BOONE, N.C. - The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) Furniture Foundation has awarded $12,000 in grant funding to Appalachian State University’s furniture design program to support student scholarship opportunities. This is the 17th AHFA grant awarded to App State since 2002.
The grant, which will create four $3,000 scholarships for App State furniture design students, is part of $49,000 in total 2020 AHFA funding awarded to furniture industry training programs in Western North Carolina. These scholarships will enable students to purchase materials, travel to industry trade shows and exhibitions and enter competitions.
“The American Home Furnishings Alliance scholarship grant has been an integral part of the success of many an App State furniture design student’s education,” said Richard Prisco, professor of industrial design in the university’s Department of Applied Design and coordinator for the furniture design concentration of App State’s Bachelor of Science in industrial design degree program.
This concept art shows a chair and side table designed by Appalachian State University alumna Caylin “Lin” Elkins ’20, who graduated from App State this spring with a B.S. in industrial design–furniture design and a minor in marketing. Materials used for the furniture pieces included wool batting, felted wool remnants, lavender, locally sourced maple and upcycled upholstery foam. In 2019–20, Elkins, of Dunn Loring, Virginia, was one of four App State furniture design students to receive a scholarship.
Prisco, who also serves as an adviser for furniture design students, continued, “The support of such organizations as AHFA allows Appalachian’s Department of Applied Design to be one of the top destinations in the country for students to receive a comprehensive education in furniture design. Students are engaged in careers ranging from design professionals in both the contract and residential markets to custom furniture makers.”
Prisco has successfully secured AHFA grant funding for App State’s furniture design program for the past seven years, with awards ranging between $9,000 and $12,000 annually and totaling approximately $81,000.

Headquartered in High Point — known as the “furniture capital of the world” — AHFA represents more than 200 of the industry’s leading manufacturers and importers. Its members manage a global supply chain that includes factories in 31 states and dozens of foreign countries, providing more than $11 billion in wholesale shipments of home furnishings products every year for U.S. households.

AHFA’s Furniture Foundation, established in 1948, funds research and educational initiatives aimed at improving management, manufacturing and marketing within the home furnishings industry. Since 1990, it has distributed more than $4.2 million in funding support.

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