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UPward Design for Life: Helping women in need make a home

UPward Design for Life: Helping women in need make a home

Author: Renee Cerullo/Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Event date: 9/7/2022 5:30 PM Export event

Location: Ilio DiPaolo's Restaurant

Time: 530 Checkin / 6pm Dinner

Dionne Williamson is the founder and executive director of UPward Design for Life, a nonprofit organization that believes everyone deserves a comfortable, clean, and safe place to call home.  Working with the Family Justice Center, they help people, often domestic violence survivors, taking the necessary steps to make a fresh start in their lives. UPward Design provides gently used furnishings and accessories that have been donated and/or refurbished, to turn their residence into a real home.  So not only will individuals begin a fresh start at a new life, but the furnishings will too.

Dionne says she’s often asked why she established UPward Design For Life. She says, “I am more than familiar with living paycheck to paycheck and being on a tight budget has taught me how to be really creative in my design style.  I personally know the powerful impact our surroundings can have on us both mentally and physically.” 

She is a former National Sales Director and Certified Diversity Travel Professional, at Visit Buffalo Niagara, for over 17 years, where she worked with a variety of clients from very different backgrounds and have traveled across the country to promote Buffalo as a convention and tourism destination.  After returning from U.S. Army Reserve training, Dionne earned a B.S. in Business Administration/Management from Medaille College.  She also has an Interior Design Consultant Certification from the New York Institute of Art and Design. She’s served on nonprofit boards and was a member of the U.B. School of Management-Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program.

Dinner choices:

  • Pork Loin - Madeira style with mushrooms, red rosemary potatoes, Italian green beans and applesauce 
  • Chicken Orvieto- Italian breaded chicken in a lemon wine sauce topped with asparagus & red peppers, includes red rosemary potatoes, Italian green beans 
  • Eggplant Parmigiana with penne pasta and fruit cup 
  • Choice of dessert - spumoni or vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce

All dinners include garden salad, Italian rolls and penne pasta with Ilio’s house sauce. (Note: Special dietary needs, e.g., gluten free or other vegetarian preference can be requested).


Registration is now closed.


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