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IFDA’s Educational Foundation: Supporting the Design Community

Designers of today and tomorrow benefit from the charitable group


If you’re a part of the furnishings and design industry, chances are you’re already quite familiar with the International Furnishings and Design Association. The group overall and its many chapters work to boost the industry in myriad ways, through events and lectures, networking parties and tours of the design and architecture that makes each neighborhood, in each city, a special place.

But the organization goes above and beyond in its support of the design trade with the IFDA Educational Foundation, the philanthropic and educational arm of the association. In a show of support for the importance of such a branch, all members of IFDA belong to the Educational Foundation.

Design on a Mission

The mission of the IFDA Educational Foundation is to foster educational and philanthropic activities to enhance the furnishings and design industries. The foundation works to achieve this goal in a variety of ways, not the least of which is through a series of scholarships that work to support the next generation of designers, as well as active designers in search of continuing education, and through contests that showcase the talents of members and student members alike.

The Educational Foundation not only encourages educational programs and development projects that work to improve quality of living, but it also raises and distributes funds to foster educational activities, as well as in the support of related charities.

Scholarships and Grants

The Educational Foundation bestows a number of scholarships and grants upon deserving individuals each year. Deadlines for and complete descriptions of the many programs are available online.

For the student scholarships, a major in interior design or a related design/furnishings program is required. Scholarships are intended for undergraduate students and there are several categories including the IFDA Leaders Commemorative Scholarship, the Ruth Clark Furniture Design Scholarship and the Green/Sustainable Design Scholarship. Scholarships range from $1,500 to $3,000.

Grants are available only to professionals working in the interior design or home furnishings related fields. Like the scholarships, the grants cover a variety of topics including the Ina Mae Kaplan Historic Preservation Grant which is open to those involved in restoring or preserving historic sites related to design and furnishings, the Tony Torrice Professional Development Grant which is open to professionals in design and furnishings seeking to enhance their skills with advanced study, and the Barbara Brock Memorial Grant which is open to IFDA expert speakers to help cover travel expenses.

A Rich History

Originally the Educational Foundation of the National Home Fashions League, the foundation dates back to 1970. The work of this group is a constant support system for design that is historic, current and forward-looking as well. The grants and scholarships help current and prospective designers realize their dreams and honor the work of the designers of bygone eras via the support of historic preservation efforts.

Among the projects and programs the group has supported through the years are the National Student Design Competitions; the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.; and the Nassau Community College Universal Design Library in Long Island, N.Y. In recent years, the student design competition was brought back as the IFDA/EF Raymond Waites Design Competition Scholarship.

The Foundation also awards yearly grants for design and restoration projects that will continue the public’s overall design education and benefit the general public. Through the efforts of Save America’s Treasures, IFDA Educational Foundation grants have supported the restoration of historic sites including Lincoln Cottage, the New Orleans Music Hall of Fame, and Orchard House, the home of Louisa May Alcott.

Get Involved

IFDA’s Educational Foundation is a non-profit, tax exempt, 501c(3) organization that functions under the guidance of a six member Board of Trustees. Primary funding sources include a portion of IFDA member dues, plus donations from chapters, individual members, industry and corporate supporters.

Contributions can be made through personal or memorial donations or by will. Contributions, gifts and bequests are deductible for Federal income and estate tax purposes.

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