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The Retail Florist’s Continued Education Grant was established in 2019 to encourage and help support continued education for retail florists in the Maryland, Virginia and DC area.

With technology changing at the speed of light, and consumers changing the way they purchase flowers and other gifts, floral business owners need to stay current in order to successfully market their business. Whether it’s computer classes, social media classes, accounting, marketing or floral design courses, continued education is vital to survive and be competitive.

The Retail Florist’s Continued Education Grant will provide reimbursement grants to retail floral owners in the Maryland, Virginia and DC areas to continue their education through in-person industry events, community courses or webinar classes. 

Reimbursement grants awarded can be between $50 – $500 for individual business-related courses, and will be distributed as reimbursement grants. This means the course must be paid for and completed within the year in which the application is being submitted prior to submitting an application for reimbursement.  Receipt for payment and completion certificate are required with the application. The course must have been completed within the prior 12-month period.

While these grants are currently for florists in the Washington D.C./Virginia/Maryland metropolitan area, Bob and Carol have made a provision in their estate planning to support this fund with additional contributions which will expand the grant well beyond the Eastern Region.

To apply to received a reimbursement grant, please complete the Application Form and return it to AFE no later than March 1 of each year. Applications will be reviewed and recipients will be notified by June 30th if selected.

About the honorees and founding donors:

This Retail Florist Continued Education Grant was established by Bob and Carol Sharpe, retired third-generation florists from Frederick, Maryland.

Sharpe’s Flowers was considered a Frederick landmark since 1930 and was in business for 84 years.

Bob and Carol closed their shop, Sharpe’s Flowers, in 2012 when they retired. Like many retailers, Bob and Carol struggled with finding the time to get out of the shop to attend industry events or continue their education. “In an industry where businesses are handed down from generation to generation, continued education is vital for success,” said Bob. Bob and Carol want to help floral businesses succeed so they worked with the Endowment to create the Retail Florist’s Continued Education Fund.

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