By Ralph Null AIFD with excerpts from the History of the AIFD Foundation
What began as a way to honor one that many respected and called friend, the establishment of the Allen Shackelford AIFD Memorial Scholarship Foundation led to the development of what we know today as the AIFD Foundation.
Allen Shackelford AIFD was associated with Shackelford Florist in Memphis,Tennessee which he ran with his wife Charlene. Early in his career he recognized the importance of industry involvement and became very active in the Memphis Allied Florist Association where he met several other young designers in the area that encouraged him to participate in other organizations such as the Tennessee State Florist Association.
Through these connections, he met and became good friends with Bea Frambach AIFD, who was the commentator for the Dutch Flower Council which was making tours throughout the USA to promote the use of Dutch grown flowers by retail florists. She recognized his unique talents and encouraged him to expand his education and to submit an application to AIFD.
Bea was quite involved during the early years of AIFD, serving as AIFD President from 1966 - 1968. At that time, AIFD was not well known outside the southwestern United States. Allen received his accreditation and became an active supporter for the growth of AIFD by encouraging others in the south to submit application and become active as well.
He and his wife, Charlene, became floral commentators and traveled throughout the nation working many design shows, which were exceedingly popular at this time. He became aware of the importance of including young people in the industry and found a real love for Mississippi State University (MSU) and its Department of Horticulture, as well as the new retail floristry option. Allen frequently visited the MSU campus, encouraging students and sharing design skills with them. Mr. Shackelford was the first President of AIFD Southern Chapter. He chaired one of the first Southern Symposiums, with the help of several AIFD members. Joyce White AIFD, Dean White AIFD, Sandy White AIFD and Don Stothart AIFD became his mentors and lifelong friendships developed.
His life came to an unfortunate end, much too soon, from a massive heart attack. Friends and colleagues were stunned at the news. In an excerpt from the AIFD Foundation History, we remember the days that followed.
“The AIFD Southern Chapter Board of Directors met in Dallas, Texas on January 4, 1979 and established the AIFD Memorial Scholarship Foundation in memory of Allen Shackelford AIFD. Mr. Shackelford was an energetic crusader in AIFD and the first President of AIFD Southern Chapter. The next day the AIFD Board of Directors approved the formation of the Allen Shackelford AIFD Memorial Scholarship Foundation.
The AIFD Southern Chapter Board approved $500 and the AIFD Board approved $1,000 to initiate the funding to establish the Allen Shackelford AIFD Memorial Scholarship Foundation. The purpose was to provide scholarships to deserving college or university students pursuing a career in floriculture, with a primary emphasis on floral design. One of the purposes of AIFD was to provide educational assistance to those dedicated to a career in retail floriculture. The Allen Shackelford AIFD Memorial Scholarship Foundation provided the basis for an ongoing education assistance program and another step forward in the development of AIFD.
The Allen Shackelford AIFD Memorial Scholarship Foundation continued to grow. In 1985, the AIFD National Board of Directors authorized the formation of a separate entity to be incorporated and named The American Institute of Floral Designers Foundation, Inc.”
What started as a scholarship in memory of a dear friend and in recognition of one who advanced AIFD and floral design education, is now known as the Allen Shackelford AIFD Endowed Fund, with an expanded purpose to benefit students of floral design into perpetuity. We owe a great deal to these visionaries. They not only established an entity that could benefit education, but also provided a way for us to recognize and honor those that we hold dear.
By Allen Beck AIFD with excerpts from the History of the AIFD Foundation
Don Stothart AIFD served the AIFD Foundation as Chairman for sixteen years 1979 - 1995. The AIFD Southern Chapter Board of Directors met in Dallas, Texas on January 4, 1979 and established the AIFD Memorial Scholarship Foundation in memory of Allen Shackelford AIFD.
In 1985, Chairman Stothart worked with the AIFD National Board of Directors to authorize the formation of a separate entity to be incorporated and named The American Institute of Floral Designers Foundation, Inc. A single group of AIFD Foundation Trustees would govern all activities and have the sole responsibility for its management, planning and supervision. Non-profit corporation papers were filed with the state of Louisiana, where Chairman Stothart resided. The charter was received from the state of Louisiana establishing the AIFD Foundation as the umbrella for all future established funds and projects.
The initial AIFD Foundation Trustees and Officers were Chairman Don Stothart AIFD, Vice Chairman Operations Tom Powell AIFD, Secretary Frankie Shelton AIFD, Treasurer Michael Polychrones AIFD, Allen Beck AIFD, Wilton Hardy AIFD, Jennie Lee Irey AIFD, Eulalah Overmeyer AIFD, Teresa Riddle AIFD, Jack Smith AIFD, Sandy White AIFD and the current AIFD National President.
“As the Foundation’s first chairman, Don Stothart AIFD ran a tight and cohesive Board of Trustees. From its inception, Don’s passion for the industry created a solid, strong and enduring organization that would encourage and support education through scholarships to floral design students,” recalls Allen Beck AIFD.
“A hands-on leader, Don did the work and devoted the better part of his retirement years to the growth and success of the Foundation. He spent endless hours communicating directly with each of the Trustees and the AIFD National Board of Directors to build consensus on fundraising efforts and investment strategies”
I was fortunate to serve as a Trustee for ten of the sixteen years that Don served as Chairman. He gained my greatest respect because he treated each donation, small and large, as if it were his own money and protected it as such.” Allen Beck went on to share. “His faith in me as a Trustee and friend will always be cherished.”
By Lynn Lary McLean AIFD
In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of AIFD in 2015, the AIFD Foundation established the 50th Club! AIFD members and friends of AIFD contributed simply because, or to honor a friend or to recognize those who were inspiring mentors. Some paid tribute in memoriam and others in celebration of a memory.