Article Number: 22410
IDFA'S 2021 Professional Grant Winners
LEWISVILLE, N.C., Oct. 7, 2021 —The Educational Foundation (EF) of IFDA, the International Furnishings and Design Association, has announced the winners of four of its professional grants. Since the early years of this 74-year-old global design industry alliance, arguably the most diverse organization of its kind with membership that includes designers, media, marketers and manufacturers, EF has awarded grants to talented professionals as well as scholarships to high-achieving design students, internationally. This year, the funds awarded totaled $28,000.

“Congratulations to the winners; their skills and initiative in undertaking new challenges are impressive and they are an outstanding group of people we are proud to have in our profession” said Karen Dzendolet, IFDA, Chairman of the Board of the Educational Foundation of IFDA. “Each winner exemplified the goals of the award they were granted, whether universal design, professional development or the advancement of interior design programs.” Joyce Poynton, FIFDA, Director of Scholarships and Grants, echoed the sentiment. “Though the judges were challenged in selecting winners, each one was very deserving of the award.”

IFDA Educational Foundation Grants are offered to all professionals working in the interior design or furnishings related fields, but not to undergraduate students. Winners were notified earlier in the month. For more information, visit:

The four grants awarded are as follows:

Elizabeth Brown Grant to Interior Design Programs — $2,500
Gisèle Taylor Wells
, ASID, LEED AP, Department Chair, Forsyth Technical Community College, Winston-Salem, N.C. In 2021, the Living Design Lab at Forsyth Tech Community College became a reality after years of planning. The interactive space, currently under construction, features a mix of cabinetry and lighting to provide hands-on experiences for design students. The Elizabeth Brown Grant will allow Wells to expand the learning opportunities within the space to include a variety of interactive documentation tools for the students to gain additional “real world” experiences. The awarded funds will be used to purchase a variety of analog and digital measurement tools, a digital light measure, and tablet for design and space documentation. The tools and technology will provide opportunities for the students to learn basic to advanced design documentation and visualization methods.

Irma Dobkin Universal Design Grant— $2,000
Dr. Susan Bullers’
professional life includes a 25-year career as a Sociology professor, focusing on social research methods and data analysis, social psychology, medical sociology and gender. In 2018 she decided to return to school to pursue a master’s in Industrial Design from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., allowing her to combine her sociological perspective with her lifelong passion for design, building, and human-environment interaction. Dr. Bullers is currently pursuing independent product development and human-centered design research for products, systems and space configurations. In response to users’ challenges regarding bath and shower configurations, Dr. Bullers is working on Every Body Bath, an attractive spa-style configuration towards which her grant money will be used. It addresses the user challenges with traditional bath/shower arrangements and allows stable access to the shower from a wheelchair, walker or standing position and can accommodate an assistant. This solution provides attractive and convenient seating for all tub/shower users.

Tony Torrice Professional Development Grant — $1,500
Liz Hart
began her full-service consultation and home staging business, Liz Hart Designs, LLC, in 2004 with an emphasis on repurposing and personalization. Having experienced moving 19 times, living in three different countries and extensive travel, she has insight across many different design perspectives. In 2016 Hart developed a certification course in Interior Decorating at the School of Continuing Studies at The University of Richmond and is currently the lead instructor in the program. Her grant project will go towards continuing education through The New York Institute of Art and Design’s Interior Design course. The course gives students the training they’ll need to become an expert in the skills needed to succeed as a professional interior designer. Said Hart, “I am taking the course to enrich my skills and enhance the education of my students enrolled in the certificate program I developed at University of Richmond’s School of Continuing Studies.”

Valerie Moran Memorial Grant — $3,000 for IFDA members
Jennifer Munich
of the IFDA New York Chapter, has 20 years’ experience on both the vendor and retail side of home fashions – for such iconic brands as Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart and key retailers like Kohl’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond. From her current position at P/Kaufmann Home, she can foresee new, imaginative, and highly effective avenues of engagement with both suppliers and consumers. She will apply the Valerie Moran to an online course entitled “Digital Marketing: Customer Engagement, Social Media, Planning & Analytics,” created by Emeritus in collaboration with Columbia Business School Executive Education. The program will provide the practical and enduring strategies needed to build strong relationships with customers in the digital age.

IFDA Educational Foundation is a non-profit, tax exempt, 501©(3) organization. It’s nine scholarships support both full and part-time undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of interior, green/sustainable, product and textile design. In addition, 10 grants support professional development opportunities for IFDA members and other design industry professionals as well as needed resources for design schools. Visit and

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