The Design Foundation


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The Design Foundation was founded in 2001 by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) to produce charitable and educational programming for the advancement of the industrial design profession. For nearly 20 years, the Design Foundation has proven itself as a vital resource for our community. 

The Design Foundation is a platform to connect IDSA members, the design community, and corporate partners through charitable efforts that provide critical access to design education and resources for emerging designers. A dedicated team of passionate volunteers help us to deliver our programming and envision our future.

Looking ahead, we know there is much more we can do to fulfill our mission and strengthen our community. In 2020, under the direction of our Board of Trustees, we set plans in place to develop a new blueprint for our future. By expanding our programming for college students and implementing new offerings to K-12 students and educators, we hope to create a bigger impact in the lives of young designers across the country.


What does The Design Foundation do?

The Design Foundation’s longest running program is an annual undergraduate scholarship which, to date, has distributed over $30,000 in scholarship tuition assistance to a diverse pool of talented design students. The recipients of our scholarships go on to do great things within the design community and achieve great successes professionally. 

Current activities of The Design Foundation:

Annual Scholarships

These scholarships help students at the earliest stages of their design careers and provide much needed financial support. Learn more.

Access to Events

The Foundation provides complimentary registration to IDSA events for underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Advocacy & Education

The Foundation works to increase access to industrial design educational resources and build general awareness of the industrial design profession.

Our Focus

The Design Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, aims to increase access to industrial design education and create opportunities for young designers who are beginning their journey into the field. Through its focus on education as the starting point for a successful career in industrial design, the Design Foundation helps to generate awareness of industrial design within the general public. 

The Design Foundation endeavors to provide learning opportunities for students (regardless of age, institution, or background) of industrial design. It exists to facilitate knowledge exchange and educate new sectors and people about industrial design. The Design Foundation constantly strives to extend the arm of industrial design into new areas in order to provide more learning opportunities.

Our Values

The Design Foundation believes that engaging individuals from diverse backgrounds and providing more design education access points at earlier ages will strengthen and advance the industrial design profession. Facilitating opportunities that expand the composition of designers in the profession, increasing access to industrial design programming, and offering more learning opportunities in schools and through local community outreach are integral values upon which the Design Foundation is built.

The Design Foundation believes in being honest and fair in serving the public, our partners, peers, employees, and community members, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, creed, nationality, age, ability, or sexual orientation. Racism, sexism, and all forms of discrimination and bigotry are antithetical to the Design Foundation’s values. In partnering with IDSA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEIC), the Design Foundation will continually ensure these values are upheld and practiced.


How Can You Help?

Funding for The Design Foundation comes primarily from generous donations made by individuals, families, or businesses who share the same values as The Design Foundation and wish to advance the Foundation’s mission. The Design Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and a donation can be made at any time throughout the year. These donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Donate Online

Click here to make a donation (via Paypal)

Donate by Mail

Send a check made out to "The Design Foundation" to:

Attention: Design Foundation
950 Herndon Parkway, Suite 250
Herndon, VA 20170



The Relationship Between IDSA and the Design Foundation

The Design Foundation is a separate legal entity from IDSA; however, the two organizations work hand-in-hand and share commonalities with their work and purpose. The Design Foundation focuses its efforts on K-12 through collegiate level communities. IDSA supports aspiring designers' transition from higher education into professional practice and beyond. Both organizations are advocates for the field of industrial design and maintain efforts aimed at raising awareness among the general public of industrial design as a necessary and respected career.