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AHFA Furniture Foundation Awards Grants for Educational Initiatives

The foundation has awarded more than $88,000 in grants to support a variety of educational initiatives in the home furnishings industry.

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The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) Furniture Foundation this week announced that it has awarded more than $88,000 in grants to support a wide variety of educational initiatives in the home furnishings industry. The 2019 awards target every age group, from children to adult students.

The Furniture Foundation was established in 1948 to support research and educational initiatives aimed at improving management, manufacturing and marketing within the home furnishings industry. Since 1990, it has distributed more than $4.2 million. The 2019 grants include:

$25,000 to establish a Kids Discovery Center at the new American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame in High Point. Earlier this year, the Hall of Fame Foundation acquired a 17,500-square-foot building at 311 South Hamilton as a permanent home for the foundation’s memorabilia, library and offices. Among objectives for the building is to create a place for visitors “to experience the inspiring world of home furnishings in the home furnishings capital of the world.”

$25,000 to support WithIt’s Rising Leader Program, which brings promising junior and senior university women to the organization’s annual education and networking conference in June. The grant pays for the women’s registration, housing and travel. WithIt is a women’s leadership development network for the home furnishings industry. This is the second year the foundation has funded the Rising Leader Program.

$15,000 for 60 scholarships to the Alexander Furniture Academy, part of Catawba Valley Community College. The Alexander County academy was launched in 2016 to create a pipeline of workers for the largest industry cluster and economic driver in the western North Carolina region: upholstered furniture. The academy offers sewing and upholstery classes in a simulated factory setting developed in collaboration with local manufacturers. The 24-week program is taught by expert sewing and upholstery workers from nearby companies, including AHFA members Craftmaster, Hancock & Moore, Huntington House, Kincaid and Taylor King.

$12,000 to Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, to continue the school’s scholarship program for furniture design students. The grant will once again fund four $3,000 scholarships. The foundation has supported ASU’s furniture design program since 2002. It provides students with a bachelor of science degree in industrial design focused on product development, environmental concerns and manufacturing requirements.

$11,200 to Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, including $6,500 for technology needs and $4,700 for supplies. Located in Hudson, NC, the CCCTI Furniture Institute serves area upholstery companies by developing skilled workers for upholstery, cutting and sewing positions. It recently renovated its upholstery and sewing areas into a state-of-the-art furniture manufacturing lab. The 2019 grants will further equip the lab with additional computers and wireless access points. Supply needs include scissors, thread, bobbins, welt cord and other upholstery supplies.  

The AHFA Furniture Foundation accepts grant proposals in March each year. The Foundation board reviews the proposals and makes funding decisions in April. 

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