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    About the Foundation

    The mission of the Sara Little Turnbull Foundation is to further the advancement of underrepresented youth in design education and women in professional communities of design practice and leadership. The Foundation also
    promotes public awareness of design at the intersection of business, culture, and education.

    Sara Little Turnbull, a trail blazing designer and design consultant, operated at the nexus of design, culture, commerce, and education during the second half of the 20th Century. She described her practice as “applied cultural anthropology.”

    Sara Little Turnbull created a Foundation Trust as a vehicle to continue her work and to reflect her love of design education at the intersection of business and culture. The Trust was formally created in 2015 and officially launched in 2018 with a mission to serve Sara Little Turnbull’s legacy and vision.

    The vision of Sara Little Turnbull is difficult to define: innovative, anthropological, observational, inter-disciplinary, consumer focused, but without any fixed methodology. Her legacy is easier: a long list of innovative products, successful corporations and CEOs, inspired Stanford University graduates, and the dedication of her close friends and mentees who have been charged with sharing her stories and continuing her legacy.

    About Sara

    Grants and Awards

    The Sara Little Turnbull Foundation awards grants to organizations who share in our mission to further the advancement of underrepresented youth in design education and women in professional communities of
    design practice and leadership. At this time, the Foundation reviews proposals on a by-invitation-only basis.

    Lehman College

    The Sara Little Turnbull Design Initiative is a four-year project to introduce design to the Lehman College Community through a cross-curriculum, experience-based program. The initiative, backed by a $50,000 grant, promises to be mutually beneficial, as design leaders will be introduced to the diverse Lehman College community and a new generation of multi-cultural minds will be introduced to design. Lehman College is located in the north Bronx, has a student population that is two-thirds female, over 50% Hispanic, 56% first generation college students, and is #1 in upward mobility among U.S. Hispanic Serving Institutions.

    Manitoga: The Russel Wright Design Center

    This $50,000 grant recognizes Allison Cross’s leadership and supports Manitoga’s programs and initiatives, including the artist residency program, a permanent gallery of the Wright’s designs for the American home, and topical conversations among leading women in culture, business and design.

    Parsons School of Design

    The Foundation continues to support the Parsons Scholars Program with a $25,000 gift. The program is committed to bridging the gaps to college and careers by addressing challenges often faced by students from low income backgrounds, first generation college students, and students of color. Students in grades 10 through 12 have benefited from the program’s year-round, comprehensive, and sequential offerings in art and design education while forming relationships within its connected community, a bond that lasts well beyond high school graduation.

    Design Thinking Initiative: Smith College

    The Foundation gifted a $200,000 grant to the Design Thinking Initiative at Smith College. This program sees design in service of broader social issues of participation, intervention, and leadership. Students from multi disciplines question gender, race, ethnicity, power, and ability as dynamics that shape who gets to participate in creating the world in which we live. The mission of the Design Thinking Initiative is to develop agency in individuals and communities and to facilitate ongoing dialogue about the role design plays in shaping human experience. Through courses, studio resources, and events, students, faculty, and staff critically engage with real-world challenges. Learn more about this program.

    University of Washington College of Arts & Sciences

    Sara Little Turnbull Foundation awards $200,000 to benefit University of Washington Design Students.

    The New School’s Parsons School of Design

    The New School’s Parsons School of Design announces $200,000 gift from the Sara Little Turnbull Foundation.




    Fritz Hoffmann/Redux

    For more information about the Sara Little Turnbull Foundation, contact us:


    Phone: 914 482 1337