Nikki Levy listened to her sister-in-law's trembling voice on the other end of the phone in Israel as they spoke about her family's future there as war broke out. It was then that Levy (founder of Studio NLI) decided to combat the injustices happening and the darkness that threatened the future of all people living in Israel and Palestine by gathering a team of industry leaders to found Design Industry for Peace—an organization united in a collective and unwavering condemnation of terrorism.
“We need to be a voice for good, we need to raise funds and awareness, and we need to do it now,” she said. “We don’t have time to mess about, we don’t have time to think things through. We don’t have anything like this in the design industry that is a group of people who focus on what’s going on outside of our jobs—nothing that is humanitarian crisis-driven.”
With a Design Industry for Peace group on Instagram and a text message group chatting, they developed the ethics behind the initiative to support any innocent party.
“It might be Israel today. In a month’s time, there might be an earthquake somewhere [or] a famine somewhere,” Levy said. “We want a group of people who are ready and banded together who take action. We use what we have in the industry to move forward and make an impact.”
Since its inception Oct. 11, Levy said the group has developed a mission statement, logo, and code of ethics as well as launched the Design Industry for Peace website and organized an auction that opened Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. and closed Nov. 17 at 9 p.m. You can view just a few of the more than 200 items auctioned off in the sidebar. The auction raised over $150,000 with all proceeds benefiting Friends of United Hatzalah, a first-responder charity in Israel. The website also features a list of charities the public can donate to that serve the people affected by the conflict.
Levy cited historical conflicts and a lack of crisis-driven organizations within the design community as her motivations to start Design Industry for Peace.
“We know what happened in 1939. We know people did not use their voices and we know that for four years every day, 10,000 Jews were gassed in gas chambers,” Levy said. “We cannot let that happen again.”
Her passion was supported by an outreach of industry leaders joining as a member or donating to the cause. Three weeks since inception they gathered $400,000 in donations for various charities and $800,000 toward the auction. They have bolstered nearly 2,000 active members on Instagram.
As acts of terrorism plague the world, Levy and others in the design industry are being the light in a wave of darkness and showing human-centered compassion to all people in Israel and beyond whose lives are forever changed.