The Arkansas Environmental Education Association is mourning the loss of our friend and colleague, Francisco Johnson. Born in Brazil, Francisco’s career moved him to Arkansas, where he discovered the beauty of our outdoor spaces. He and his wife believed it would be a great place to raise their children. This appreciation for and desire to protect the outdoors for future generations is what brought Francisco to AEEA’s board of directors, where he has served as Treasurer.

Francisco’s professional life focused on finance and leading change. He brought his skills and experience as the Director of Merchandise Finance and Strategy for Walmart to AEEA, asking astute questions and helping us create a more strategic approach to financial analysis and planning. His contributions to the strategic planning process that took place last year were instrumental in the steps that we are taking now and will continue to pursue moving forward. 

Francisco was also an advocate for diversity and inclusion which he exemplified personally, professionally, and in volunteer roles.  He helped lead a leadership program focused on developing and advancing Wal-Mart’s pipeline of LatinX, Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, African and Native American talent; served as a Team Lead for the LatinXNA Empowerment Campaign focused on elevating diverse talent in every sector throughout the Northwest Arkansas region; and was a strong advocate for prioritizing greater diversity in AEEA, both in the Board of Directors and in the organization as a whole.  

Francisco joined the Board of Directors hoping to advance AEEA’s work supporting educators to reach a wider base of students and outdoor enthusiasts. The Board and staff of AEEA are grateful that we had the privilege of working with him over the last few years, and his contributions will impact us for years to come. In honor of Francisco’s commitment to AEEA, we encourage those who are able to support his family by contributing to their GoFundMe.

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