HRI Celebrates $240,000 in Contributions During Cultivate’19

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The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), the AmericanHort foundation, is pleased to announce the receipt of $240,000 in donations during its reception, held in conjunction with Cultivate’19 in Columbus, OH. 

More than 150 industry professionals attended the summer reception, which celebrated HRI supporters. The reception recognized more than $240,000 in donations supporting horticultural scholarships and research. 

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 one create a permanent legacy through the eventual establishment of endowed research and scholarship funds. 

Long-time HRI supporter Peter Orum (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 and 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.  

Monies raised from the donations made during events like this, and throughout the year, fund the activities of the Horticultural Research Institute’s research and scholarship programs, along with educational outreach activities for the organization. 

HRI tackles the biggest challenges—everything from disease management to water quality and availability—to bring you the information and best practices you need to perform better, grow faster, and prepare for the future. 

For information about HRI, visit or reach out to HRI Administrator Jennifer Gray at 614-884-1155 or 

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