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“Wayne, he was really into mentoring,” Donat recalls.
“When I heard about the bursary, the IDC Foundation,
and what it was for, that was Wayne. That’s what he did
during most of his design life: mentor young people.”
Donat describes Thomson as a very quiet person who never
raised his voice or shouted at people—a characteristic he
leveraged to help entry-level designers in the workplace.
For example, whenever a young designer made a mistake,
Donat says senior designers often would get upset and shout
at them. “Wayne would hear it, and he would go over and find
the junior designer—and, he didn’t tell them they were wrong;
he would just say it wouldn’t work this way, but if they do it
another way, it will work,” he remembers.
To honor his partner’s legacy of mentoring, Donat wanted
to ensure that young design professionals could receive
assistance in their professional development, which is how
Thomson would have wanted it. “The average person that
goes to university, they end their four years and they graduate,
they have loans they have to pay; and, with young designers,
they’re going into work for a company and they have to rent
an apartment and have to pay their debt,” Donat says.
“So, the bursary helps them a lot.”
Donations are still accepted to the Wayne Thomson Bursary and
can be made via the IDC Foundation page on the IDC website.
DIFFA: Raising Awareness and Dollars
In terms of exercising empathy, few other
organizations within the design community
(or elsewhere) express it as unequivocally as
DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting
AIDS. Since 1984, DIFFA has emerged from a
grassroots organization into a national foundation
to raise awareness and grant funds to organizations
that provide treatment, direct care services,
preventive education programs, and advocacy
for individuals impacted by HIV/AIDS.
To date, DIFFA’s chapters and partners have
tirelessly worked together to raise more than
$43 million to benefit hundreds of HIV/AIDS
organizations nationwide. Mobilizing the vast
resources of the design industries, DIFFA
has supported a broad spectrum of programs,
from HIV/AIDS care and treatment to education
and prevention, funding such early initiatives as
condom distribution and needle exchange programs,
as well as taking an active role in supporting
programs aimed at protecting the legal rights and
security of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Alessandra Branca teamed with Benjamin Moore
to create a luscious garden setting for the 2018
DINING BY DESIGN gala in New York.
(Image: Alan Barry)
From grassroots to national
foundation: DIFFA raises
awareness and grants
funds to organizations
that provide treatment,
direct care services, and
more for individuals
impacted by HIV/AIDS.
(Image: Erik Bardin Photography)