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Ensuring Tomorrow’s Leaders Have Access to Floral Education Today

The Phillip Family left a profound impact on floral design through the James and Helen Phillip Floral Design Grant, and today, their legacy is carried forward through the work of inspired floral design students at six institutions across the country.

This grant directly supports floral design programs, ensuring a robust learning environment and making floral design programs more attractive to students. Bringing more students into floral design helps to both educate them on the wide range of career possibilities in our industry, and to cultivate a pool of skilled workers who can fill positions in retail flower shops or start their own businesses after graduation. AFE educational grants like these strive to educate, uplift and provide resources for the next generation of our industry — ensuring a healthy future for floriculture and our labor force. 

This year, the James and Helen Phillip Floral Design Grant provided $33,000 to support scholarships for students pursuing floral design education and certification. After careful consideration of applications, the grant committee approved a total of $33,000 for the following institutions:

“I am very appreciative of the contributions from AFE,” Coleman (Cole) Etheredge, Assistant Professor of Floral Management at Mississippi State University, said. 

Cole has seen first-hand how this grant can benefit his students. “Throughout the years, AFE has been very supportive of the floral management program here at Mississippi State University, which has allowed the students in the program to worry less about how they will fund their education and focus more on preparing for their future in the industry.” 

This funding helps ensure that the promising industry leaders of tomorrow have access to quality education in floral design today.

“The Phillip Grant helps make floral programs more appealing to students,” Cole explained. “By involving more students in floral programs, this grant helps educate students on the wide range of future career opportunities available.” 

In addition to bringing more students in, the grant also helps ensure students can confidently transition full-time into the industry once they graduate. “Many of the students in the floral management major at Mississippi State University plan on starting their own floral business upon graduation,” Cole noted. “By accruing less debt while attending university, they can more fully invest in their own fledgling businesses.” 

About the James and Helen Phillip Floral Design Grant:

The James and Helen Phillip Floral Design Scholarship Fund was created in 2008 as a tribute to James and Helen Phillip by their daughter, Lee Phillip Bell. It stands as a testament to their legacy and commitment to supporting floral design education.

Applications for the James and Helen Phillip Floral Design Grant are accepted annually until March 1. Interested individuals can learn more and apply here.