Fernbank Museum exterior image

Winter 2020
Party for Life By Debbie Eisele

Gift for Life's signature event moves to Atlanta's Fernbank Museum

Gift for Life’s annual fundraiser, Party for Life, will be held this year at Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. This will be the first year the event is hosted outside of New York, and the venue is primed with excitement, as Thom Filicia, celebrity designer, and Anne McGilvray, gift visionary, will participate in this celebration.

“With a stellar new location, a fantastic honorary event chairman and a celebration of one of the most important women in our industry, we will be starting 2020 off right,” said Matthew Katzenson, chair of the Gift for Life board. “Party for Life is Gift for Life’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and all proceeds benefit the grant-making efforts of our beneficiary DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS.”

Thom Filicia, honorary chairman for the event, is universally known as the interior design expert in the Emmy-Award winning “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and for his Home Collection and his stunning interiors. Beyond his design work, Filicia has hosted several successful shows for the Style Network, HGTV and Bravo. His product line, Thom Filicia Home Collection, includes furniture, décor, textiles, wallcoverings and more for the retail and hospitality markets.

“The work that DIFFA and Gift for Life do in the fight against AIDS is so important for the design industry,” Filicia said. “I am thrilled to serve as the honorary chairman and look forward to connecting with other like-minded people who are also committed to eradicating this disease.”

Anne McGilvray, recipient of Gift for Life’s 2020 Chuck Yancy Lifetime Achievement Award, is founder of Anne McGilvray & Company, a female-owned and operated agency operating in 43 states with eight permanent showrooms. Additionally, McGilvray operates two retail stores in Dallas.

Fernbank, a nonprofit organization, is a popular, iconic cultural attraction in Atlanta and is home to the world’s largest dinosaurs and even Atlanta’s biggest movie screen. The 28th annual Party for Life will be held in its Great Hall, where participants can enjoy the full-scale molds of dinosaur fossils as they dine on hors d’oeuvres and enjoy an open bar, as well as a silent auction featuring a diverse selection of Atlanta-themed prizes.

“We are greatly honored that Gift for Life has chosen Atlanta and the Atlanta Market as the new location for this important event,” said Bob Maricich, CEO of International Market Centers. “Party for Life is the preeminent charitable event for our industry, and we look forward to joining with our Atlanta Market community to position Party for Life 2020 as the signature event of the winter market season.”

Gift for Life was founded by Peter Schauben of Appleman Schauben in 1992 in response to the tragic loss of industry lives to AIDS. The organization’s first meeting at the National Stationery Show brought together a cross-section of the industry’s leading publishers, market centers, sales reps, manufacturers and retailers — all willing to convene and work together toward a common goal. Since that time, Gift for Life has raised more than $5 million for AIDS research, education, treatment and care through nationwide at-market events, cause marketing programs and direct donations.

Each year, Gift for Life hosts events throughout the U.S. benefitting the grantmaking of DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. In 2018, with Gift for Life’s help, DIFFA National granted $285,000 to 26 organizations providing HIV/AIDS service and education programs nationwide. For more information, visit www.giftforlife.org.

Debbie Eisele

Debbie Eisele is Managing Editor for museums&MORE, Party & Halloween Retailer, and Gift Shop Pets and Senior Retail Editor for Gift Shop Magazine and Stationery Trends.

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