, volunteers, and supporters. For example, thanks to Cox Enterprises Chairman and former Wetlands America Trust President Jim Kennedy, DU has an additional $1.1 million to support wetlands conservation efforts along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana.

Photo © Ducks Unlimited Inc

The James M. Cox Foundation, the company-affiliated foundation chaired by Kennedy, announced the donation in April. As our most generous individual donor, Jim is well-versed in the work Ducks Unlimited accomplishes across North America and is committed to helping DU achieve its conservation goals. DU and the James M. Cox Foundation have a shared commitment to environmental stewardship and focus on giving back to the communities in which their team members work and live.

In addition, thanks to the generosity of Elisabeth DeLuca, more than 27,000 acres of iconic Florida prairie and Everglades headwaters habitat are permanently protected through a unique partnership announced in November between DU and the University of Florida. This easement is also the largest in DU's history and will be used to study wetland ecosystems and train future ranchers, wildlife professionals, and conservationists.

The land was donated to the University of Florida by DeLuca, and a conservation easement was secured through DU's land trust, Wetlands America Trust.

Photo © Doug Barnes, DU

None of this would be possible without mud, money, and members. The past two years remind us how important we are to each other and how much we miss our DU family when we cannot be together. We are humbled by your passion, tenacity, and creativity. We are profoundly grateful for all you do for the ducks!

Douglas A. Schoenrock
President, Ducks Unlimited Inc.

Adam Putnam
DU Chief Executive Officer