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Ducks Unlimited

Those in attendance at a check presentation from the Simmons First Foundation to Ducks Unlimited included (back row) Lawson Plafcan, Cole Plafcan, and Dow McVean; (front row) Brandon Cooper, Matt Reddin, DU CEO Adam Putnam, Shannon Morgan, and Freddie Black.


The Simmons First Foundation is one of DU’s newest Benefactor Sponsors. A grant from the foundation is supporting the establishment of the Ducks Unlimited Park along the Mississippi River, across from downtown Memphis.

Established in 2013, the Simmons First Foundation helps give back to the communities that have been vital to the organization’s continuing growth and success. Retired Simmons Bank CEO Tommy May leads the foundation and guides its mission to build stronger and more vibrant communities for the future. In 2021, the Simmons First Foundation established a $3 million endowment to support environmental efforts to aid conservation and sustainability projects.

“The Simmons First Foundation is honored to support the mission of Ducks Unlimited,” May said. “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 our communities.”

DU has pledged to help raise over $5 million for the project in partnership with the Big River Park Conservancy and TennGreen. This unique project will create a new public recreation area between Memphis’s vibrant downtown and the growing tourism amenities of West Memphis. This project’s approximately 1,500 acres sit along the western bank of the Mississippi River and are accessible from the nearby interstate, the Levee Trail, and downtown Memphis via the Big River Crossing pedestrian bridge. This 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.