Grace Jones Partners with Other Interior Designers to Host Fundraiser for New Life Furniture Bank
From Left to Right: Karen Fallon, Fundraising Chair • Kent Shaw, Event Chair • Grace Jones, Design Challenge Chair • Dana Saxton, Executive Director for New Life Furniture Bank (NLFB)
Photography by Jon Keeling
One day Grace Jones, lead interior designer and owner of Dwellings on Madison, was chatting with her friend and fellow designer Kent Shaw, owner of his own firm and member of Bello Design Group, about their passion for giving back to the Cincinnati community. Shaw mentioned that he felt drawn to help New Life Furniture Bank (NLFB), the only nationally registered furniture bank in southwest Ohio serving those who are struggling with homelessness and poverty. When Shaw filled Jones in on NLFB’s mission, she, too, was compelled to get involved.
NLFB, a faith-based non-profit organization, collects gently used furniture that is cleaned and donated to local families in need. Serving the greater Cincinnati area, the organization is a Godsend to battered women, abused children, and others who are homeless and in need of a fresh start.
“These stories are heartbreaking, as most of these people have nothing,” says Jones. “Some of these kids have never gotten to sleep on a mattress before. They’ve not had a table on which to do their homework or eat a meal. They’ve been living off the floor.”
Both Shaw and Jones had clients who, after designing a fresh room, purchased new furniture and were looking for a home for their used furniture, which was still in great shape.
“These clients don’t really have good solutions for dispensing of their old furniture so we steer them toward New Life Furniture Bank where their furniture will be greatly appreciated,” says Shaw.
“It’s a feel-good, win-win situation all the way around.”
According to U.S. Census data and the 2018 Ohio Development Agency’s Ohio Poverty Report, Cincinnati is among the top 15 poorest cities in the country – a statistic that drives up homelessness. When Jones learned how pervasive homelessness has become in Cincinnati, she wanted to do more.
“It’s astonishing how great the need is in this city and how few programs we have to help the situation,” says Jones. Once Shaw told her that the NLFB had never held a fundraiser, the two friends put their heads together and decided to host the First Annual Party in the House Gala to be held the first Saturday in November with Shaw leading as the Event Chair and bringing his vision to life.
Jones and Shaw recruited seven top interior design firms in the Cincinnati area to participate in a Design Challenge in which they will incorporate pieces from NLFB’s supply of donated furniture into seven stylish vignettes to demonstrate the beauty of repurposing.
“There are some cool midcentury modern and Asian pieces – artwork, lamps, Oriental rugs,” says Jones. “Every designer has complete freedom to be as over-the-top or as utilitarian as they want. It’s their image, their branding, their design style.”
Each of the seven firms will create a room and with cost of admission, gala-goers can enjoy cocktails, music and dancing, as well as the chance to tour each of the designed rooms. Pieces will then be auctioned off at the end of the night.
“It’s been a long time since the design community collaborated to do something like this,” says Jones. “We’re excited to join forces and show off our craft and creativity, especially in Cincinnati – the birthplace of HGTV!”
The Party in the House Gala will be held on Saturday, November 3, at the historic Cincinnati Masonic Center. General admission is $75, $125 & $250 for host tickets and sponsorships are also available. Food will be provided by Jeff Thomas Catering. To order tickets, visit http://nlfurniture.org/party-in-the-house/
For more information, visit dwellingsonmadison.com