Fashion FUNdamentals wins $25,000 award from State Farm

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Fashion FUNdamentals, a CSU program for girls that builds self-esteem and knowledge about STEM fields by having them create their own fashions, has won $25,000 as part of a crowd-sourced philanthropic campaign from State Farm.

Fashion FUNdamentals, developed by faculty in the Department of Design and Merchandising, is a two-week, no-cost, summer enrichment program that targets underserved girls between the ages of 11 and 14 in northern Colorado. Fashion FUNdamentals offers both technical programming — to address real-world problems in the global fashion industry and cultivate interest in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines — and social programming, to address topics of concern among adolescent girls and build self-worth.

“Fashion FUNdamentals is unique in that it engages girls in hands-on learning and allows them to express their creativity through fashion design, while building aptitude in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines and fostering self-esteem,” said Professor Karen Hyllegard.

Neighborhood Assist

State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods and vote online for their favorite cause. The nonprofits affiliated with the top 40 vote-getting causes each received a $25,000 grant to create and execute their plan to address the cause.

“Funding from the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Program will allow us to offer Fashion FUNdamentals to 30 to 35 girls in northern Colorado in summer 2017,” Professor Jennifer Ogle said. “These funds will be used to enrich the quality of the Fashion FUNdamentals curriculum through the refinement and addition of new technical and social programming units.”

“For example, we will be adding a new technical programming unit exploring merchandise assortment planning to strengthen girls’ aptitude in number operations, functions and algebraic structures,” she added. “With respect to social programming, we plan to expand the nutrition and wellness and creative movement/dance units.”

The competition

The top 40 causes in State Farm Neighborhood Assist represented 25 states from around the country. About 1.8 million votes were cast by 72,000 people in an effort to bring a $25,000 grant to their neighborhoods.

“State Farm is here to help life go right in neighborhoods all across the country,” said Kellie Clapper, assistant vice president for human resources at State Farm. “We look forward to seeing the changes in these 40 communities because of these Neighborhood Assist grants.”

Of the 2,000 cause submissions that were received through State Farm Neighborhood Assist, at least one cause was received from every state in the U.S. The State Farm Youth Advisory Board, a diverse group of 30 students who are passionate about social responsibility, reviewed the cause submissions and selected the 200 finalists to be voted on. In the five years of the program, 200 causes have received a total of $5 million to enact change in their communities.

For a complete list of the top 40 causes, visit

The Department of Design and Merchandising is in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.