Sappi North America Awards 2019 Ideas that Matter Grants

On the program's 20th anniversary, 11 projects receive funds for social impact campaigns

BOSTON, Sept. 26, 2019 -- Sappi North America, Inc., a leading producer and supplier of diversified paper and packaging products, today announced the 2019 recipients of its annual Ideas that Matter grant program. Celebrating its 20th year, the program provides funding to support the production and distribution of social impact print projects with integrated campaigns.

For two decades, Sappi has championed the work of social impact designers through its Ideas that Matter grant program, the cornerstone of its corporate social responsibility platform. The company has made global contributions totaling more than $13 million to fund more than 500 projects since the program was created.

This year's recipients demonstrate how print, combined with online and in-person activities, can play an important role in solving social issues. The winning grants include a wide range of innovative solutions that will: 

  • Advance sustainable food systems
  • Offer tax preparation support for low-income families
  • Deliver legal guidelines for independent farmers
  • Educate employers about equity and justice in hiring
  • Build positive relationships between law enforcement and communities of color

"As Ideas that Matter celebrates 20 years, Sappi continues to show its commitment to supporting social good through print design," said Patti Groh, Marketing Communications Director, Sappi North America. "As we look ahead, we're excited to continue working with a growing group of designers focused on social impact. We learn more about the important work being done in this field each year and expect that our efforts can continue to help it flourish and influence positive change for people and communities everywhere."

The 2019 Ideas that Matter grant recipients include:


Designer or Firm

Nonprofit Beneficiary

Project Title


Liz Rose Chmela, Made by We


Washington, DC

Farm Commons

Farm Law 101: Workbook

Sustainable farmers today need the power and resources to solve business law problems pertaining to their land. This all-in-one workbook contains hands-on materials for both new and experienced farmers to help them become more comfortable with farm law. The workbook and kit pairs in-depth information with hands-on learning techniques and will serve as a physical reference without the concerns of slow internet connection.

Michael Bierut, Pentagram


New York, NY

Greyston Foundation

Let’s Get to Work

Greyston Foundation’s mission is to create thriving communities through the promotion of Open Hiring which encourages employment practices that do not include judgement or the questioning of personal history and past challenges of candidates. Let’s Get to Work supports this mission through compelling design and communication deployed through seminar materials, a redesigned website, and a brand book.

Karen Cheng and Selina Nguyen, University of Washington, Division of Design, School of Art + Art History + Design


Seattle, WA

Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness (ITFH)

Aiding People Living in Vehicles: Navigating Parking in Seattle


Currently, there are 2,147 individuals living in their vehicles in Seattle. It is critical that vehicle residents understand and obey parking laws to avoid losing their home and possessions. This project will include the design and distribution of a brochure that explains Seattle’s complex parking regulations for vehicle residents. In addition to the brochure, a one-page information sheet will explain how neighborhoods and communities can help vehicle residents.

Tanairi Rodriguez and Jonathan Frederick, Morehead Planetarium & Science Center


Chapel Hill, NC

Morehead Planetarium & Science Center

Explora las Estrellas / Explore the Stars

Morehead’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, embodied by their tagline of “Science for All”, has a strategic goal of reaching more Latinx and Spanish speaking audiences, an underrepresented population in STEM. To support this mission Morehead plans to host a family-focused bilingual astronomy event and campaign in partnership with Latinx organizations in North Carolina’s Research Triangle area. To continue the engagement beyond the event, families will take home with them an activity kit. And, to support this initiative mailers, posters, flyers, signage and banners, t-shirts, stickers and kit will be part of their ongoing strategy.

Naomi Usher, Studio Usher


New York, NY

NY Sun Works

100,000 lbs of Veggies! Now What?

NY Sun Work builds innovative science labs in urban schools. Their Greenhouse Project Initiative uses hydroponic farming technology to educate students and teachers about the science of sustainability. Pounds and pounds of fresh greens are the by-product of every greenhouse classroom and during the 2019-2020 school year, students will harvest 100,000 pounds of leafy greens. Studio Usher is working with NY Sun Works to design a workbook and develop new curriculum to guide students and teachers to make the best use of this produce.


Emily Julka


Madison, WI

REAP Food Group

Growing Healthy Together

Growing Healthy Together is a bilingual educational campaign aimed at reducing health inequities of Wisconsin residents who face institutional and historical barriers to fresh seasonal, healthy food. To meet this challenge, this project will include a multilingual, culturally-relevant printed brochure that focuses on affordability and sustainability of seasonal Wisconsin-grown food. The intention is to strengthen connections between eaters and those who grow their food, as well as celebrate eating local as an act of community building and wellness for all.


