Over the past few months, New York-based designer Keith Baltimore found himself contemplating how he could help support the frontline workers combating the coronavirus pandemic. Similar to many fellow designers, Baltimore almost immediately began working with textile workrooms to produce masks for healthcare worker, but the decorator felt that more had to be done.
So when his friend and fellow designer Annette Jaffe called with the idea to start a giving design consultation for the cost of a donation to a charity, Baltimore jumped into action, making the idea a reality by reaching out to 52 decorators and style-makers from across the country to ask if they'd join the cause.
Together with Kim Poulos Lieberz, CEO of KGI Design Group, the trio launched DesignGivers, a nonprofit organization where design industry professionals offer virtual interior design consultations while collecting donations to support the most pressing needs of local communities.
"It really seemed like the perfect idea to me," says Baltimore. "As designers, as creatives, we are always looking for ways to practice our craft, and this allows us to help others while we are doing it."
A 30-minute consultation and a $150 donation enables clients to work with a designer of their choosing to tackle the small design problems currently plaguing their homes. The video consult can also serve as an initial meeting for individuals looking for a prospective designer for larger design projects.
Currently, the organization is partnered with Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, but Baltimore explained in the future that the organization is open to working with other charities.
"As the needs for our communities change, we will look into what charities best suite the crises we are facing," explains Baltimore. "At the moment, families are struggling with food shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we are working with Feeding America."
The organization raised nearly $20,000 in its first two weeks and hopes to open a chapter of DesignGivers in every major city across America.
"The most rewarding moment of this entire process was being able to send off the first check to Feeding America and know we helped people by just doing our craft," says Baltimore.
For those interested in learning more about DesignGivers, you can check out their website here.
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