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The Furniture Foundation Announces Grants

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The Furniture Foundation announced that it has allocated $134,000 for scholarships, education and research at four colleges and universities for the 2007-2008 school year. Recipients include Appalachian State University, Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University and Lenoir-Rhyne College. Appalachian State’s grant will provide scholarship funds to be awarded to students enrolled in the school’s Furniture Industry Studies program. The grant to Mississippi State University will support the Institute for Furniture Manufacturing and Management, while the allocation for North Carolina State University will support the Furniture Manufacturing and Management Center. Lenoir-Rhyne is on the distribution list for the first time with a grant that will be earmarked for the school’s “Leading Edge” series of public forums. Last February more than 650 people turned out for a panel discussion titled, “The Future of Furniture Manufacturing.” The series is designed to provide a sweeping look at issues relevant to the Hickory, N.C., region. The Foundation grant will help support a second forum on a furniture industry topic, possibly “The Future of Furniture Retailing.” The Furniture Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded to support research and educational programming aimed at improving management, manufacturing and marketing within the residential furniture industry. It has distributed more than $3 million in scholarships and grants since 1990. The Foundation was established in 1948 by Henry A. Foscue, a native of Jamestown, N.C., and the president and chairman of Globe Parlor Furniture. He was active throughout the home furnishings industry, but his greatest passion was the Furniture Manufacturing and Management curriculum at North Carolina State University – a program he helped establish along with a group of manufacturers the same year the Foundation was formed. The curriculum was designed to cultivate top engineering and managerial personnel for careers in the furniture industry. To provide ongoing funding for the program at North Carolina State, Foscue established the Furniture Foundation and served as its president until his death in 1985. At that time, the Foundation was reorganized, and the American Furniture Manufacturers Association (now the American Home Furnishings Alliance) stepped in as administrator. In 1991 the Furniture Manufacturing and Management Program was eliminated at NC State and a furniture manufacturing option was created within the industrial engineering curriculum. The Foundation still supports the Furniture Manufacturing and Management Center at NC State, which was established in 1991 to conduct a program of applied research and technical assistance to support furniture manufacturers. “Research and educational programs aimed at improving the competitiveness of the furniture industry are alive and growing at these colleges and universities, in part because of contributions from the Foundation,” says 2007 Foundation Chairman Eric Schenk, chief operating officer for Century Furniture. Companies or individuals interested in donating to the Furniture Foundation should contact Andy Counts at 336/884-5000, ext. 115. The American Home Furnishings Alliance – located in High Point, N.C., and Washington, D.C. – is the largest association of home furnishings companies in the world and represents more than 250 leading furniture manufacturers and distributors, as well as 225 suppliers to the furniture industry worldwide.

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