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Meinders Retail Florist Education Grant Fund

The Meinders Retail Florist Education Grant Fund provides financial support for retail florist education. Established through generous contributions from longtime industry members and AFE supporters, Herman and LaDonna Meinders, this fund combines with the first-ever AFE Named Fund established in 2011 by the couple now totaling more than $500,000.

Deadline For Applications

October 1st

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General Guidelines

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) educational grant practices have been established in accordance with the organization’s mission statement. The American Floral Endowment is a not-for-profit corporation that raises and prudently invests its funds to support research, education, scholarships, and internship programs to benefit the floriculture industry.

This program does make loans and does not normally provide grants for: any religious purpose or for capital facilities, equipment, motion pictures, or television and radio programs, unless they are an integral phase of a project being funded. The Endowment encourages any submission for grant funding of well-developed educational project.

Preference is given to programs benefiting a broad geographical area or far-reaching programs. Multiyear projects are encouraged.


Any community-based organization with a program targeting the floriculture industry within the United States may apply. Preference is given to floriculture programs that are national in scope and identify or improve educational opportunities for young people.

Amount of Grants

Grants are reviewed on an annual basis, and funding is dependent on the amount of funds available. The Endowment directs its support to activities that are within its current interests and those that are likely to have a wide-reaching effect. Support is not normally given for routine operating costs. Grants normally range from $500-$10,000 per year but can exceed that depending on the project.

About the Donors

When asked about his continued commitment to the Endowment, Herman Meinders shared, “As a past Chairman of AFE, I can attest to the importance of the work the Endowment does, and the support it provides for all aspects of the floral industry. I’m proud to have been a founding part of helping broaden AFE’s reach in the early days, and now to continue to support them with this focus on retail education.”

“Herman and LaDonna paved the way to encourage others to support AFE’s overall mission of providing for the future of the floral industry. Since that time, more than 30 additional named funds have been created.”

-AFE’s Executive Director Debi Chedester

Herman and LaDonna Meinders are founding members of our Legacy Circle, an honorary group of industry members who have made provision for a planned gift to AFE through a bequest, a life insurance policy, a trust, or otherwise.

The education grant fund specifically supports reduced or free registration fees to floral industry events for retail florists by providing grants or scholarships to nonprofit floral industry organizations for this purpose. The fund is fully sustainable and is expected to grow year over year, allowing for increased contributions of important industry educational programs. In its first year, it will provide over $10,000 in grant funding.

“Education has always been a priority for me. I attribute a lot of our business success to our focus on supporting continued education. If the florists aren’t able to grow and learn, then the retail segment will not thrive,” added Meinders.

Meinders 2011

“It’s especially exciting to announce this new grant program during AFE’s 60th Anniversary,” said AFE Chairman-Elect Ken Young, AAF, owner of Phoenix Flower Shops. “As we promote ‘Celebrating 60 Years of Providing for the Future’ in our anniversary logo, this new fund demonstrates the commitment of AFE to support educational opportunities for retailers. Personally, I have known Herman for over 35 years and have witnessed his unwavering support of retail florists which will now continue for future generations of retailers.”

The costs of traveling to events, registration fees, and time away from shops prevent many retailers from experiencing valuable networking and essential learning from their peers. This grant fund will make a lasting impact and provide financial assistance to those who may not otherwise be able to attend events. “We are grateful for the continued support from Herman and LaDonna to develop opportunities for florists to continue their education. The Meinders have created a legacy of giving and support for the floral industry and education,” notes Chedester.

Herman Meinders, Past Chairman and longtime supporter of AFE, is founder and Chairman Emeritus of American Floral Services, one of the largest floral wire services that merged with Teleflora in 2000. Herman and LaDonna have been making personal and corporate contributions to AFE since 1980 and have been instrumental in many philanthropic projects and educational institution endowments.

Requests for funding will be reviewed annually, and the deadline for submission is June 1 each year. The AFE Education Committee will oversee the process of reviewing applications received along with identifying industry events that qualify to determine the distribution levels to fulfill the intent of this retail florist education grant.

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