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Thank you!

2020 was a significant year for the Design Foundation and for our global community for many reasons. The impact of COVID-19 has been profound and will likely linger for many years to come. Yet, for the operational team behind the Design Foundation, 2020 was a year that provided an opportunity to contemplate and rehabilitate the core of what the Design Foundation was established to do.


In the 20 years since our founding, our scholarship programming sustained as our primary output. Knowing we could achieve more, the Board of Trustees, under the direction of our Board President Dee Dunn, IDSA, set out to rethink our positioning as an organization and to reflect on the types of charitable efforts we should commit our resources to in the future. Through these collaborative exercises, plans were set in place to develop a new blueprint for our future. We have a long journey ahead of us, but our hope is that by bolstering our existing programming, introducing new opportunities, and remaining adaptable to respond to the needs of our community, we can create a more profound impact in the lives of young industrial designers across the country.


Thank you for being a part of the Design Foundation and for contributing to our successes through your donations and volunteer support. We are thrilled for the possibilities ahead of us and are looking forward to accomplishing great things in the years to come.

New Initiatives

Collaboration with GA Tech
DEI Event Access Program

As part of our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, we launched our DEI Event Access program, which offers underrepresented and ecnomically disadvantaged individuals complimentary registration to IDSA events.


In 2020, more than 50 individuals received complimentary registration to the International Design Conference, Women in Design Deep Dive, and Medical Design Deep Dive.


"The International Design Conference was an incredible opportunity that offered a second curriculum to my design education, much of which I was happy to share with the rest of my program at UHID." - Karina Bhattacharya, University of Houston


"I had an amazing time at the virtual IDSA Women in Design conference. So empowering to hear the stories of women and listen to their journeys of becoming well-established designers." - Miranda Rokes, Iowa State University

"The IDC was an amazing opportunity to hear firsthand not only from designers about their experiences and insight on design but also from those who are still learning to navigate it. It was a valuable experience that fostered collaborative dialogue and provided people the perfect platform to do so." - Nicole Huelar, San Jose State University


Continuing our theme of reinvigoration, the Design Foundation partnered with a Fall 2020 class of service design students from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA) for a three-month design charrette aimed at conceiving, developing, and visualizing new ways the Foundation can further its mission. Specifically, students were charged with: the exploration of the current market landscape, development of new foundation services / products, and the refinement of go-to-market strategies for new programs.


Working in a completely virtual setting, and under the direction of the Instructor of Graduate Studies (Industrial Design) Florian Vollmer, students were divided into teams that focused on different aspects of the Design Foundation’s opportunity areas. The individual teams interviewed key stakeholders, shared findings, and gleaned insights that would become the seeds of new concepts and experiences. At the conclusion of the class, presentations were given to members of the Design Foundation's Board of Trustees and IDSA staff. 


We were thrilled by the scope and depth of thought this class was able to achieve in such a short amount of time. In response, we immediately set to work implementing some of the recommendations proposed by the students. For example, the Design Foundation's website was quickly refreshed with new messaging and imagery, and a new toolkit was created to provide guidance to community event teams on how to host experiences that are diverse and inclusive.

Stay tuned, as a number of other initiatives are underway as a result of this collaboration with GA Tech that will be launched in the months ahead. 

Thank you: Florian Vollmer, Jim Budd, Avinandan Basu, Kai-Chieh Huang, Lu Meng, Shuyu Gao, Kelly Ficher, Ted Kim, Chuhan Qu, Guanhua Sun, Nandita Gupta, Jill Niland, Nikki Mehrjerdian, Wenrui Zhang, Jack Bailey, Dani Winecoff, Berri Berto, Yunqi Yan, Bonnie Sun, Jiaying (Ally) Wu, Kaiyuan Chen, Xingyu Li, Ava Bilimoria, Andrea Thomsen, Xiangyi (Lily) Yang


Francesco Gianninoto Scholarship Fund Moves to Design Foundation
2020 Design Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship Winner

Peggy Li, S/IDSA is a rising senior at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, pursuing a bachelor’s of science degree in Product Design and a minor in Social Innovation.


Previously, she studied International and Public Relations at Jilin University in China; and in 2017, she completed a Rhode Island School of Design summer study program in jewelry, metalsmithing, and product design.


In 2019, she completed a doll hair and face design internship at Mattel.

"Winning the 2020 Design Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship is not only a recognition of my work but also a fuel for me to continue my career aspiration: designing objects that spread joyfulness to the world, little by little. It helped me to continue my education and pursue my design career."


Pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, the Design Foundation will assume management of the Francesco Gianninoto Scholarship Fund beginning January 2021.


In December, the IDSA Board of Directors voted to transfer ownership to the Foundation to streamline scholarship operations and offer donors the ability to claim a charitable tax-deduction under the Foundation's 501(c)(3) tax status. 

The Francesco Gianninoto Scholarship Fund was established in 1987 with contribution by the late Francesco Gianninoto, FIDSA, a U.S. packaging designer, founder of the Package Design Council, and president of Gianninoto Associates from 1932 to 1983.


One of his most famous designs was “Elsie Daisy,” the Borden Cow.

Fundraising & Planning

A New Path Forward
Fundraising Efforts Draw Wide Appeal

We are thankful for our donors over the years, and particularly our 2020 donors. The past 12 months were incredibly tough and we are in awe of the generosity shown during this time.


Currently, a financial donation to the Foundation's General Fund is the best way to demonstrate your support.


We are currently exploring ways in which individuals can support our efforts in other ways, like volunteerism.

2020 Fundraising Stats

  • $10,000 raised

  • Average donation amount was under $100

  • 65% of donors were IDSA members

  • 30% of donors were non-IDSA members

  • 5% of donors were companies


In the face of unprecedented economic, public health, and social justice issues, and with the Design Foundation's 20th anniversary around the corner, the Board of Trustees used 2020 as a year to reflect on the Design Foundation's mission and strategy.


A new path forward was collaboratively developed to provide a much needed focus to our mission. The Design Foundation has always been positioned to produce charitable and educational programming that advances the industrial design profession.


Now, we can do it with more clarity: 


  • We develop initiatives that:

    • Increase the visibility of the industrial design profession to those unfamiliar with it.

    • Increase access to industrial design education and learning opportunities, particularly for underrepresented populations.

    • Prepare students for their professional careers as industrial designers.

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