Sappi North America Awards 2023 Ideas that Matter Grants

Celebrating 23 years of giving, program supports seven social impact projects

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sappi North America, Inc., a leading producer and supplier of diversified paper, packaging products and pulp, today announced its 2023 Ideas that Matter grant recipients, whose winning proposals celebrate the power of print design to address social issues.

This year, recipients’ projects addressed a range of issues, including restorative justice, diversity and inclusion, intergenerational engagement, education, urban segregation and community building. Since 2021, entrants have been asked to align their submissions with at least one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ensuring that grant applications are focused on critical and timely global societal concerns.

“For 23 years, Sappi has been honored to work with designers and nonprofits through Ideas that Matter,” said Patti Groh, Director of Marketing Communications, Sappi North America. “Our mission is to harness the power of trees and woodfiber to help build a thriving and sustainable world. We are committed to supporting people and organizations who drive social change and who are aligned with the United Nations’ SDGs, which are integral to our own business and sustainable practices.”

Ideas that Matter is a one-of-a-kind grant program in the paper and packaging industry and is a vital part of Sappi’s corporate social responsibility efforts. Since 1999, the program has provided over $14 million to support more than 500 projects that change lives, communities, the environment and, ultimately, the world.

The 2023 Ideas that Matter grant recipients are:

Designer or Firm



Project Title


Christine Lhowe from

Seton Hall University

(Hawthorne, N.J.)


Grant awarded: $34,000

Presbyterian Senior Services

‘With Me: Games That Spark Connection’

‘With Me: Games That Spark Connection’ is a set of three games that use design as a tool of inclusion to help generations connect with one another. ‘Talk With Me, Recall With Me’ and ‘Create With Me’ will each promote interaction and meaningful dialogue, as well as encourage individuals in different stages of the human experience to slow down, spend time together and get to know one another. Through the exchange of wisdom and experiences, ‘With Me’ will bridge the gap between generations while exposing our shared humanity and better integrating older adults into the fabric of society.

Janell Nelson from

JNJ Creative, LLC

(Chicago, Ill.)


Grant awarded: $40,900

Folded Map Project

‘Disrupting Segregation by Teaching Folded Map’

What began as a photo project by Chicago-based social justice artist Tonika Johnson, the Folded Map™ project aims to encourage reflection about what urban segregation looks like and how it impacts Chicago residents. Sparked by inquiries from teachers, graphic design artist Janell Nelson and sociology professor Dr. Maria Krysan collaborated to realize creatively engaging assets for educators. Now, a Student and Teacher Guide, posters, and companion website will support robust academic explorations encouraging us all to think about communities, race, and inequality.

Laurel Webster and James Hersick from

Hersick + Webster Creative Partners

(Martinsburg, W.Va.)


Grant awarded: $27,128

Page Jackson Alumni Association Inc.

Page Jackson High School Tribute Exhibit Book: ‘Black Education in Jefferson County, West Virginia’

Page Jackson High School (PJHS) plays a significant role in Black history within Jefferson County. The PJHS Tribute Exhibit is a room originally dedicated in 1986 by the NAACP that honors the accomplishments and activities of the staff, teachers, and students of PJHS. With the renovation of the Tribute Exhibit, companion materials and the exhibit book—based on “A History of Black Education in Jefferson County, West Virginia: 1865-1966,” compiled by James L. Taylor (PJHS alumnus and WVU Hall of Fame, deceased 2021) and produced in 2003, will prompt viewers to engage with the history and think about their role in reducing inequalities, offering access to quality education and ending prejudice and discrimination.

Mark Todd, Indi Ho, Naomi Nakamura and Charnée de Souza from

Designmatters at ArtCenter College of Design

(Pasadena, Calif.)


