From creating community gardens to educating homeowners about environmentally-friendly lawn care, Florida Master Gardeners provide research-based horticulture information to Florida residents of all ages. In 2016, more than 4,500 Florida Master Gardener volunteers gave 420,00 hours in 60 Florida counties.
Now, thanks to the newly established Master Gardener Legacy Fund, county Master Gardener programs can apply to receive grants for new or continuing projects. Wendy Wilber, Florida’s State Master Gardener Coordinator, believes this fund will have a significant impact on Florida Master Gardeners: “As a former County Master Gardener Coordinator, I recall the frustration of hearing great ideas from Master Gardeners, but not having the funds to support them. Now, as State Coordinator, I see this occurring in many counties–Master Gardeners diverting their valuable time and energy towards project fundraising rather than community service. When I reviewed the county entries for the Master Gardener Search for Excellence Awards this past year, I couldn’t help but wonder how much further these projects could have gone if they had more money to enhance their efforts.”
Though the Master Gardener Legacy Fund is currently funded at $15,000, the hope is to grow it to at least $30,000 to create an endowment. Endowments are invested so that the interest will provide a reliable annual income in perpetuity. The bigger the endowment grows, the more financial support there will be each year for projects.
You can donate the Master Gardener Legacy Fund today by clicking here, or read about planned giving options here. For more information about the Master Gardener Legacy Fund, please contact Katherine Davies, UF/IFAS Associate Director of Development, at (352) 294-7869 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Florida Master Gardener Program is a part of University of Florida Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension.