City of Hope’s International Home Furnishings Industry group tops $1.94 million for City of Hope Spirit of Life®

Industry leaders at Flexsteel and KUKA Home honored at annual celebration


City of Hope 
Bridget Livengood 
[email protected] 

Erin Berg 
[email protected]  

GREENSBORO, N.C. — City of Hope’s International Home Furnishings Industry fundraising group and this year’s Spirit of Life® honorees from Flexsteel Industries and KUKA Home raised more than $1.94 million for City of Hope®, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the U.S. and a leading research center for diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses.


More than 850 industry professionals gathered at the annual Spirit of Life gala held Sunday, April 14, at the Four Seasons Sheraton, to recognize industry powerhouses Jerry Dittmer and Tim Newlin of Flexsteel and Matt Harrison of KUKA. With their philanthropic leadership and the generosity of the home furnishings industry, this year’s campaign brought in lifesaving funds to accelerate cancer research. A portion of these funds will specifically support the childhood cancer efforts at City of Hope.


Caitlin Herron, a 20-year-old pediatric cancer survivor, also addressed attendees of the gala. Diagnosed at age 12 with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia, Herron sought treatment from City of Hope, which has deep expertise with this type of cancer. Herron has been cancer free for five years and she shares her story to put a face to the disease and the lifesaving results of City of Hope’s world-class research, treatment and care.


“For six decades, the International Home Furnishings Industry has accelerated some of City of Hope’s most important innovations and breakthroughs in treating cancer and diabetes,” said Kristin Bertell, chief philanthropy officer for City of Hope. “Tonight, the group has supported our world-class pediatrics program — a program that not only saves lives but provides personalized, lifelong care so that pediatric cancer survivors can thrive. We’re incredibly grateful for IHFI’s legacy of support.”


During the event, Saro Armenian, D.O., M.P.H., Barron Hilton Chair in Pediatrics at City of Hope Children’s Cancer Center, described how his team’s work is transforming cancer care for children and young adults far beyond City of Hope’s metaphorical four walls.


“Philanthropy has a profound impact on patients around the globe,” Armenian said. “It’s not just City of Hope patients who benefit from new treatments and cures — it’s all people who face cancer and diabetes.”


The Spirit of Life committee and City of Hope recognizes and thanks the 2024 Spirit of Life top sponsors:


Presenting Sponsors $100,000

  • Flexsteel
  • KUKA Home
  • Rooms To Go

Honoree Circle Sponsors $50,000

  • LS Direct
  • Samson Marketing
  • Surya

Diamond Sponsors $25,000  

  • Baer’s Furniture
  • Berkshire Hathaway Group (Nebraska Furniture Mart, Jordan’s Furniture, RC Willey and Star Furniture)
  • CITY Furniture
  • Classic Home
  • Darvin Furniture
  • Haverty’s Furniture
  • Hooker Furnishings
  • J.B. Hunt Final Mile
  • La-Z-Boy
  • Liberty Furniture
  • ManWah
  • Mattress Firm
  • Raymour & Flanigan
  • Tempur Sealy

To learn more about the industry’s next flagship fundraising event, the West Coast Golf & Tennis Tournament, and to register online, click here or send an email to [email protected].


About City of Hope

City of Hope's mission is to make hope a reality for all touched by cancer and diabetes. Founded in 1913, City of Hope has grown into one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the U.S. and one of the leading research centers for diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses. City of Hope research has been the basis for numerous breakthrough cancer medicines, as well as human synthetic insulin and monoclonal antibodies. With an independent, National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center at its core, City of Hope brings a uniquely integrated model to patients spanning cancer care, research and development, academics and training, and innovation initiatives. City of Hope’s growing national system includes its Los Angeles campus, a network of clinical care locations across Southern California, a new cancer center in Orange County, California, and cancer treatment centers and outpatient facilities in the Atlanta, Chicago and Phoenix areas. City of Hope’s affiliated group of organizations includes Translational Genomics Research Institute and AccessHopeTM. For more information about City of Hope, follow us on Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.


About International Home Furnishings Industry

Inspired by the guiding humanitarian principles of City of Hope, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the U.S. and a leading research center for diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses, and motivated by the institution's commitment to innovative medical research and compassionate patient care, a group of key industry executives founded City of Hope’s International Home Furnishings Industry (IHFI) group in 1965.  


In its 50-plus-year history, the group has raised over $100 million for City of Hope and has honored some of the most influential figures in the home furnishings industry. With a tradition of uniting professionals from around the world, IHFI represents a community of executives, professionals and colleagues in every segment of the home furnishings category, including retailers, manufacturers, sales representatives, suppliers and associated service providers.  


The Spirit of Life Award is City of Hope’s most prestigious honor and is presented to an esteemed community of industry leaders around the world who have made a significant commitment to improving the lives of others through the advancement of research and clinical innovation and the delivery of personalized, compassionate care.    


Past honorees include Martin Ploy of AICO, Andrew Koenig of CITY Furniture, Rick Anderson, Larry Klaben of Morris Furniture Co. Inc., Michael Amini, and Todd and Ron Wanek of Ashley Furniture, to name a few.