By Jacob Mohr
Wilmington-area nonprofit agencies will have another chance to add color to their fundraising events.
From July 1 to Aug. 29, Julia’s Florist will accept applications from nonprofit organizations to the florist’s creative spin on charitable donations: an initiative called the flower grant program. Created by owner Dana Cook, the flower grant program provides local nonprofits with free floral arrangements, bouquets and centerpieces for their fundraisers within an annual expenditure of $15,000.
“I get asked for flowers — free flowers — several times a day,” Cook said. “One day I had a light bulb moment: a grant program would allow me not to turn so many people away. I could tell them ‘yes.’”
To qualify for Cook’s initiative, candidates must hold nonprofit status and be located either in New Hanover County or northern Brunswick County. Upon approval, arrangements will be sent out to recipients as designated in the grant application. Grants are awarded in September during a celebratory reception.
“As professional designers, we think the most meaningful way we can give back to this community is through our skills and talent,” Cook said. “Our floral designs can draw attention to those important causes that need all of our support to succeed.”
Recent flower grant recipients include Habitat for Humanity, Domestic Violence Shelter and Services and Lifeline Pregnancy, among others.
Because of the initiative’s local success, the flower grant’s reach has expanded beyond the coastal region. Cook has presented the program at several national floral conventions, and florists across the country have adopted her methods and begun flower grants of their own, including shops in Phoenix, Ariz.; Wilmington, Del.; and Eugene, Ore.
“I willingly share this program with every florist I meet,” Cook said. “My hope is that agencies everywhere will have access to this type of grant. It is the perfect fit for florists and nonprofit fundraising organizations — a real example of what we can do together.”
But while the flower grant’s approach is unique to the region, the sentiment behind it, Cook said, is not.
“There are a lot of generous businesses in this community” Cook said. “It would be a great world if every business had a system in place to give back.”
For more information about the flower grant, forms and complete details are available online at www.juliasflorist.com or at Julia’s Florist, 900 S. Kerr Ave.