Aug 15, 2019
HRI Receives $240,000 in Donations During Cultivate’19

The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), the AmericanHort foundation, received $240,000 in donations during its summer reception, held in conjunction with Cultivate’19 in Columbus, Ohio.

More than 150 industry professionals attended the summer reception, which celebrated HRI supporters.

Friends and family of the late Gunter Mecking attended and announced the creation of the Gunter Mecking Scholarship Fund. This fund, created with the financial support of numerous donors including the Mecking family, Peter Orum, Gabriel Lambert and K.C. Browne, will support a new generation of horticulture students as they work to earn degrees.

Albert J. Gates III of Pro Packaging, LLC became the most recent member of HRI’s Heritage Circle with an announcement of a planned gift to HRI that will establish a scholarship fund in his name. Planned gifts like this create a permanent legacy through the eventual establishment of endowed research and scholarship funds.

Long-time HRI supporter Peter Orum of Midwest Groundcovers was on hand to present a donation from Platt Hill to the John B. “Jack” Hill Memorial Research Fund. Hill’s donation of $75,000 elevates this fund, which celebrates the memory of Hill’s father, to HRI’s Platinum Circle.

Two organizations were celebrated for completing fund pledges to HRI during the reception. The Alabama Nursery & Landscape Association Research Fund reached $25,000 and joined HRI’s Silver Circle.

The IPPS Southern Region of North America Fund reached $50,000 and joined HRI’s Gold Circle. Funds created by organizations like Southern Region IPPS and ALNLA provide enduring research benefits for their stakeholders.

Spring Meadow Nursery and the Deppe family were recognized for a milestone: the Spring Meadow–Proven Winners Research and Scholarship Fund exceeded $900,000 this summer. This fund was created in 1994 by Dale and Liz Deppe with an initial gift of $5,000 toward a $20,000 goal. Originally created to exclusively fund research, the fund expanded in 2004 to create scholarships for horticulture students. To date, this fund has granted nearly $150,000 in research grants and over $75,000 in scholarships.

Additional gifts were made by donors to honor loved ones, including donations made to celebrate industry icon Ernest Wertheim’s 100th birthday.

For more information about HRI, its grant-funded research, scholarships, or programming, visit

Latest Photos see all »

GPN recognizes 40 industry professionals under the age of 40 who are helping to determine the future of the horticulture industry. These individuals are today’s movers and shakers who are already setting the pace for tomorrow.