After almost 40 years of supporting research, education and networking for the green industry, the GreenCo Foundation Board voted to continue its work in perpetuity by creating a new endowment at Colorado State University. The board of directors voted to dissolve the foundation on Nov. 29, 2012 and the eight member organizations approved this action on Dec. 18, 2012. All of the assets ($91,155) have been donated to the CSU Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization to be used for research conducted by the Dept. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
In 1976, the Colorado Horticulture Research, was established to distribute funds earned by the Garden Show, Inc. Many horticulture research projects around the state were funded. In the late 1980’s the Garden Show decided to award these funds themselves and discontinued giving funds to CHRI.
There were a few years of not much activity with CHRI until it was revived in the early 1990’s and Donna Ralston was selected as Executive Director in 1992. The IRS granted 501(c)3 non-profit status in 1993 and the new GreenCO Foundation has held many successful fund raising events over the years. There were several Gala Events at the new Hudson Gardens, a jail-a-thon was held at ProGreen Expo for 3 years, a family photo session and admission to the lights at Denver Botanic Gardens was held one December, an up-to-the-minute newsletter called “The Green Scene” was written by CSU Extension faculty and produced by GreenCO Foundation from 1998 to 2011, and several successful Casino Nights were held at several locations.
Probably the most visible event held for 15 years (from 1998 to 2012) was the Bookstore at ProGreen Expo. The bookstore closed in 2012 when low sales resulted from the sluggish economy and the popularity of Amazon.com.
The mission has remained the guiding force all these years: “to promote and encourage, assist and establish programs for the disbursement of monies to horticulture-related causes and for all aspects of education and improvement of horticulture.”
“By donating all of the assets of GreenCO Foundation to a true endowment established at the CSU Foundation, we can continue to support Horticulture Research that benefits the entire green industry for years to come.” said Troy Sibelius, president of GreenCO Foundation since 2005.
Those volunteers (pictured above) who have served on the board most recently include: (backrow) Dave Keilt (CALCP), Winfield Solutions (since 2009), Judy Noel (CWMA), retired from City of Greeley Weed Management (since 2011), Shiloh Hatcher (ISA/RMC), Forestry Manager of City of Greeley (since 2011), Donna Ralston, Executive Director since 1993, Les Ratekin (CNGA) Ratekin Enterprises (since 2010). Front Row: Betsy Kelson (GCC), Jared’s Garden Center (serving as Treasurer since 2006), Troy Sibelius (ASLA Colorado), Keller Lowry Insurance (since 2003), Don Godi (ALCC), Donald H. Godi & Associates (former President and current Vice President serving his second time around since 2009), and Dr. James Klett, representing Col. State University since the early days of CHRI. Ed Markham (RMSGA) Green Hills Sod Farms since 2011 was absent.
“Thanks should go to the many sponsors and attendees to our events, to those who purchased books, and supported GCF through their contributions,” said Ralston. “This does not have to be the end to your support as you can continue to support Horticulture Research through the CSU Foundation by making annual contributions or donations in your will. All funds earmarked for the GreenCO Foundation Horticulture Research will increase the principal of the fund for years to come.” Contact may be made to Marianne Blackwell, Director of Gift Planning, 970-491-7862, firstname.lastname@example.org or Joe Leisz, College of Ag Development Office at 515 291-4402, email@example.com.