Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris Presents Million-Dollar Gift to Support Fish and Wildlife Conservation in Florida
Tampa, FL (November 13, 2018) – The nonprofit Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida announced today that BlueGreen 2018, held on Saturday, October 27 at Tampa’s Armature Works, smashed its previous fundraising record thanks to a $1 million gift and pledge from conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, the event’s guest of honor and keynote speaker.
Speaking before an audience of 330 Florida conservationists, anglers and hunters, Mr. Morris reminisced on his childhood and early years in business, his fondness for fishing and his desire to share that passion with all Americans. Guests were treated to a slideshow of photos, many of them in Florida waters, shared from the family’s personal collection. At the end of his remarks, Morris presented Foundation Chair Dick Corbett with a $100,000 check, the first installment of a $1 million gift to address Florida’s most challenging water and conservation issues. “We were completely surprised by Bass Pro Shops’ generosity,” said Corbett. “What a tremendous gift that will conserve nature and our outdoor heritage in Florida.”
Mr. Morris’ keynote speech followed an impassioned plea from celebrated conservationist and author Shane Mahoney who urged all guests, in the face of current environmental challenges, to remember the nation’s heritage as an innovator and leader in national park and refuge creation and sustainable wildlife management.
Including the $1 million gift from Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops, a net of $1.5 million was raised at BlueGreen 2018, according to event co-chairs Preston Farrior, Carlos Alfonso, Seth McKeel and Steve Swindal. Much of the funds raised will benefit the work of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and outdoor youth programs at the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center in Apollo Beach and elsewhere.
More than 40 Florida businesses, organizations, foundations and individuals helped underwrite the event, including principal sponsors Mosaic Company, Miami Dolphins Foundation and Bass Pro Shops. Tampa-area sponsors included Alliant Group, Allstate Insurance, Bay Transportation, Bertram Yachts, Busch Gardens, Ferman Motor Car Company, Galati Yacht Sales, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, The Port of Tampa, Radiant, St. Johns Insurance, TECO and Valley Bank. The Everglades Foundation, American Sportfishing Association, Ducks Unlimited, Florida Aquarium, Ocean Reef Conservation Association and Miami Designer Ximena Kavalekas, Inc. also supported the event. WUSF was the principal media sponsor.
BlueGreen guests also contributed $57,000 for Hurricane Michael relief, in addition to the $65,000 the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida has already raised since landfall on October 10, 2018.
About the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida
The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and other public and private partners to conserve Florida’s native animals and plants and the lands and waters they need to survive. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has raised and donated more than $30 million to conservation and outdoor recreation and education.