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Sappi North America Announces Recipients of the 18th Annual Ideas that Matter Grant

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Press release from the issuing company

Ten design projects to receive funds to implement campaigns for social good through print mediums 

BOSTON –  Sappi North America, a leading producer and supplier of diversified paper and packaging products, today announced the ten grant recipients of its 18th annual Ideas that Matter program, where financial support is given to designers who create print integrated projects to maximize social impact.

The ten projects selected this year highlight how design and creativity can help solve prominent social issues. Through communication projects and campaigns using paper and print, the winning projects focus on climate change, encourage high school students to consider urban planning, educate girls about their reproductive rights, support quality journalism, address prison reform, and explore solutions for delivering humanitarian aid - inspiring change across the country, and around the world.

As an integral part of Sappi's corporate social responsibility platform since 1999, the Ideas that Matter grant program has funded over 500 nonprofit projects and contributed more than $13 million to a wide range of causes that use design as a positive force in society. The program is open to North American designers who have partnered with a nonprofit organization and developed a communication campaign that is ready for implementation. 

“For the last 18 years, Ideas that Matter has been a key component of how Sappi actively supports the pressing needs of individuals, communities and our environment,” said Patti Groh, director of marketing communications, Sappi North America. "We are proud that Ideas that Matter has played such an important role in the design for social good movement, and we are honored to have helped so many vital impact projects come to life.”

Selection Criteria

Ideas that Matter proposals are evaluated on creativity, plans for implementation and potential impact by an independent panel of judges who are selected annually and are recognized for their commitment to design for social impact. The 2017 judges were: Julie Anixter, Executive Director of AIGA; Dana Arnett, Founding Partner and Vice Chairman, VSA Partners; Randy J. Hunt, Head of Design, Artsy; Matthew Manos, Founder and Managing Director, verynice.; and De Nichols, Director, Civic Creatives. 

The 2017 Ideas that Matter grant recipients were announced by judge De Nichols in front of over a thousand creatives during the annual AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis, Minn. on October 14. 

The 2017 Ideas that Matter Recipients:

Designer or Firm

Project Title

Project Description

Nonprofit Beneficiary

Amanda June, Eunique Yazzie, Shon Quannie--SmokeFire Media

Redefining Safety Campaign

This campaign will bring Arizona residents from Maryvale and South Phoenix together in their respective communities to combat the fear of state violence that has increased in communities of color. 

Center for Neighborhood Leadership

Jewel Clark

Creative Civic Action Toolkit

The toolkit will support Creative Reaction Lab's unique civic engagement problem solving process based on equity, humility-building, integrating history and healing practices, addressing power dynamics, and co-creating with the community.

Creative Reaction Lab

R. Roger Remington, Anne Ghory-Goodman, Bruce Meader--Vignelli Center for Design Studies,  Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

Innovating to Respond: Designing Solutions for Humanitarian Needs

A series of three annual conferences will explore how design can help humanitarian needs. Through case studies, discussion and small group interaction, participants will generate strategies and methods for collaborative problem-solving. Attendees will include academics, students, design professionals and leaders of organizations from the humanitarian sector.

Rochester Institute of Technology/Fordham University

Angela Ng--Urban Minds

1Up Starter Kit

The 1Up Starter Kit will be a youth-friendly, step-by-step guide to inspire students about urban planning. They will learn how to identify a site, consider design solutions and build prototypes based on the real needs of the community.

8 80 Cities

Kristin Riger--IDEO.org

XO Design Guide

The XO Design Guide will be an easy-to-use guidebook that provides organizations working in the reproductive health sector the confidence and tools to create girl-centered campaigns and services.


Leslie Atzmon, Ryan Molloy, and Eastern Michigan University Intermediate Graphic Design students--Eastern Michigan University School of Art & Design

A Community Arts Hub for Ypsilanti, Michigan

Through rebranding, the creation of building signage, environmental graphics, and a variety of promotional material this project will transform Riverside Arts Center into a community arts hub for Ypsilanti, Michigan. In addition, the project includes the creation of a Creativity Toolkit for local youth and their families

Riverside Art Center/Fly

Eric Benson, Mark Taylor, Natalie Smith--Re-nourish

Prosperity Gardens Expansion

Through signage, new packaging, merchandise and experiential items, this campaign will help Prosperity Gardens expand services that provide job training  and employment opportunities in agricultural sciences and food production for teens seeking a new direction in life.

Prosperity Gardens Inc.

Gala Narezo, Chantal Fischzang

Aware & Awake: Practices for Sustainable Change-Making

This visual curriculum and instructional workbook will support leadership training at Mawuni, a 34-acre community dedicated to the safe harbor of LGBTQ young adults at risk and older adults in need of support.


Naomi Usher--Studio Usher

ProPublica 'Factivism' Fundraising Project

The Factivism fundraising campaign engages donors whose initial motivation may have been concern about ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ to create an enduring relationship with them, based on awareness of the organization’s mission, scope and impact.


Andre Andreev--Dress Code

Day One: An Intimate look at a maximum security prison that reimagines incarceration for young men

To grow VERA's network, a book and short film will explore how the organization works with government and civil leaders to build and improve justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety, and strengthen communities.

Vera Institute of Justice (VERA)

For more information about Sappi's 2017 Ideas that Matter grant recipients in North America, please visit our website. The Call for Entries for next year's Ideas that Matter program will be announced in the Spring of 2018.



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