The newest component of the Foundation’s efforts is the graduate assistantship program started with the University of Florida. With the transfer of $350,000 of NFF’s principal into the University of Florida’s Foundation and a 50% match of funding from the State of Florida, the assistantship will support a student or students, seeking advanced degrees, who would work on specific problems associated with foliage plants. It becomes NFF’s bridge from education to additional research.

The Foundation has always maintained a strong relationship with the University of Florida and in 2007, took the next step to support a graduate student that will focus their attention specifically on foliage research. At that time, NFF transferred a portion of their principle and received a 50% state match. With Florida producing approximately 80% of the foliage grown in the United States and the University of Florida doing about 99% of the nation’s research, it was a perfect match just waiting to happen. In 2010, there are now two graduate students working on marketing-focused projects.

As of January 2011:

Principle Balance of the Fund - $ 451,635.30

Income Balance of the Fund - $ 26,685.46

Current Projects:

Project One:
Examining the Most Effective Ways to Market Indoor Foliage to End Users and Consumers
conducted by Alexis Solano; faculty advisor is Dr. Tracy Irani

One of the goals of the National Foliage Foundation (NFF) has been to enhance marketing efforts to increase awareness of the benefits of interior plants used in public, commercial and private establishments, primarily focusing on three key benefits: 1) improved indoor air quality (IAQ); 2) lower workplace stress and 3) enhanced productivity. Target audiences for indoor foliage marketing include homeowners who buy foliage in garden centers as well as building facility managers from an interiorscape standpoint who install foliage. This project will focus on focus on “next generation” foliage consumers—younger members of the target audience to whom foliage could be marketed as both a lifestyle trend and potentially a way to reduce their carbon footprint.

Project Two:

Creating a Social Epidemic Among Generation Y: The Next Generation of Affluent Consumers of Flowers and Plants –
conducted by Deidra L. Slough; faculty advisors are Dr.Tracy Irani and Dr. David G. Clark

Generation Y presents the most potential audience for sparking new interest in flowers and plants and creating potential new markets. According to an analysis done in 2002 by Brand Channel, over 84 million Gen-Yers have an accumulated spending power of over $150 billion per year in disposable income. Due to their spending power, high degree of education and lack of knowledge about plants, this project will try to successfully build stronger loyalty and love for plants by creating a plant epidemic on the University of Florida campus and seek to share this knowledge with other university systems across the country.