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Driven by Purpose

Design Foundation was founded because the Industrial Designers Society of America knew that more could be done to support emerging design talent and open up access to the field of industrial design. From the start, an annual scholarship has been a core program offering. We are honored to have distributed over $120,000 in tuition assistance over the last 20 years. 


Looking ahead we endeavor to 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.

  • Expand our programs to serve youth from kindergarten through college.

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Our Mission


The Design Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, aims to increase access to industrial design education and create opportunities for young designers who are beginning their journey into the field.


Through its focus on education as the starting point for a successful career in industrial design, the Design Foundation helps to generate awareness of industrial design within the general public. 

The Design Foundation endeavors to provide learning opportunities for students (regardless of age, institution, or background) of industrial design. It exists to facilitate knowledge exchange and educate new sectors and people about industrial design.


The Design Foundation constantly strives to extend the arm of industrial design into new areas in order to provide more learning opportunities.

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Our Values


The Design Foundation believes that engaging individuals from diverse backgrounds and providing more design education access points at earlier ages will strengthen and advance the industrial design profession.


Facilitating opportunities that expand the composition of designers in the profession, increasing access to industrial design programming, and offering more learning opportunities in schools and through local community outreach are integral values upon which the Design Foundation is built.


The Design Foundation believes in being honest and fair in serving the public, our partners, peers, employees, and community members, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, creed, nationality, age, ability, or sexual orientation. Racism, sexism, and all forms of discrimination and bigotry are antithetical to the Design Foundation’s values.


In partnering with the Industrial Designers Society of America's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEIC), the Design Foundation will continually ensure these values are upheld and practiced.

The Relationship Between Industrial Designers Society of America and the Design Foundation


Design Foundation was established by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) in 2001 and is a separate legal entity; however, the two organizations work hand-in-hand and share commonalities with their work and purpose. Design Foundation focuses its efforts on K-12 through collegiate level communities. IDSA supports aspiring designers' transition from higher education into professional practice and beyond. Both organizations are advocates for the field of industrial design and maintain efforts aimed at raising awareness among the general public of industrial design as a necessary and respected career.

By engaging community members and partners and bridging design with timely issues and initiatives, Design Foundation collaborates with IDSA to be responsive to the present and prepared for the future. 

Learn more about IDSA at



Design Foundation began in 2001 with a gift of $155,000 from IDSA which provided the initial seed funding and start up resources for Design Foundation to get moving.

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August 15, 2001 - IDSA President Betty Baugh, FIDSA presents a check to Design Foundation trustees.


Pictured (left to right): Jim Ryan, FIDSA, Pascal Malassigné, FIDSA, Cooper Woodring, FIDSA, Austen Angell, FIDSA, Betty Baugh, FIDSA, Jim Kaufman, FIDSA

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