Tom and Bruce Shinn Fund

The Shinn Fund is named in honor of Tom and Bruce Shinn, native plant enthusiasts who developed and maintained a wildflower garden at their home near Asheville. They travelled throughout the Southeast searching for plants and kept careful records about propagation techniques. Tom Shinn’s detailed propagation records became the basis for a native plant propagation handbook, first published by the NCNPS in 1977.
Tom and Bruce Shinn
Bruce (l) and Tom (r) standing in front of their pitcher plants at Stone Knife Farm in Leicester, NC. Circa 1979

About the fund

The Tom and Bruce Shinn Fund provides several grants each year to support undergraduate and graduate students that are researching North Carolina’s native plants and habitats. The fund is only open to students that are U.S. citizens and attending a North Carolina college or university. Grants are awarded up to $1000.

All applications must be received by March 1. Notification will be made to applicants by May 1st of each year.

Students must be working with an advisor and conducting basic or applied research in botanical or horticultural areas that fulfill the mission of NCNPS: “to promote the enjoyment and conservation of North Carolina’s native plants and their habitats through education, protection, cultivation, and advocacy.”

Shinn grant projects may include, but are not limited to:
• floristic inventories of local greenspaces or natural areas
• research to protect and preserve endangered or threatened species at risk within their native habitat
• horticultural research of native species not found in the nursery trade
• research on species population genetics, ecology, or range distribution
• restoration of native species or their habitats
• research and management of pest plant species
• community ecology of sensitive or threatened habitats

Application details

All applications must include the following:

• Project description
• Statement on how your work relates to the NCNPS mission
• Budget justification
• Letter of recommendation from your advisor

Your advisor should email the letter directly to

More information and instructions for submitting can be found on the application form. Please be aware that you cannot save incomplete applications to finish later.

Grant obligations

Applicants whose proposals are funded agree to the following obligations as part of their acceptance of funds:

  • Acknowledgement of the Tom and Bruce Shinn Fund of the North Carolina Native Plant Society in publications or reports, as practicable.
  • Submission of a short description of the project, written for a general audience, and photo(s) of the study site, study organism, and/or recipient, if possible, to be published in Native Plant News, the newsletter of the NCNPS, and on the NCNPS website.
  • Submission of a grant report when the project is completed or one year after the grant award.

Grant recipients are encouraged to offer a field trip or present their work at a local chapter of NCNPS, if appropriate. Local Chapters are listed on the NCNPS website