AFE Raises Funds, Names New Trustees

Chris Beytes

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) has just wrapped up its annual convention in Florida, with several bits of news coming from the event:

• AFE announced two new named funds, The Retail Florist’s Continued Education Fund, sponsored by Bob and Carol Sharpe; and The Garcia Family Fund.

• AFE reported on meeting the $1.5 million goal for The Thrips and Botrytis Research Campaign, and also on the new consumer marketing studies funded by the Floral Marketing Research Fund (FMRF).

• AFE’s new “Fill the Vase” campaign raised more than $41,000 in just one night! It was created on the concept of individual flowers coming together to make a beautiful, full vase; individual industry members coming together to make a difference in the industry’s future by making a contribution to AFE of any amount.

During the convention banquet, every attendee received a single rose. Each rose represented the person filling the seat—a member of the floral industry. The industry really came together as the attendees placed their roses tied with their donation cards into a vase to create beautiful arrangements.

Tim Noble, President of Hortica Insurance, announced a gift match for the first $5,000 donated as a part of the dinner contributions. Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Company quickly followed suit on behalf of Ball to meet and even raise their match to $6,000.

Both the matches were met and in total over $41,000 was pledged as a part of the Fill the Vase campaign in just one night.

The Fill The Vase fundraising campaign will continue through December, so even if you weren’t there, you can still help fill AFE’s metaphorical vase by making a donation at

• Smithers-Oasis/Floralife announced their commitment to a third-year gift-match of $20,000 for AFE’s year-end campaign.

• AFE announced new officers and trustees to the Board. Randy Tagawa of Tagawa Greenhouses will serve as Secretary/Treasurer, as Laura Shinall of Syndicate Sales moves into her new role as Chairman-Elect. Dr. Megan Bowman of Ball Horticultural Company and Gustavo Gilchrist of Kennicott Brothers Company were welcomed as new members of the AFE Board. GT