It’s the season of giving and giving back, but at 210 Design House, we believe that charitable work should be a year-round endeavor. Part of the 210 mission has always been to foster our local creative and business communities within our showroom and to support our greater Chicago community through charitable causes and outreach. 210 founder and CEO, Rama Dandamudi, has always been a firm believer in doing the work that leads to a healthier and more productive society.
“There is so much work that needs to be done in our communities, and without not-for-profits, it simply doesn’t happen,” Dandamudi says. “As a private citizen and a business owner, I can be part of the solution, or I can stand by and do nothing. There’s no alternative, and I’ve always chosen to act.”
For over a decade, Dandamudi’s commitment to charitable endeavors has revolved around two organizations. Specifically, as the Chairman of the Board of Saturday Place, he has played an instrumental role in supporting this two-year academic enhancement program. Saturday Place focuses on aiding third and fourth-grade students from Chicago public schools who are lagging at least a year behind grade level in their academic performance. Created in 2010 by former Chicago Bears wide receiver Rashied Davis and his wife Dianna Davis, Saturday Place’s mission is to enable students — most of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds — to reach their full academic and personal potential. Dandamudi is also a Board Member of SOS Children’s Village Illinois, which recently awarded him the 2023 “It Takes a Village” Impact Award.
Rama Dandamudi, 210 Design House Rashied Davis, Chicago Bears, Jim Cornelison, Chicago Black Hawks at the annual Related Midwest/Snaidero Chicago Golf Outing
“Again and again we find that if you support kids, they go on to achieve amazing things. It’s not the kids that are failing; it’s the adults that are failing the kids,” Dandamudi says. “Take kids out of a bad environment, and they thrive. Our students have a 100 percent graduation rate, and it’s primarily because they’ve built up their confidence through the program.”
Don Biernacki, Related Midwest, Ted Weldon, Rama Dandamudi, 210 Design House, Delphine Rankin, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois at the inaugural ‘It Takes a Village’ Impact Awards ceremony
Similarly focused on disadvantaged youth, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois offers an innovative approach to traditional foster care, giving children the opportunity to live in a nurturing, single-family home with their brothers and sisters in the care of a full-time, professionally trained foster parent. Chicago has two dedicated Children’s Villages, and 210 donated kitchens to make the houses within feel like homes for the hundreds of children living there.
At 210, community building also starts a little closer to home, as our working showroom doubles as an event space. “We don’t ever rent out the space for profit, but we love using it for charitable events and collaborations,” Dandamudi says. “It’s important to have a space where people can come together to talk and build relationships. The more we do that, the more problems we can solve.”
From political events and fundraisers to chef-centered events sponsoring charities, 210 is more than a luxury design destination. It’s a community hub dedicated to making Chicago a better place and helping Chicagoans feel more connected. “We’re not an entity standing by itself,” Dandamudi says. “We’re part of the larger fabric of the city, and we want to be central to the conversations about how to enrich the lives of everyone around us.”