RESTON, Va. – The National Wildlife Federation honored Ben Kota, its general counsel and corporate secretary, with the Charlie Shaw Conservation Partnership Award. The award recognizes Kota’s dedication to ensuring that the Federation’s state affiliates reach their goals and operate as a powerful network of conservation partners.
“Lasting and meaningful conservation wins can’t happen without rock-solid, effective organizational structures, and Ben’s tireless leadership has strengthened the Federation’s network of affiliate partners from the state to the national level,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, one affiliate’s success buoys the entire Federation – and Ben has empowered many affiliates to make these wins possible. We’re grateful for Ben’s commitment to doing the hard work behind the scenes that is critical to strengthening our affiliates, so we can together ensure a future in which wildlife and people alike can thrive.”
”I am honored and grateful to receive the Charlie Shaw Award,” said Kota. “One of the most enjoyable and meaningful aspects of my role at NWF is supporting our passionate nationwide network of affiliates and I look forward to helping them achieve their important goals.”
Kota’s work across the Federation includes providing proactive legal advice around complex matters, including navigating the COVID-19 shutdowns and the Paycheck Protection Program application process and requirements for loan forgiveness; facilitating in-person and online trainings; and advising National Wildlife Federation and affiliate staff on how to execute legally-sound advocacy and voter turnout campaigns. Kota has shown his dedication to the federation and its mission and continues to work above and beyond the scope of his responsibilities by cultivating an open-door policy for affiliates to solicit advice.
The Charlie Shaw Conservation Partnership Award honors individuals who have demonstrated a true appreciation for the value and potential of the National Wildlife Federation-affiliate partnership. Kota was honored during the National Wildlife Federation’s annual meeting and 85th anniversary celebration, which was held for the second time as a virtual event this year.
This special achievement award was created in Charlie’s memory to honor individuals whose actions reflect the spirit of his work — first as executive director of North Carolina Wildlife Federation and later as a National Wildlife Federation regional executive. Charlie loved the National Wildlife Federation. In his eyes, the Federation was not simply a relationship between “national” and each affiliate partner. Charlie rightly saw one big family — many different conservationists all working together toward the goal of protecting wildlife and habitat.
The National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Awards began in 1966. Since then, the National Wildlife Federation has celebrated individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting wildlife through education, advocacy, communication and on-the-ground conservation. Previous honorees have included former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson and Michelle Obama and other national leaders, including U.S. Sen. John McCain and filmmaker Robert Redford.
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