Gift for Life, a charitable organization that unites the gift and home industry, is now under new leadership, following the election of new officers. As part of the regular transition, Cole Daugherty takes over as chair of the board, replacing Matthew Katzenson who served in that role since 2017, and Ari Lowenstein is the newly elected vice chair.
“Food insecurity will be our special emphasis for the year ahead, and we are prepared to expand our reach and fundraise in innovative ways.” – Cole Daugherty, GFL chair
Cole Daugherty is a veteran member of the gift and home industry and long-standing member of the Gift for Life board, serving as co-chair for its marketing & communications committee since 2006 and as its vice chair since 2020. Daugherty joined Dallas Market Center in 2002, and currently serves as senior vice president of marketing communications.
“I look forward to working hand-in-hand with the Gift for Life board of directors in order to leverage our industries’ best qualities to raise funds for those among us with the least,” Daugherty said. “Food insecurity will be our special emphasis for the year ahead, and we are prepared to expand our reach and fundraise in innovative ways. Thank you also to Matt Katzenson for his service as chair and his leadership through challenging times.”
Ari Lowenstein has been involved in the gift industry internationally since 1997, owning an Italian gift company, acting as an Intergalactic Business Development Manager, co-owning Canopy, advising dozens of clients through Emergent Workshop and serving on the board of Gift for Life and as a past president of the Gift Sales Managers Association. Currently, as chief strategy officer for Brandwise, Inc., he guides a new era of growth for the Brandwise Ecosystem. Lowenstein joined the Gift for Life board in 2017.
“I am honored to have been chosen to serve as vice chair by my colleagues,” Lowenstein said. “Each of them is a leader in their organizations and represents that which is truly special about our industry. The history of Gift for Life over the past 29 years is remarkable. I welcome the opportunity to work with Cole and the other board members to carry on this tradition and find new ways to help others.”
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 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.
With COVID-19 causing cancelation of in-person events at industry markets, Gift for Life will pivot towards online micro-fundraising events for the balance of 2021. Adam Glassman, creative director of O, The Oprah Magazine, will serve as its honorary chair and spokesperson through 2021, supporting Gift for Life fundraising for the grantmaking efforts of DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, as well as other ad hoc needs identified by the Gift for Life board.
Gift for Life’s 2021 board of directors are: Jessica Barile of Paddywax; Sheila Charton of Springboard Futures; Cole Daugherty of Dallas Market Center; Tim Hart of Emerald Expositions/NY NOW; Frank Joens; Russ Jones of Ivystone; Matthew Katzenson of Fine Lines; Monica Loving of Ivystone; Ari Lowenstein of Brandwise, Inc.; Julie McCallum of Gift Shop Plus magazine; Nancy Michael of International Housewares Association; Terence Morris of International Market Centers; Teddy Pekalski of IMC_di; Peter Schauben of Appelman Schauben; Doug Self of JDouglas; Cathy Steel of Steel Associates; Kim Wahlberg of Kimberly Wahlberg Company; and Lenise Willis of Gifts & Decorative Accessories.