Ducks Unlimited’s 75th Anniversary will be remembered by many as the year the single-event fundraising record was broken… four times!
Last February, DU’s New York City chapter kicked off the organization’s 75th anniversary celebration at the historic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Hosting a crowd of more than 600 attendees, chapter chairman Michael Witter and his committee secured $1.2 million and set the bar for what would be a historic year by surpassing the all-time fundraising record for a single DU event.
Not long after, in March, DU’s Blackhawk chapter in Danville, California, upped the ante with a $1.4 million event. This new record was, in turn, topped in July by DU’s Downtown Chicago chapter, which, led by chairman John Schreiner, raised an astonishing $1.45 million (see sidebar). Indeed, the City of Big Shoulders came through big-time for the ducks!
That record stood until October 25, when John Nau, a trustee for Wetlands America Trust and owner of Silver Eagle Budweiser of Houston, hosted nearly 600 guests at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. This Houston DU event raised a whopping $1.65 million for wetlands and waterfowl conservation, breaking the single-event fundraising record for the fourth time in one year!
In preparing for the event, Houston chapter chairman David Koch (a former DU collegiate chapter chairman at Texas A&M University) and his committee stuck to a model that has driven their fundraising success for years. “DU Houston has a program we call the Wetlands Sponsor of the Year,” Koch explained. “The concept was developed years ago to recognize and honor a conservationist and sportsman from the community through our event and allow their family, friends, and associates to join in the celebration.”