The Sappi North America 2016 Ideas That Matter Grant Recipients

Sappi North America, through its annual Ideas that Matter grant program, has provided more than 13 million dollars to North American graphic designers to support projects for the non-profit organizations of their choice. Since the program's launch in 1999, more than 500 projects have been funded, resulting in a direct impact on the lives and environments of people and communities spanning 24 states and 15 countries, via support for 500 non-profits. According to Patti Groh, Marketing Communications Director, Sappi North America, “Social design impacts society in a positive way so we’re honored to annually produce, nurture and provide support for the work of designers and non-profits.”

The only grant program of its kind in the design industry, the Ideas that Matter program recognizes designers who have partnered with a philanthropic organization to develop proposals that include campaign concepts, business plans, objectives, costs and possible benefits. Grants support projects designed to enhance lives, society and the planet for a wide range of issues reflecting the concerns and needs of the communities that designers live in and care about most. Individual designers, design firms, agencies, in-house corporate design departments, design instructors, individual design students and design student groups based in North America are eligible for a grant of up to $50,000, with past projects including advertising campaigns, brochures, posters and other materials. Recipients donate their time and creativity to each project, while the funding covers implementation costs. Proposals may include up to 10% of the total budget as an honorarium for the applying designer or design firm.

Projects are selected on the basis of creativity, plans for implementation and potential impact. Judges for 2016 included Christopher Simmons, Principal and Creative Director of the San Francisco design office, MINE™; Vicky Jones, Vice President, Brand Strategy & Creative at Phase 3 Marketing and Communications in Atlanta; Andrew Shea, Principal at MANY, a multidisciplinary design studio in New York: and Sarah Brooks, Director, Insight & Design, Customer Experience Office at Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C. In addition, a “People’s Voice Award” offered the chance for the design community to participate directly in the grant program by voting for their favorite projects.

The winners of his year's eight winning projects, shown below, were recently announced. More information about the program is available on the Sappi North America site.

Designer: Piedad Rivadeneira -- Felicidad | Non-profit organization: Ashoka | Grant awarded: $18,500
A print publication that will feature outstanding, inspirational stories about social innovators from all corners of the US, and from all groups, showcasing the changemaking energy in this country for Ashoka's initiative All America.

Designer: Mai Kobori, Eulani Labay, Amy Findeiss — Parsons the New School for Design | Non-profit organization: The Point CDC | Grant awarded: $25,575
The Blank Plate Trainer’s Playbook is a toolkit and workbook that incorporates Blank Plate’s 10-week culinary design curriculum aiming to empower community leaders to become facilitators for change. It offers a new way of scaling Blank Plate's philosophy of putting the narrative of healthy food access and equity in our local food system directly in the hands of multiple communities.

Designer: Sam Aquillano — Design Museum Foundation | Non-profit organization: Design Museum Foundation | Grant awarded: $42,900
Extraordinary Playscapes is a national traveling exhibition and education program focused on the importance and design of outdoor play. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey featuring 40 amazing play spaces from around the world through stories, videos, images, artifacts, and playable elements. The exhibition goes beyond the gallery, with content online, in publications, and into parks and playgrounds around each host city.

Designer: Brian Dempsey — The Blank Page | Non-profit organization: SOLA - School of Leadership, Afghanistan | Grant awarded: $35,365
A printed case statement and redesigned website will feature the work of illustrators depicting life at SOLA — where girls in Afghanistan can receive quality education in a safe and healthy environment.

Designer: Sunra Thompson — Art Director at McSweeney’s | Non-profit organization: 826 National | Grant awarded: $20,900
A monumental anthology of student work gathered from each of 826’s seven chapters across the U.S.

Designer: Graphic Design MFA Program at MICA | Non-profit organization: Johns Hopkins University Lerner Center or Public Health Promotion | Grant awarded: $38,500
Growing Girls Project — laying the foundation for a lifetime of sexual and reproductive health by supporting young girls in Baltimore through puberty using innovative puberty educational tools.

Designer: Alvin Oei — ArtCenter College of Design, Designmatters | Non-profit organization: Coaniquem BCF, the Burned Children Foundation | Grant awarded: $49,438
A storybook, patient passport and environmental graphic system to guide children and their families through burn treatment plans in Latin America.

Designer: Susan Verba and Sarah Perrault, Center for Design in the Public Interest (DiPi) at the University of California, Davis | Non-profit organization: Hill Country Health and Wellness Center | Grant awarded: $18,825
About 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain — defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks — and our project seeks to address a number of problems associated with this reality by partnering with a nonprofit rural health center in Shasta County, California.
The Pain Project engages patient and provider communities in the participatory design of tools to help evaluate and better manage chronic pain; these tools invite discussion, create awareness about pain treatment options, encourage questions, help build trust, and work toward better health outcomes through shared decision-making.