The American Home Furnishings Alliance Furniture Foundation has announced that it has awarded $61,000 in grants for 2023. The Furniture Foundation was established in 1948 to fund research and educational initiatives to improve management, manufacturing and marketing within the home furnishings industry. Since 1990, it has distributed more than $4 million in grants to support its mission.
The largest recipient this year once again was Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC), in Hickory, N.C., which received $22,000 for scholarships to its two furniture academies. At the CVCC campus in Alexander County, $15,000 will provide furniture academy scholarships to prepare job-seekers for skilled positions at the area’s upholstery plants. The region currently reports a need for 3,000 skilled workers — an employment gap created by baby boomer retirements, production shifting from overseas and planned business expansions in the region.
The remaining $7,000 will fund scholarships for the furniture academy at the Hickory campus, which has awarded certification to 330 students since it opened in 2014.
The other 2023 foundation grants include:
- $17,000 for equipment and program outreach for the Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute (CCC&TI) Furniture Technology Institute in Hudson, NC. CCC&TI trains workers for careers as industrial sewing machine operators and upholsterers. The institute will use $7,000 of its grant to purchase a double needle sewing machine to offer more advanced training and work readiness. The remaining $10,000 will be used to recruit students, especially English language learners. Efforts are underway to hire a bilingual furniture instructor to support this new effort. Like the CVCC program, students receive hands-on training in a simulated factory environment.
- $12,000 to Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, to continue funding four $3,000 scholarships for the furniture design program. This is the second year of a three-year commitment to support the program. It offers a bachelor of science degree in industrial design focused on product development, environmental concerns and manufacturing requirements.
- $5,000 to help fund the Innovation+Design student competition sponsored by the International Society of Furniture Designers. The competition supports and encourages the next generation of home furnishings designers by challenging them to design and build a piece of residential furniture, lighting or wall art. Finalists have their pieces exhibited at a special display during the High Point Market, and winners receive cash prizes.
- $5,000 to WithIt, the home furnishings industry’s leadership development network for women, to fund professional conference registration for women entrepreneurs, independent contractors and job-seekers who do not have support from a company to fund their participation in the annual conference.
Information on applying for Furniture Foundation grants and details on donating to the Furniture Foundation are available at https://www.ahfa.us/what-we-do/furniture-foundation.