Abboud to Give $250K for CFDA Scholarships

Joseph Abboud has committed to giving $250,000 to the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Scholarship Program over the next five years.

NEW YORK — Joseph Abboud has committed to giving $250,000 to the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Scholarship Program over the next five years.

“This was a personal contribution, not a corporate contribution,” Abboud said Friday. “It’s a personal commitment I have to all creative individuals in our industry.”

Since its 1996 inception, the program has given out 101 scholarship awards worth $330,000 to students in their junior year in a college-level fashion design program. Stan Herman, CFDA’s president, said in a statement that Abboud’s support will allow the CFDA to grant three awards of $10,000 and seven awards of $3,000 each for the next five years.

“I know how hard it is for new designers, how difficult it is to start companies and how difficult it is to start a new collection,” said Abboud, who is also on the CFDA board. “These new students need the money to get a great education to help create the next generation of CFDA designers.”

The initiative includes a Scholarship Committee, chaired by Monika Tilley, along with members Abboud, Herman, Scott French, Michael Leva, Charles Nolan, Christopher Serluco, Patricia Underwood, Koos van den Akker and Gabriella Zanzani. They will partake in the council’s “Visiting Designers” program and will support students by reviewing their portfolios and sharing their experience. As part of his commitment, Abboud will also help the CFDA raise additional money for the scholarships.

Abboud has been said to be lobbying for CFDA’s presidency, which will be available in October 2006 when Herman is scheduled to step down. Diane von Furstenberg also is said to be interested in the position.

When asked about it, Abboud said: “The job of president of the CFDA is not an easy one. I do think we have a very strong board of directors, and any one of our members could be president if they were willing to commit the time, energy and passion.”

He said he will know more about his own ambitions closer to the time.

“I think so much can happen in the next year and a half,” Abboud said. “If I have the time to do it, it would be something perhaps I would be interested in, but I do want to make sure [as] we get closer to it.”

This story first appeared in the August 15, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.