My philanthropic efforts toward AIDS research were sparked when I worked for Ralph Lauren Home Collection in the ’90s. For several years, I was asked to coordinate local American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) designers creating tablescapes and events for the Sacramento AIDS Foundation. An annual Oscar Awards Party and Great Gatsby Soirée were two of my favorite events raising money for the cause. With the closure of the Sacramento AIDS Foundation organization, I was thrilled to hear of a new opportunity to contribute to the cause in a much larger way.
The Design Impacts Life Fund was officially announced at the annual NYCxDesign Awards on Monday, May 20, 2019, at New York’s Pier 17 and as an ASID Foundation Trustee, I couldn’t be more honored to have been a part of the event. The $375,000 Fund will offer grants to nonprofits that provide services, education, and treatment to those affected by HIV/AIDS, with the potential to expand its reach to support others in need. This donation represents one of the largest single gifts ever to Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA).
The gift comes from the ASID Benevolent Fund, which was started in 1974 by ASID members to provide funds to those in need in the design community during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. ASID paused fundraising for the Benevolent Fund when DIFFA was launched as a larger design industry focused organization. This donation closes the chapter on the ASID Benevolent Fund and opens an opportunity for DIFFA to increase its organizational impact and reach. The ASID Design Impacts Life Fund will be leveraged to create the greatest possible impact on those living with HIV/AIDS and the DIFFA organization. Thanks to the national reach of both ASID and DIFFA, potential grantees may apply from all over the country.
“ASID is passionate about positively impacting lives beyond the practice of design,” states Randy Fiser, Hon. FASID, ASID CEO. “This profession is made up of diverse individuals whose shared goal is to make the world better for its inhabitants. Our new Design Impacts Life Fund speaks to our mission: to touch lives thanks to the power of design. We’re thrilled to give back to such a worthy cause and can’t wait to see how together with DIFFA and the entire design community, we can make a difference in people’s lives.”
Both ASID and DIFFA have a rich history of helping others. ASID provides monetary support through the ASID Foundation, which advances the profession and communicates the ability of interior design to enhance the human experience through research, scholarships, and education. In addition to its fundraising and volunteer events, DIFFA has granted more than $44 million to support nonprofit organizations across the country supporting HIV/AIDS.