Opening Doors by Giving Back

Over the past few months, we have been shining a spotlight on our donors and highlighting the unique and impactful industry stories of our Legacy Circle members. Our Legacy Circle is an honorary organization composed of persons who have made provision for a planned gift to AFE through a bequest, a life insurance policy, a trust or otherwise, such as a retirement plan beneficiary designation. The Legacy Circle affords AFE an opportunity to extend our warm appreciation to individuals who notify us of their thoughtful gift intentions. As a part of these spotlights, we recognize Mike Novovesky and his impact on the industry. We welcome you to read about his journey and crucial role in AFE’s mission! Opening Doors by Giving Back …

Thank You 2024 Scholarship Reviewers

AFE has always had a strong commitment to uplifting the next generation and sharing with them the many exciting opportunities and paths the floral industry holds! We know that financial stress is a huge burden that students face - that’s why we strive to provide for as many students as we can each year through our scholarships. This year, we received 106 scholarship applications, a 23% increase compared to last year. The number of colleges/universities represented has also broadened compared to previous years, which shows our outreach has helped boost awareness about the Endowment’s programs to new levels! We are excited to share that in 2024-2025, we will be awarding scholarships to 24 students for a total of $67,600. We…

Memorial Tribute Established Honoring Bill Gouldin

Industry Leader & Advocate Industry friends Buzzy Heroman, Steve Neubauer, Greg Royer, and Ken Young have established a memorial tribute through the American Floral Endowment (AFE) honoring William “Bill” J. Gouldin, Jr., who passed away on June 19, 2024, at the age of 75. Bill Gouldin was well known for his work as President of Strange’s Florists, Greenhouses, and Garden Center. Strange’s is focused in the Richmond, Virginia, area and consists of two florist locations, two garden centers, and a wholesale greenhouse range. His lifelong dedication to the business provided for the ongoing growth of Strange’s. Bill worked alongside his family as the third generation of the business, learning all that he could from his father, William J. Gouldin, Sr., and…

Matching Gift Provides Travel Grants for Retail Florists

Greg and Amy Royer Continue Family Legacy Expanding and enhancing support of retail florists – a generous gift of $50,000 has been provided to the American Floral Endowment (AFE)’s Ken and Jean Royer Family Fund. This donation comes from Greg and Amy Royer and matches the planned estate gift from Ken and Jean Royer, who initially established the new fund. Greg and Amy Royer, Royer's Flowers and Gifts The Ken and Jean Royer Family Fund provides travel grants to support continued education for retail florists and promote attendance and participation at in-person conferences and events. The Royer family has a long history of giving and involvement with AFE. This support continues a multi-generational legacy of giving back to the industry.…

New Fund Established Honoring Industry Trailblazer Kathleen “Katie” Kennicott

Family and Friends Unite to Celebrate Kennicott's Legacy The American Floral Endowment (AFE) has a long history of honoring industry champions through memorial tributes. These tributes allow friends and family to contribute to AFE to forever honor and recognize, in a lasting way, the successes, achievements, and legacy of our fallen friends and family. In October of 2023, the Katie Kennicott Memorial Tribute was established, honoring Katie's life. Through months of continued contributions and additional funds from Katie's loving husband, Harrison "Red" Kennicott, the fund has grown from a tribute fund (under $25,000) to $50,000, which will establish a permanently unrestricted Named Fund within AFE to help support the future of the floral industry.  "Katie was a longtime friend and loved by…

Sustainable Pathogen Management in Specialty Cut Flower Production 

Cut flowers are among the most profitable floriculture products, worth $333 million in annual national sales (NASS, 2023). Cut flower producers include a diverse combination of large-scale international operations growing traditional crops such as roses, chrysanthemums, and carnations, and small-scale local operations growing specialty cut flower crops such as ranunculus, dahlias, and lisianthus, among many others. The floriculture industry has recently seen an increase in popularity and sales of these crops, with the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers boasting over 2,900 members (ASCFG, 2024), up from only 500 in 2014. However, soilborne diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, and oomycetes can cause significant losses, estimated to be 50-75% in crops grown directly in field soil, including ornamentals. Soilborne diseases are…

A Promising Future for Floral: AFE’s 2024 Internship Recipients

The next generation of the floral industry is getting ready to kickstart their hands-on internships at top production and retail operations around the country through AFE’s Vic & Margaret Ball Intern Scholarship Program and Mosmiller Intern Scholarship Program. This year, nine exceptional students passionate about floriculture have been awarded internships through the Endowment’s programs.  These programs place students in paid internships, and awardscholarships upon completion. The scholarships help provide students with additional financial security as they finish their academic studies and prepare to enter the floral industry after graduation.  The Vic & Margaret Ball Intern Scholarship Program places students at commercial production greenhouses or nurseries for three-, four-, or six-month durations and provides a scholarship of up to $6,000, depending…

Ken and Jean Royer Family Fund Provides Travel Grants for Retail Florists  

A new travel grant has been established through the American Floral Endowment (AFE) by a generous bequest from the estate of Ken and Jean Royer. Ken Royer, a second-generation florist from the family-owned Royer’s Flowers & Gifts, headquartered in Pennsylvania and now in its fourth generation, alongside his wife, Jean, left behind a legacy marked by their generous spirits and commitment to the retail floral community. The new Fund honors the memory of both Ken and Jean Royer and their steadfast dedication to our industry. The Ken and Jean Royer Family Fund supports continued education for retail florists and promotes attendance and participation at in-person conferences and events.  “This Fund continues a legacy of support and involvement in our industry…

Research Proposal Applications Now Open for 2025-2026 Funding

Calling all University Researchers! We are now accepting new research proposal applications for the 2025-2026 funding cycle. The application deadline is August 1, 2024. Funding innovative research is a critical pillar of our mission to be the trusted source and catalyst for floriculture advancement. New research proposals should support forward-thinking exploration of cost and labor savings, pest and disease management, sustainability, and other solutions to promote not just healthier, longer-lasting flowers and plants, but a healthy and robust floriculture industry as well. The primary research priorities are listed below. They are focused on all floricultural crops, including fresh-cut flowers and greens, flowering and foliage potted plants, bedding plants, and perennials. Projects benefiting any industry segment, from grower to the consumer will be…

Empowering Growers with Research-Driven Strategies and Solutions

The increase in challenges growers face is never-ending. From the new thrips invasion, to disease management, to water and nutrition of crops, AFE is here to help!If you haven’t yet had a chance to participate in the American Floral Endowment (AFE)'s Grow Pro Webinar series, you and your team are missing out. Monthly educational webinars featuring nationally recognized researchers and speakers provide the latest research-driven strategies, solutions, and practical advice to help navigate through these ever-changing challenges.Webinars are presented on a Tuesday each month and are 30-40 minutes in length, plus a 15-minute question-and-answer period with the researchers. This is a unique opportunity for the audience to ask questions directly to the expert about issues they may be experiencing around the topic. “AFE is a leader…