Written by Dani Polidor, Ambassador, DFAD
My personal journey with the Design for a Difference Movement began back on 2007 before I even knew it. From, nursing my newborn daughter, who would eventually be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, at all hours of the night to binge-watching the “Clean House” marathons with designer to the stars, Mark Brunetz. He was the glue that bonded the amazing team together.
My involvement with DFAD came in 2013 when I submitted my first entry in the Inaugural Design for a Difference Contest. My nomination was for my daughter’s school, Stepping Stones Learning Center. I imagined using all of the wonderful tactile flooring products generously sponsored by my local International Design Guild Showroom, Messner Flooring.
A year and several more nominations later, I got a call saying that my nomination for Alternatives for Battered Women, now Willow Domestic Violence Center was the Regional winner! I was so excited to meet my design hero Mark Brunetz and to start working with Messner Flooring, who was a huge part of this project.
Messner’s was so generous in their donation and because of that we have continued to work together and support the community. The biggest compliment of my design career came from the CEO of Messner’s, Jaime Saunders, and her team, who claim that the new spaces changed the culture of the organization and their clients. The impact is compounded when dignity and respect are palpable in the spaces.
Messner Flooring has done the makeovers of two other local charities and the owner, Peter Messner, has also been recognized as Willow Domestic Violence Center’s Volunteer of the Year. It is a recognition that is very special to me.
Design for A Difference also touched Upstate New York with a project by B&B Flooring and another fantastic design team collaboration completed in September of 2019.
COVID restrictions allowed Design for a Difference to recognize exceptional community activists in their Home is Where the Heart Is contest and the winners are bestowed beautiful new floors by the sponsoring showrooms and their vendors. Design For A Difference’s own Mark Brunetz did the makeover for the National Winner and I am thrilled to join two fellow DFAD Ambassadors to create designs for the Regional Winners.
Since volunteering my time with Design For A Difference as an Ambassador, I have shifted the focus of my Environmental Design and Real Estate business to foster equity, inclusion, equality, and justice through the power of connecting and collaborating with Not for Profits and Conscious Capitalist Enterprises.
I am humbled and grateful for all that Design For A Difference has facilitated in my life. Without International Design Guild’s vision and the support of Messner Flooring, I would not have become so audacious in my belief that everyone can do something and that it only takes one follower to tip the scales and create a movement to spread love and spark joy!
Known as a “natural collaborator,” Dani Polidor is active in local community groups as well as being a Design for a Difference and CLIPP Ambassador. She is recognized by her peers as a proud member of Kitchen & Bath Design New 2019 Innovators.