More Than 250 Industry Members Attend AFE 2014 Fundraising Dinner

afe dinner
Paul Bachman, outgoing AFE chairman (right), congratulates incoming AFE chairman Gabriel Becerra.

The American Floral Endowment’s Annual Fundraising Dinner on August 14 included industry updates, the announcement of five newly named funds, donor recognitions, the passing of the gavel and more. The dinner, attended by more than 250 industry members, was held in conjunction with the Society of American Florists’ Annual Convention in Marco Island, Fla.

As the centerpiece of the evening, AFE announced five newly named funds.

The Todd Bachman Memorial Fund – The fund will underwrite AFE’s quarterly bulletin. Todd Bachman served as chairman and CEO of Bachman’s before his untimely death in 2008. A past chairman of AFE, he is remembered as a great communicator and for his outstanding leadership and devotion to work and family.

The Del Demaree Family Fund, $250,000 - The fund will establish an internship program to market the industry as a viable career path to attract top collegiate talent with a concentration in business. Delmar “Del” Demaree served as AFE chairman in the early 1990s and is now chairman of Syndicate Sales, Inc. He has earned the respect of his peers throughout 60-plus years in the industry.

The Pennock Company Fund, $125,000 – The Pennock Company, with more than 200 associates in eight locations, is a wholesaler serving the Eastern Seaboard with a full selection of cut flowers, floral containers and supplies and specialty items.

The Tom Butler Family Fund, $50,000 – Industry leader and AFE champion Tom Butler was a past chairman of AFE who began his distinguished career in the industry more than 44 years ago. He established this unrestricted fund to support AFE’s programs in July before passing away on August 14.

The Peter Ullrich/Esmeralda Farms Fund, $35,000 – Peter Ullrich is chairman of Esmeralda Farms, a market leader in the floral industry committed to breeding, growing and distributing high quality fresh cut flowers.

The Endowment also acknowledged the following organizations for reaching new giving levels:

$200,000 Club – AmericanHort

Platinum Club (more than $100,000 in giving) – Manatee Fruit Company

Diamond Club (more than $75,000 in giving) – Strange’s Florist, Greenhouses and Garden Centers

Gold Club (more than $50,000 in giving) – Tagawa Greenhouses

Builders Club (more than $25,000 in giving) – Chrysal Americas, Continental Farms and Malmborg’s, Inc.

Benefactors Club (more than $20,000 in giving) – ProFlowers

Patrons Club (more than $15,000 in giving) – Pikes Peak of Texas

Founders Club (more than $10,000 in giving) – Fresca Farms, Kremp Florist and The Queen’s Flowers

The dinner marked the close of Paul Bachman’s two-year term as chairman, and he passed the gavel to AFE’s incoming chairman, Golden Flowers’ President Gabriel Becerra.

“We will continue placing emphasis on finding ways to attract young people to our industry, as well as on promoting collaboration among our different associations,” Becerra says. “Our goal is to help build a stronger future for everyone involved in our wonderful industry.”

Additional dinner highlights:
• Announcement of more than $458,000 this year in scientific research, grants and scholarship funding.

• Highlighting of the Floral Marketing Research Fund’s (FMRF) new study conducted by University of California, Davis Professor Heiner Lieth, Ph.D., which aims to gain a better understanding of college students’ floral preferences to find strategies to increase floral consumption among young consumers. The study is currently ongoing and results will be published on the FMRF website when available.

• Reporting on a new study the FMRF has been conducting with the National Funeral Directors Association that will provide insight about how to improve the working relationship between florists and funeral directors and promote the many benefits that flowers and plants bring to the bereavement process. Results will be released to the industry as they become available.

• Recognizing recent memorial tributes John “Jack” B. Giles and Ed and Dorothy Niklas.

• Showing the award-winning “Murder, Sex and Greed” animated awareness video.

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