Nate Bernhard and Harris Levine, Ker-twang


Miami, FL

StreetCred at Boston Medical Center

Increasing uptake of the EITC at low-income pediatric clinics via targeted messaging and support

This campaign will use print and digital materials in the pediatrician's office to reach low-income families that are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). These materials will address key obstacles to claiming the EITC and will include postcard flyers, engaging graphic posters, short pamphlets, and mobile-friendly digital resources.


Jen Guibord, HUB Collective


Portland, OR

The August Wilson Red Door Project

The Evolve Experience

Produced by the Red Door Project, The Evolve Experience is an immersive theater performance and facilitated dialogue that tackles the struggles where power, bias and race collide in the treatment of people of color by police. The production is geared for members of the criminal justice system across America. To support this initiative, HUB Collective will create a kit that includes support materials about the production, tools for engaging in the talk-back session and take-away items to help audience members engage with others on the topics of the production.

Ann Sappenfield, Fluora Studio


New York, NY

The Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve

A Field Guide to a Field Station: Celebrating 80 Years of Research at the Huyck Preserve

The Huyck Preserve is celebrating eight decades of scientific accomplishment as well as highlighting the research culture of its field station. To mark this milestone and to ensure ongoing support of the field station's activities, this campaign includes a field guide, commemorative poster, exhibition, digital field guide and a tote bag, each of which is tailored to a specific target audience of the Preserve.

Mariana Amatullo, Bryan Boyer, Jennifer May and Andrew Shea


New York, NY

Detroit, MI
Pasadena, CA

The New School

Global LEAP: New Frontiers in Design for Social Innovation

This publication will be the first worldwide survey of design for social innovation practices with a focus on business models and impact. Part field guide and part source book, it will include case studies, reflective dialogues and short essays by leaders in social impact. Accompanying the publication is a dedicated website that fulfills the principle of accessibility and open source content. And, an educators’ guide will provide needed resources to help continue the growth and evolution of the field.

Linda Kwon


Urbana, IL

Trauma & Resilience Initiative, Inc.

For Colored Girls Who Weather Life’s Storms

This unique project is a graphic novel with autobiographical stories from diverse women of color. The stories explore not only their personal relationships with trauma, but also the strengths, resources and supports that continue to foster resiliency and post-traumatic growth. To help promote and build awareness of the book, postcards and bookmarks will be distributed in advance to organizations, events and libraries.


Grant proposals are evaluated on effectiveness of design, 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 2019 judges were Sam Aquillano, Founder and Executive Director, Design Museum Foundation; George Aye, Co-Founder and Director of Innovation, Greater Good Studio; Ashleigh Axios, Creative Director, Obama White House and Executive Board Member, AIGA; Antionette Carroll, M.A., President and CEO, Founder, Creative Reaction Lab; Christine Taylor, Licensing Creative Manager, Hallmark Cards and Creative Director, PopMinded by Hallmark.

For more information about Sappi's 2019 Ideas that Matter grant recipients, please visit the website or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter. The call for entries for next year's Ideas that Matter program will be announced in April 2020.

About Sappi North America, Inc.
Sappi North America, Inc., headquartered in Boston, is a market leader in converting wood fiber into superior products that customers demand worldwide. The success of our four diversified businesses – high-quality Coated Graphic Papers, Dissolving Wood Pulp, Packaging and Specialty Papers and Casting and Release Papers – is driven by strong customer relationships, best-in-class people and advantaged assets, products and services. Our high-quality Coated Graphic Papers, including McCoy, Opus, Somerset, and Flo, are the key platform for premium magazines, catalogs, books, direct mail and high-end print advertising. We are a leading manufacturer of Dissolving Wood Pulp with our Verve brand, a sustainable fiber, which is used in a wide range of products, including textile fibers and household goods. We deliver sustainable Packaging and Specialty Papers for luxury packaging and folding carton applications with our single-ply packaging brands, Spectro and Proto, and for the food and label industries with our specialty papers, LusterPrint and LusterCote. We are also one of the world's leading suppliers of Casting and Release Papers with our Ultracast, PolyEx and Classics lines for the automotive, fashion and engineered films industries. Customers rely on Sappi for high technical, operational and market expertise; products and services delivered with consistently high quality and reliability; and, state-of-the-art and cost-competitive assets and innovative spirit.

Sappi North America is a subsidiary of Sappi Limited (JSE), a global company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with more than 12,000 employees and manufacturing operations on three continents in seven countries and customers in over 150 countries.