Ed Clifford, NWALT founding board member, discusses the importance of community conservation for quality of life in Northwest Arkansas.
Chances are, even if you have been in Northwest Arkansas a short time, you’ve heard the name Ed Clifford, and benefited from his community service spanning over three decades.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, and recruited to Walmart Stores Inc. in 1984 as a buyer, he sees similarities in the roles he has played and initiatives he leads today. “The key to success in any endeavor is building relationships and demonstrating trustworthiness,” says Ed. “As others develop confidence in you, you are given an even greater opportunity to serve. It all works together.”
As Ed artfully blended his 17-year Walmart career with community service for dozens of organizations including the Bentonville Rotary Club, the first rendition of Downtown Bentonville Inc. and later as CEO of the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber and now over the Jones Center – he pioneered or championed what’s become a national and important local conversation about quality of life.
While Ed appreciates preserving nature for nature’s and wildlife’s sake alone, he sees exponential value in how land conservation contributes to quality of life. “Quality of life is all the things that make a community a great place to live, start a business, raise a family or retire. We have some great anchor employers in our area and new enterprises cropping up that will need a talented workforce. We need next generation leaders committed to creating a future equal to if not better than the one we envision today as well as vibrant main street small businesses, which also contribute to exciting community centers. The NWA Land Trust is playing a key role in both our area’s economic development as well as our culture and preservation strategies.”
The NWA Land Trust has grown and benefited from Ed’s vision and collaborative approach. “It’s exciting and rewarding to see the progress we’ve made over the past 14 years for the NWALT in securing support through land donations, staff and board recruitment as well as complementary program development including the NWA Open Space Plan.” We need to continue to educate current and future generations about the value we can create for the community as well remain open to diverse perspectives and cultures to ensure our work is relevant and inclusive, reflecting the broader NWA community. It all works together.”
For more information about becoming a Member of the NWA Land Trust, property donations, planned gifts or other contributions, stewardship and volunteering, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.