Patty & Jim Donelan: DU Provides Home, Heritage, and Habitat for Major Sponsors

Patty & Jim Donelan – Fremont, Nebraska

© Dustin Pittman

When Patty and Jim Donelan talk about Ducks Unlimited, Patty glances at their yellow Lab, Sam, and says, "If it weren't for DU, we probably wouldn't have her." As is common among DU supporters who share their boats, blinds, and homes with canine hunting companions, the Donelans hold a special place in their hearts for Sam. "These animals run our lives," Jim said. "We have to go somewhere and there is no reason for them to go, but we always take them."

Jim is a passionate outdoorsman and enjoys spending time hunting in Nebraska with his sons and grandkids, which is why he and Patty are Legacy Sponsors in support of DU's Heartland Heritage and Habitat Initiative. Through this initiative, DU will create innovative solutions to ensure there's enough water for ducks and people in the Southern Great Plains region the Donelans call home.

"It's more about the time with family than a limit of birds," Jim said. "The only way to keep that cycle intact is to give some bucks."

Patty found her niche with Ducks Unlimited in Omaha's DU Gals Chapter. She jokes that Jim volunteered her so she wouldn't have to, but her commitment was obvious from the start and she went on to serve as chairwoman. Her license plate now reads "DU Gals" as a tribute to this unforgettable volunteer experience.

"It was fun to meet people when looking for donations for our event or when attending state conventions," Patty remembers. "Going out and working to get donations wasn't my favorite thing, but once I got started, it was fun to convince someone to donate who wasn't going to. It was a special experience."

The Donelans' story was featured in the 2013 Ducks Unlimited Annual Report. If you would like to learn more about supporting DU's Heartland Heritage and Habitat Initiative, please visit or call DU at (701) 355-3500 to speak with fundraising staff in your area.

For more information on becoming a DU Major Sponsor, please visit our Leadership Giving homepage or contact Senior Manager of Development Operations Anita Tyler at (901) 758-3871 or