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IFDA Pours Heart And Funds Into Ronald Mcdonald Houses

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After identifying a Ronald McDonald House here as the logical recipient of the talents and heart of its members, the 50-year-old International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) has broadened its philanthropy to include a dozen U.S. Ronald McDonald Houses through nine of its domestic chapters. "Our members are designers, architects, manufacturers, retailers, and a variety of other disciplines connected with the home furnishings industry," said IFDA President Sharon Clancy Lienau, IFDA of Chicago. "They represent virtually every need of a Ronald McDonald House." The Houses are homes-away-from-home for families of children undergoing treatment at nearby hospitals. There are currently 135 Houses open in the U.S., with a score of other Houses under development or expansion. Many of the existing Houses are in need of some kind of redecoration, from simple touch-ups to complete renovation. When offered assistance just a year ago, the manager of one House -- in Augusta, Ga. -- said, "All we need are a couple of lampshades." On visiting the House, however, members of the Georgia IFDA Chapter saw the need and opportunity to completely refurbish the 1 l-bedroom House, which was unveiled in May. "It just makes sense to do what we all do best," said Georgia IFDA member Judy Rigby, who chaired the Augusta project. "We all have families, and can appreciate the tremendous emotional stress these parents are under. We simply wanted to lend our resources to help them feel more comfortable in a cheerful environment." IFDA's Lienau says the total contributions -- including products and services obtained from members and their resources, plus rough estimates of their time -- have exceeded $1 million during the past year. IFDA chapters participating to date in this nationwide effort include Baltimore, the Carolinas, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Ronald Houses benefiting from IFDA activities are located in Ann Arbor, Augusta, Ga., Baltimore, Camden, N.J., Chicago, Huntington, W.Va., New York City, Philadelphia, Winston-Salem and Youngstown. Houses in Fairfax, Va. and Lansing, Mich. are under construction and will soon be IFDA's focus in those areas. "We're all each other's neighbors," said Lienau. "By adding the strengths of our members and the furnishings industry to the support that these loving Ronald Houses already provide, IFDA is bringing some additional comfort to those who need it most."

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