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Mimi & Hill, Giving Back by Design

Mimi & Hill, Giving Back by Design


PART 2 of SERIES Local Businesses Are the Heart of Our Community

For Mimi & Hill Design firm owners, Miriam Verga and Hillary Kaplan, giving back is as essential to their business as design.

A constant in their company has been to find meaningful charitable projects -- or being open to the projects finding them. Verga and Kaplan try to take on at least one charity project every year, in addition to fundraising for breast cancer research. Since Kaplan beat breast cancer five years ago, charities like Play for Pink hold a special place in their hearts.

Often times, their projects are personal, whether they are relating to cancer research or Temple Emanu El. Part of Mimi and Hill’s charitable philosophy comes from the Jewish belief of Tzedakah. “Tzedakah is Hebrew for making the world a better place,” Kaplan said. “That’s a big part of our Jewish culture and that's why we have always believed that our firm does not just exist to design spaces but to beautify the world at large.”

Some recent projects include designing the senior housing center at Temple Emanu El and redoing the teachers' lounge at Wilson. Both women had kids go through Wilson, so that project was close to home.

Verga and Kaplan believe that the projects they are meant to do find them. And that how their journey with Grace’s house began. In November of 2018, they received an email from the Valerie Fund looking for designers to participate in a show house that would be a fundraiser for the organization. The Valerie Fund provides services for children with cancer and blood disorders, and Verga and Kaplan immediately decide they would sign-on.

The eventual show house, called Grace’s House, was located in an old mansion in Plainfield. Named in honor of Grace, a pediatric brain cancer patient who was treated by the Valerie Fund, the house was purchased by her grandfather with the intent of raising money for the organization that saved Grace’s life.

The Grace's House Designer Show House total transformed the mansion and raised over $200,000 for the Valerie Fund. Along with the outcome, Verga and Kaplan loved the process of designing the room and the lovely spirit of camaraderie among the design teams, inspired by Grace and her family.

Similar to Grace’s House, about eight years ago Mimi and Hill redesigned a teenage cancer patient’s room. One of their friend’s daughters was diagnosed with cancer, so to make her feel more comfortable in her space they redesigned the room with comfort and practicality in mind. Like most teenage girls, she asked for her new room to be blue. The goal of the room was to provide the girl with some hope and joy in her life.

Ultimately, both projects were extremely rewarding for Verga and Kaplan. They combined design with charity, which is essentially what Mimi and Hill are trying to do: change the world through design, providing peace and inspiration that can come when clients are comfortable in their spaces.

Mimi & Hill embody the giving spirit of Westfield's local businesses, rising to support those in need within our community. Local businesses spend their limited resources on good deeds like these, often without public recognition.

Local businesses are the heart of our community. During trying times like these it's important to remember to support them back. 

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1k Project - a new initiative to help our friends and neighbors through this difficult time

1k Project - a new initiative to help our friends and neighbors through this difficult time


 Dear friends:

I’m writing to let you know about an important new initiative to help our friends and neighbors who are most in need during this COVID-19 crisis. It’s a volunteer collaboration called the 1k Project. Using our personal networks, the 1k Project matches a family severely impacted by the pandemic with a family committed to giving them $1K each month for 3 consecutive months. Every single family and sponsor are verified through a trusted chain of connections tracing back to someone at the $1k Project. The organizers of this innovative new program will prioritize families that have lost all income and have little to no savings to rely on. The Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC) encourages small business owners that have had to lay off employees and are aware of families that could use a hand for the next few months until employment returns to apply.

Here’s how the program works:

  • Families apply by listing their referrer and entering basic information to help us match them with a committed sponsor via a private GoFundMe page.
  • The 1k Project team documents the “referral chain” back to the 1k Project before sharing their campaign page with a potential sponsor.
  • Once a sponsor confirms the match, they fund the family $1,000 for each of the next 3 months through the private GoFundMe campaign.

If you know of a family in need, or you are interested in becoming a 1k Project sponsor, please visit the 1k Project’s Westfield-specific website at Also, to spread the word, please forward this email to your network and ask applicants to use the above link as the referral so it can track back to the DWC. The 1k Project volunteers pledge to consider all applicants and hope to onboard as many sponsors as they can so they can find a match.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at I hope you will consider nominating a family in need or, if you are so able, to sponsor a family. We are very appreciative!


Bob Zuckerman

Executive Director


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Thank YOU for supporting local businesses

Thank YOU for supporting local businesses

Downtown Westfield businesses are the heart of our community. Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are open and they are safely delivering meals, products and services. They want to say "thank you Westfield" to our community for continuing to support them with your orders, by streaming their services and by buying gift cards for future use.

The Westfield United Fund will continue to take donations for independent Westfield businesses to help them weather the COVID-19 pandemic. You can donate here. 


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Small Business Virtual Town Hall

Small Business Virtual Town Hall

Small Business Virtual Town Hall  |  Friday, April 9, 2020
Answers & Financial Resources that Small Businesses Need Amid COVID-19. 

The Downtown Westfield Corporation sponsored a Virtual Town Hall on Thursday, April 9, 2020 to help small business owners navigate the new financial programs and requirements brought about by the COVID pandemic.  The 90-minute webinar answered participants questions and provided in-depth information about loans, grants, and programs available to small businesses. 

 See the full Small Business Virtual Town Hall here.


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Answers from the Panelists to Questions Asked at the Small Business Virtual Town Hall held Friday, April 9, 2020

Answers from the Panelists to Questions Asked at the Small Business Virtual Town Hall held Friday, April 9, 2020

Many questions were asked during the Small Business Virtual Town Hall held on Friday morning, April 9, 2020. The panelists have answered the questions and you may download the pdf below.


Click Here to Download a PDF of Answers from Panelists to Questions Asked  at the Virtual Town Hall held Friday, April 9, 2020

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