7 Charitable Acts of Interior Design to Inspire You on Giving Tuesday

11/27/2018 By Adrian Thompson

We like covering good news. In fact, we like it so much that we dedicate the last page of each interiors+sources print issue to a story that celebrates giving back to those in need. From cat condos in San Francisco to school furniture in Africa, a variety of charitable stories have crossed our radar in 2018.

In celebration of Giving Tuesday, here’s a round of ones we’ve enjoyed sharing the last few months that not only leave us feeling good, but inspire us to find more ways in which we can use design, our time, our goods and our voice to help others.

MBH Volunteers Year-Round

Based in Alameda, CA, MBH Architects is one architecture and interior design firm that participates in a wide array of philanthropic events across the nation year-round. The company is known to partner with the Good Tidings Foundation, a charitable organization that looks to equally support arts, education, athletics and dreams for youth from communities in need. The two have worked on several projects together, including the LeRoy Neiman Arts Center in Harlem, NY, a renovated clubhouse for members of the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx, NY, and a brand new art studio in Sacramento for the Sol Collective Art Gallery.

People aren’t the only ones who benefit from MBH’s volunteering employees. Every year since the early 2000s, a group of animal-loving architects from MBH Architects' Alameda, CA-based offices have teamed up to participate in the annual Petchitecture fundraiser, an event in which custom-designed, pet-friendly habitats are auctioned off in order to benefit PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support). The volunteer-based organization provides needed companion animal services to hundreds of low-income San Franciscans so they can continue to benefit from the healing power and unconditional love of their beloved pets.

Fountains from Fantini

In 2012, Fantini set out on a mission to provide clean drinking water for the Masango community in Burundi, Africa. Known as 100 Fontane: Fantini for Africa, the project aimed to build an aqueduct and 100 water outlets over 10 kilometers in Masango that were within walking distance (no longer than 10 minutes) from the houses of the children in charge of daily water procurement.

 In just two years Fantini managed to build:

  • 12 water springs that catch water from the rocks
  • A 27-kilometer aqueduct
  • 100 water outlets accomplished in September 2014
  • Further 30 water outlets (thanks to customers’ support and the sales proceedings of the IBalocchi collection)

Learn more about the project and experience by watching the film below.

Patcraft Partners with American Red Cross

When Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast region, Patcraft sought to lend a helping hand. Many of the commercial flooring company’s team members and customers were located throughout the Houston area when the Hurricane struck in 2017. Through a giving program to benefit relief efforts, Patcraft donated more than $67,000 to the American Red Cross, who provided aid to tens of thousands of hurricane survivors.

An Event that Ends with Service

This year’s three-day AIA Conference on Architecture in New York ended with a Community Service Day. The June event closed on a Saturday when local firms and brands like Murphy Burnham & Buttrick (MBB) partnered with non-profits throughout New York City boroughs to work on special projects for the community.

MBB employees used their design expertise to create a bean tunnel pergola and a mosaic tile art wall with Edible Schoolyard NYC, a nonprofit that works with public schools to educate students on making healthy food choices.

Chairs For Charity

This year’s WestEdge Design Fair in Santa Monica, CA, kicked off with an opening night party that included more than just cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The festive evening also hosted an auction of 15 one-of-a-kind Knoll Bertoia chairs, with the proceeds benefiting Safe Place for Youth (SPY), an organization whose mission is to inspire, nurture and empower the resilient human spirit of homeless youth by providing immediate and lasting solutions.

The auction began at the fair’s opening night party October 18 and ran throughout the weekend. Artists, architects and designers came together to create the 15 chairs-turned-art using Knoll’s iconic and recently reissued Bertoia Molded Shell chair as their canvas. Several youth members engaged in SPY’s Healing Arts Program were also able to participate and design one of the chairs for the auction, which raised a total of $3,000 to support SPY’s mission.

Carpet with a Cause

Durkan’s new Camélia Rose carpet collection is helping bring awareness to breast cancer while also raising funds for research – not just in October but year-round. Did you know that one in eight women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime? This is a diagnosis that doesn’t only affect women, but men as well – about 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men this year alone.

Hospitality flooring specifiers can join Durkan in the fight when they Specify for a Cure. Camélia Rose PDI carpeting is included in Durkan’s Specify for a Cure corporate donation program, which gives 25 cents per square yard sold to Susan G. Komen when 500 square yards or more of any PDI (Precision Dye Injected) carpeting styles are ordered.

Artists Take Action

A little each day goes a long way. This is what Lisa Solomon had in mind when she started Artists Take Action, a nonprofit project aimed at raising money for a variety of charities by auctioning off work donated from a diverse group of artists and makers.

The project was conceptualized post-election day in 2016 – a time when many felt unsure about the financial future of nonprofits whose budgets rely on funds from the local and national government. Utilizing Instagram and Tumblr as the main outlets for auctions, Artists Take Action has since raised over $28,000 for 20 different charities.

The way Instagram auctions work is simple:

  • Follow the organization’s Instagram account (@artiststakeaction).
  • An auction is announced along with the FAQ and rules.
  • A product or piece of art is posted with a starting bid.
  • Throughout the length of the auction, bids are placed in the comments section of the post. To bid, comment with an amount higher than the current highest bidder.
  • The winning bidder is asked to make a direct donation in the amount bid to the intended organization.  

“I always check the charity ratings of any organizations we support – this is very, very important to me. I also am always looking for smaller organizations. We have supported some big ones, like the ACLU and Meals on Wheels, but I like the idea of a place where $500 can really make a difference,” Solomon says. Learn more about her project in our Maker Monday series.

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