Grant awarded: $15,270

Proud Stutter

‘Out Loud: Promoting Acceptance of Verbal Diversity’

People who stutter often feel marginalized and stigmatized because of harmful stereotypes that exist in popular culture. Through a series of outreach and education materials including posters, social media posts, animated videos, printed comic books and in-person readings at Stuttering Community Gatherings and Spoken Word Nights, this project will help promote acceptance of people who stutter in order to create safe spaces for them in as many corners of society as possible.

Regina Chen, Alejandra Cervantes, DaMario Walker-Brown, Victoria Chaney, John Maher and Annie Kountz from

MASS Design Group

(Boston, Mass.)


Grant awarded: $44,000

MASS Design Group | Restorative Justice Design Lab

‘Restoring Promise Toolkit’

‘The Restoring Promise Toolkit’ is a call for healing and imagination. The toolkit offers a design process for those who are incarcerated through cards, posters, and prompts. Those who are experts in their space can imagine places of restoration, reconciliation, respect, accountability, and investment. By designing for decarceration, this project invests in restorative justice and champions human dignity, so that those entangled in the system can invest in their fullest potential and support their return home.

Sarah Ho and J. R. Uretsky from

Design Museum Everywhere

(Boston, Mass.)


Grant awarded: $43,850

Design Museum Everywhere

‘Inclusive Design: A Publication and Design-Thinking Activation’

With this project, Design Museum Everywhere aims to bring awareness to the diversity of human experience and the importance of inclusive design as a practice for non-designers and designers. Aligning with a publication focused on inclusive design, the Design Museum will create a ‘Design Together’ activity—a hands-on, design-focused learning activity for kids and families—that will be included within the publication, available online and distributed through community partnerships in Boston, Mass. and Portland, Ore. Design Museum will also engage teens through an applied design challenge focused on inclusive design.

Willy Wong

(Waldoboro, Maine)


Grant awarded: $44,850

Maine Preservation

‘Expanding Jane’s Walk ME’

‘Jane’s Walk ME’ is a celebration of community and history throughout Maine. Organized by Maine Preservation and local partners, the event brings people together to walk, observe, listen, share, question, reflect, imagine, and connect over Maine’s past, present, and future. Expanding the Walk in 2024 and beyond will include creating a core festival identity and platform, designing a new organizer outreach campaign, a walk leader training toolkit, as well as a marketing and promotional efforts to support the festival.

The Ideas that Matter grant program relies on the expertise of leaders in print design, packaging design, design education and social impact to review and select grant recipients each year. Judges consider creativity, implementation, intended impact and overall design effectiveness in their online and in-person reviews and grant allocations.

This year’s jury team was composed of Brandi Parker, founder and brand-level sustainability consultant of Parker Brands; Liz Rose Chmela, founder and creative director, Made By We; Eric Benson, co-founder of Re-nourish and associate professor of graphic design and design for responsible innovation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Jennifer Rittner, founder of content matters and assistant professor of strategic design and management at Parsons School of Design.

About Sappi North America, Inc.

Sappi North America, Inc., headquartered in Boston, is a market leader in converting wood fiber into superior products that customers demand worldwide. Our four diversified businesses – high-quality Graphic Papers, Dissolving Pulp, Packaging, and Specialty Papers deliver premium products and services with consistent quality and reliability. Our high-quality Coated Printing Papers are used for premium magazines, catalogs, books, direct mail and high-end print advertising. We are a leading manufacturer of Dissolving Pulp, which is used in a wide range of products, including textile fibers and household goods. We deliver sustainable Packaging and Specialty Papers for luxury packaging and folding carton applications with our single-ply packaging brands and for the food and label industries with our specialty papers. We are one of the world’s leading suppliers of Casting and Release Papers with lines for the automotive, fashion and engineered films industries.

Sappi North America is a subsidiary of Sappi Limited (JSE), a global company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with more than 12,000 employees and manufacturing operations on three continents in seven countries and customers in over 150 countries.


Patti Groh

Director of Communications

Sappi North America

Tel +1 617 423 5425

Texana Blacknall

Account Executive

Matter Communications

Tel +1 832 607 5103

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