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James and Helen Phillip Scholarship Grant Fund

The James and Helen Phillip Scholarship Fund was established to honor James and Helen Phillip by providing scholarship assistance to people in need who are interested in careers in the retail and floral design sectors of the floral industry. The Fund was established by a $500,000 donation by their daughter, Lee Phillip Bell, in 2008.  Ms. Bell passed away in 2020.

This AFE scholarship fund provides block grants to institutions to distribute to students primarily in the Great Lakes region, however they are also available to other institutions with established floral design programs. The gift is designed to achieve several goals.

Deadline For Applications

March 1st

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“This will go a long way toward helping people in need while creating a pool of trained workers to fill positions in retail flower shops,” said Bell’s nephew, Jim Phillip. “Because the principal will never be touched, this Fund will leave a perpetual legacy to honor Jim and Helen Phillip — giving back to an industry which they dearly loved.”


Important Reminder

To be considered to receive a grant from this scholarship fund, please complete the Application Form and return it to AFE no later than March 1 of each year. 

Current institutions receiving grants through the James and Helen Phillip Scholarship:
  • Mississippi State                         $8,000
  • Texas A & M                               $7,000
  • Bergen Community College       $4,000
  • College of DuPage                      $5,000
  • Kansas State University             $3,000
  • Brigham Young University.        $4,000
  • Kishwaukee College                   $7,000

About the Donors

James A. (Jim) Phillip began working in the floral industry at a very young age having only completed eighth grade when he had to start working to help his parents support six younger siblings. What started out as a necessity for the family’s livelihood evolved into a passion that would last throughout his life.

In 1923 shortly after marrying Helen they started their own flower shop, Phillip’s Flowers & Gifts in Cicero, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. Jim and Helen had two sons, J.R. and Russ, and a daughter Lee. All three children grew up working in the shop and the business prospered, making it possible for the three children to attend and graduate from Northwestern University.

J.R. and Russ eventually became the owners and operators of the business and, in turn, passed it on to the next generation. Today, in 2008, the small family business has grown to comprise ten locations including a 30,000-square-foot design center, a 20,000 square foot interiorscape and display division, and over 250 employees.

While working full time in the family flower shop, Lee Phillip Bell accompanied her brother J.R. to the Chicago CBS affiliate television station where they were invited to demonstrate flower arranging. Within a short time, she was offered other positions at the station which eventually led to The Lee Phillip Show. This daily talk show was a huge success, running for 34 years (1952 to 1986). Ms. Bell was a popular host, receiving 16 local Emmy awards over the years.

Mrs. Bell was married to William J. Bell for over 50 years and theirs was a true partnership in many ways. During the early days of their marriage, Mr. Bell produced scripts for daytime television dramas such as Guiding Light, As the World Turns and Another World.

Eventually, in collaboration with her husband, Mrs. Bell co-created the popular CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless in 1973 and its sister show The Bold and the Beautiful in 1987. In 1977, Mrs. Bell was the first woman to receive the Governor’s Award from the Chicago chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and eventually she earned nine Daytime Emmy Awards. She and her late husband are the only husband and wife couple to be recognized with Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Awards for their individual work.

Mrs. Bell chose to honor her parents by establishing The James and Helen Phillip Endowed Scholarship Fund through AFE as a lasting tribute to them and the important values they instilled in their children. These values, along with loving memories of her parents, have sustained Mrs. Bell throughout her life.  Mrs. Bell passed away in February 2020 at the age of 91.  Her generosity will forever live on through this grant to help floral industry students.

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