The creatives at Chicago design firms Studio Gild, Morgante Wilson and Amy Kartheiser Design all discuss the foundations they’ve started to help give back.
CHICAGO DESIGN FIRM STUDIO GILD SUPPORTS CHARITIES THAT FIGHT CANCER
The foundation that Chicago design firm Studio Gild’s three partners—Jennie Bishop, Melissa Benham and Kristen Ekeland—started in 2016 doesn’t exclusively support charities that fight cancer, but because of personal and family battles with the disease, it is the primary emphasis. “We’ve had far too many encounters with cancer in our own lives and those of our dearest family members and friends,” notes cancer survivor Benham. In 2022, Gild Foundation was the founding sponsor for the Move IV MBC event to honor the stage 4 metastatic breast cancer patients supported by the Roots & Wings Charitable Foundation. “We know that creating beautiful environments is not saving lives,” Ekeland says, “but supporting those in need helps to move the needle.”
PHOTO BY ERIKA DUFOUR
MORGANTE WILSON FOUNDATION HELPS WITH AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Architects, spouses and partners Elissa Morgante and Fred Wilson of Chicago design firm Morgante Wilson believe in the importance of home, so when they decided to form the Morgante Wilson Foundation, it was natural to focus on affordable housing. “Everyone deserves a place that they can call their own and feel safe,” Wilson says. “We see sustainable, affordable models like Community Land Trusts as critical tools in building stability through home ownership.” In 2021, the foundation helped Community Partners for Affordable Housing purchase and renovate Wilmette’s first permanently affordable CLT house, and they exceeded their 2022 fundraising goals. “The CLT model provides the boost people who’ve come up against difficult circumstances need to purchase a safe and secure home in a supportive community,” Morgante says.
PHOTO COURTESY MORGANTE WILSON
AMY KARTHEISER OPENS CONVERSATIONS AROUND MENTAL HEALTH
Amy Kartheiser found her mission through personal tragedy when she lost her brother and a nephew to suicide. Determined to open conversations around mental health, she started her foundation, Under the Same Sky. “When I first learned about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Healing Conversations program, I was moved to help spread the word about this life-changing support system,” she says. “This program connects loss survivors with volunteers who have also lost a loved one to suicide to support them in their grief.” Her foundation started fundraising by holding pop-up events to sell pieces collected during the designer’s travels. In the last two years, Under the Same Sky has also held the Starry Night Soiree, a night of purposeful entertainment complete with a silent auction. Thanks to generous support from artists like Matt K. Nguyen, Laurie Kwo and Eric Gushee, the 2022 benefit raised over $180,000.