I was at a conference last week talking to a group of flooring retailers about what makes designers tick. I mentioned travel. I mentioned gathering together and sharing notes. And I also spoke about charity. I suggested that if they were interesting in cultivating relationships with interior designers and decorators, they should be on the lookout for designer-driven philanthropy in their respective communities and get involved.
This got me thinking about all of the generosity that pervades our industry, and I wanted to highlight several instances where our community makes a great difference, often in the lives of children.
THEODORE ALEXANDER + WHOLE CHILD INTERNATIONAL
Theodore Alexander turned an every evening occurence during High Point Market into an opportunity to change the world. TA has always been super generous about hosting nightly dinners in its showroom for the duration of Market. This Fall, TA, along with Althorp Living History design partner 9th Earl Spencer, turned Friday night’s meal-cum-silent auction into a fundraiser for Whole Child International, a non-profit dedicated to elevating the quality of care for children worldwide or which Spencer and his wife, Karen, Countess Spencer are the Founder and CEO respectively. The design industry who usually eats free of charge was eager to pay for the dinner and support the cause. TA served over 400 meals and raised $75,000.
I hear they’re going to do another stellar evening of giving in the Spring and choose a different beneficiary. See you there!
SAVVY GIVING BY DESIGN
The non-profit organization Savvy Giving by Design, founded in 2014 by San Diego-based designer Susan Wintersteen, provides comfort, support, and healing, via transformation of interior spaces, to families with children facing medical crises. With seven affiliate chapters presently, Wintersteen hopes to add 6 to 8 more in 2019. “We need all the support we can get, so we don’t have to turn a child away,” says Wintersteen. To date, Savvy Giving has provided a place of healing to over forty children.
Interior designer Kylie Ponton of Ponton Interiors launched the Tampa chapter in March. WIth the first project complete, and 4 to 6 slated for 2019, she is actively seeking local grants and industry support for upcoming projects. Jessica Duce and Kathy Helfrich of JDuce Design are leading the charge in Denver, where four-year old Owen, diagnosed with a brain tumor at 13 months, and his 9-yr. old sister will both be treated to a re-design. “We want to give as much love as we can to this family and make both children feel special during this challenging time.” says Duce. Every room reveal is photographed and videoed and it is a most beautiful and heartwrenching event to witness. I bet that some of you will get involved.
THE MALOUF FOUNDATION + HUMAN TRAFFICKING
When I was at the Furniture Today conference two weeks ago, I was reminded about the fundraising and awareness work that the Malouf Foundation has done on behalf of human trafficking. WIth a focus on sexual exploitation in children, the Foundation’s mission is to provide hope and freedom for children around the world. Launched in 2016, the non-profit arm of the 15 year old bedding company, has grown and includes an on-line training program which I took just before writing this blog. Additionally, a percentage of sales from pillows go to the Foundation. When an organization is dedicated to something beyond financial profits, its company culture is stengthened. Congrats Malouf, on being ranked #8 on Glassdoor’s Best Places To Work 2019.