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DIFFA’s Annual Picnic by Design Raises Nearly 60K to Fight HIV/AIDS

DIFFA’s Annual Picnic by Design Raises Nearly 60K to Fight HIV/AIDS


David Rockwell, Dawn Roberson and Tom Viola at Picnic By Design On Broadway


Denée Benton (Broadway Actress) and friend at Picnic By Design On Broadway


Chicago themed basket by NPZ Style + Decor


DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS hosted its largest and most successful Picnic By Design to-date, raising $57,000 to grant to HIV/AIDS organizations across the country. Nearly 300 people filled the Viacom Terrace and Lounge, overlooking Times Square, to view and bid on more than 20 Broadway-themed picnic baskets from celebrated talents within the New York metro design community. Participating designers including Patrick J. Hamilton, Vanessa Deleon, Tyler Wisler and Mikel Welch, created vibrant baskets containing exclusive Broadway experiences that were auctioned to raise money to support DIFFA’s work in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“This year we challenged our designers to reimagine a staple in New York City culture by incorporating a Broadway theme in the creation of their designer picnic baskets. We were thrilled to see the designs they produced for our guests to view, bid and raise funds to support our grant efforts,” Dawn Roberson, Executive Director at DIFFA said. “We are thankful to have the support of so many talented designers along with Cindy Allen, Chair of the Board of Trustees, David Rockwell of Rockwell Group, Tom Viola, Executive Director Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Viacom, O&M and the Shubert Organization; who collectively helped to make this event an extraordinary success.”

In addition to an extravagant showcase of picnic experiences featuring interpretations of classic and Tony-award winning shows such as Wicked, The Lion King, Kinky Boots, Chicago, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and more—attendees were able to view an exhibition of images of the Imperial Theatre from the Shubert Archives as well as Rockwell Group’s model of the set design for “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Auction winners took home reimagined concepts of a picnic basket, which included backstage passes to shows, exclusive Broadway gift cards and dining experiences at top NYC restaurants. Funds raised from the auction directly supports DIFFA’s mission to raise and grant funds to organizations that provide treatment, direct care and education for individuals impacted by HIV/AIDS.

“I am thrilled to have co-chaired DIFFA’s seventh annual Picnic By Design. It was an honor to partner with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS to support and celebrate two groups so near and dear to my heart: DIFFA and the theater community. It was amazing to see how designers expressed the joy and excitement of Broadway shows in such creative picnic displays,” said David Rockwell, Chair Emeritus, DIFFA and founder and President, Rockwell Group.

The 2018 designers included: Antoinette Loupe, BKSK Interiors, Catskill Provisions, Gensler + Knoll, Hunter Douglas + Patrick Harris Designs, Jes Gordon, Knoll + Studios Architecture, Kravet, Lo Chen Designs, Matouk, McCory Interiors, Michele Alfano Design, Mikel Welch, NPZ Style & Décor, Peter Valcarcel, Rockwell Group, Ted Moudis Associates, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Vanessa Deleon Associates, and Rebecca Wu Norman.

This year’s sponsors included AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Blanco, Brooklyn Brewery, Catskill Provisions, Carnegie, Cliffton Dry, Hunter Douglas, Humanscale, Interior Design, Knoll Inc., Kravet Inc., National Kitchen & Bath Association, Robert Allen Duralee Group, Rockwell Group, POZ Magazine, Studio TK/Teknion, Transwall, and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

Picnic by Design celebrates creative expression while raising funds and engaging designers in DIFFA’s mission to further the fight against HIV/AIDS. Proceeds support DIFFA’s grants to HIV/AIDS direct service organizations and programs in New York City and across the country.

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About DIFFA:
DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS raises awareness and grants funds to organizations that fight HIV/AIDS by providing treatment and direct care services for people living with or impacted by the disease, offering preventative education programs targeted to populations at risk of infection, or supporting public policy initiatives. DIFFA is one of the largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and education programs in the United States, mobilizing the immense resources and creativity of the design community. Since its founding in 1984, DIFFA has emerged from a grassroots organization into a national foundation based in New York City with chapters and community partners across the country that, working together, have provided more than $42 million to hundreds of HIV/AIDS organizations nationwide.


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