Meet one of NHF’s Founder Level Endowment Holders – McRae Anderson, founder and principal designer of McCaren Designs, based in St. Paul, MN.
NHF had the great pleasure to sit down with McRae to talk about why he created an endowment in the National Horticulture Foundation (NHF) and how he was able to attain placement at one of the higher levels of giving so quickly. “It was easy - just $166.66 a month for five years, and you are there,” says McRae. “You have a contribution that keeps giving over and over.”
McRae says his primary motivation for giving was it wasn’t just a one-shot deal! He and his wife, Cindy, feel very blessed to be in an industry that is both a lot of fun, and does a great deal for the environment.
McRae believes in giving back with both time and money.
He is the oldest son and second of the four children. One of the most frequent questions McRae answers is how he got his unusual first name. Is it a family name? No, McRae’s name did not come from family origins, rather it was his father’s idea that his son should have a unique name so that he wouldn’t be confused with all other Andersons living in Minnesota. The name belonged to one of his father’s college friends. McRae has always appreciated his father’s foresight and has always strived to give the name a distinctive quality in all that he does.
As an entrepreneur, McRae credits music as his source of inspiration. Art and drawing were also a passion of his.
McRae believes one can’t be afraid to be different. He has an exceptional ability to help his clients turn their dreams into reality. “You can’t be afraid to try something new,” he says.
McRae’s projects go beyond the traditional applications of indoor foliage. McRae creates memorable projects of distinction which express innovative landscaping concepts.
His vision for McCaren Designs and his commitment to the industry are best expressed in the phrase from the McCaren Designs vision statement: “to seek and share knowledge.”
McRae is committed to finding new interior landscaping solutions and sharing his knowledge with the industry through his involvement in several industry related groups including Green Plants for Green Buildings, a non-profit which touts biophilic design and use of indoor foliage.
“To be creative, you also can’t be afraid to fail,” McRae says, adding he has always been passionate about helping his fellow interior landscape professionals grow their business and encourages them to try new things. He is sure to do the same as he transitions his business to a new principal designer.
McRae is a strong believer that the horticulture industry needs to continually improve its image and business skills.
When asked what changes in the interiorscape industry he sees coming, and where NHF could help, McRae says, as an interiorscape industry, there is a continuous need for future suppliers of indoor plants and large tropical plants for large-scale interior designs.
McRae also expresses hope the horticulture industry will continue to develop new plant varieties, provide more availability and continue to be seen as a resource for interior designs.
McRae would also like to see more of his fellow interiorscape industry colleagues step up and consider starting their own endowment.
McRae also encourages those considering starting an endowment not to become overwhelmed by the thought of having to write a big check to make a big impact — a little planning and small monthly gifts can also make an incredible impact.
To learn more about McRae and McCaren Designs, visit his website - http://www.mccaren.com