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  • Writer's pictureGift for Life

Highlights: Jan. Events in Dallas & Atlanta Kick-off 2024 Fundraising, Plus Our Annual Board Meeting



Two activities tied to the new World Central Kitchen Cookbook will raise funds for Gift for Life during Atlanta Market.  Ari Lowenstein, Chair of Gift for Life, and owner of Ari’s Pantry, will be preparing and serving WCK dishes on Thursday, January 18, from 5 pm – 7pm, in the Darrah and Co showroom (Building 2, Floor 18) and will do a live cooking demonstration on Friday, January 19 from 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm in the JURA Demonstration Kitchen (Building 2, Floor 8).


Donations to World Central Kitchen are encouraged, and all who donate at least $20 are eligible to win one of 50 cookbooks donated by publisher Penguin Random House on Thursday evening.  On Friday, during Ari’s demonstration, one cookbook personally-signed by WCK founder Chef Jose Andres also will be awarded. 

The World Central Kitchen Cookbook is filled with recipes inspired by the places the WCK Relief Team has cooked following disasters and other crises around the world. Each chapter focuses on one of their core values and shares inspiring stories from the chefs, volunteers, and communities they’ve worked with. Head to our Donate page to make a donation.



Gift for Life Board member, Russ Jones of Ivystone, is nominated for a 2024 ARTS Award in the Sales Representative East/Atlantic category!  Winners in multiple categories including product manufacturing, retailing, sales representation and more, will be announced at a gala event on Friday, January 12, 2024, during the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market. The ARTS Awards, developed by the non-profit ART (Accessories Resource Team) and produced by Dallas Market Center, is a peer-nominated program now in its 34th year.  Purchase tickets at

Russ Jones joined the GFL board in 2017, and was instrumental in launching GFL’s Home vs Hunger initiative in 2022. Russ has worked with Ivystone for the last 12 years as a home & hospitality sales representative, working with key accounts and retail stores along with hundreds of New York City Design and Architectural firms. Prior to that, Russ had a successful career in showbiz as a singer/dancer on Broadway and ran a gift store called Flights of Fancy for 10 years on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. 

You can find the fundraiser in honor of Russ Jones on our Donate page.



For the first time since March 2020, Gift for Life convened an in-person board meeting, with a primary focus of outlining Gift for Life’s 2024 fundraising strategy.  The two-day gathering combined both hard work and good times for the 14 members in attendance.  

Long-time and new board members connected to brainstorm and identify opportunities for greater impact. Topics included partnership with industry associations, Markets, vendors, media and retailers – all of which is critical to supporting World Central Kitchen’s crisis-related hunger relief efforts and GMHC’s HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and advocacy programs.  

The board started its two days of hard work with an ice breaker identifying each member’s “super power.”


Representatives from World Central Kitchen joined the meeting via Zoom to update board members about the great work they’re doing to feed individuals around the globe, and to express gratitude to the gift and home industry and its impactful contribution to their organization. To date, Gift for Life has raised nearly $300,000 for World Central Kitchen, brining hot, nutritious meals to 96,000+ individuals impacted by crisis or conflict worldwide.



Two newcomers – Kim Mancuso-Telford of NY NOW and Kate Duff of Claxton Consulting – have joined Gift for Life’s 24-member board.

“We’re delighted that Kate and Kim have joined the GFL Board. We welcome the energy, expertise and customer-centric approach they each bring to our ranks,” said Ari Lowenstein, Gift for Life chair. “We look forward to both of these newcomers playing an active role not only in raising Gift for Life’s industry profile, but also in expanding its impact.”

Kate Duff is the founder of Claxton Consulting, a solutions partner to the Home & Gift industry, offering strategic guidance and operational expertise. Kim Mancuso-Telford is the General Manager for NY NOW, leading the team in the evolution of a premier wholesale event and marketplace.



In addition to welcoming the two newcomers, Gift for Life also bid a fond farewell to former chairman, Matthew Katzenson of Fine Lines, and Nancy Michael of the International Housewares Association, who are stepping down after decades on the board. 



Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK) uses the power of food to nourish communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond. To date, it has served 300 million meals to communities across the globe. When disaster strikes, WCK’s Chef Relief Team mobilizes to the front lines making sure there is always a warm meal, an encouraging word and a helping hand. Donations will be used to support emergency food relief efforts and resilience programs. For information, visit If you’d like to host your own fundraiser for World Central Kitchen, contact a member of the Gift for Life board.

Gift for Life was founded by Peter 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 towards a common goal. Since that time, Gift for Life has raised nearly $6 million for AIDS research, education, treatment and care through nationwide at-market events, cause marketing programs and direct donations. In 2021, Gift for Life pivoted towards online digital events with a specific emphasis on COVID-related hunger relief and has funded provision of nearly 100,000 hot, nutritious meals to communities impacted by crisis and conflict worldwide. The all-volunteer organization continues to support year-round programs that address hunger relief, as well as annual support for GMHC’s HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and advocacy programs.


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