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July 22, 2014

Apply for The Lighthouse Design Impact Award


The Lighthouse–a Mackintosh-designed building housing Scotland’s Center for Design and Architecture–has opened up submissions to the second bi-annual Design Impact Award. Launched in 2012, the award aims to recognize the impacts that completed projects have had on the way we live and work. With support from Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council, award winners will receive a prize of £5,000 along with a feature place in a public exhibition with shortlisted entries. Applications are due Friday, September 5th, 2014.

The Lighthouse is a visitor centre, exhibition space and events venue situated in the heart of Glasgow, just off the Style Mile. The Lighthouse acts as a beacon for the creative industries in Scotland and promotes design and architecture through a vibrant programme of exhibitions and events.

Click here to learn more and apply for The Lighthouse Design Impact Award, online at


July 22, 2014

Graham Foundation 2015 Grant Applications Open


Applications are now being accepted for the Graham Foundation’s annual Grants to Individuals program. Since 1956, the foundation has provided direct funding to individuals to produce publications, exhibitions, films, research, and other projects that “foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society.” Last year, the foundation awarded over $520,000 to 68 individual projects. For individuals interested in applying for the 2015 grant cycle, the foundation has four main criteria: Originality, Potential for impact, Feasibility, and Capacity. Applicants must submit an online Inquiry Form–the first stage of a two-stage process–by September 15, 2014.

Architecture and related spatial practices engage a wide range of cultural, social, political, technological, environmental, and aesthetic issues. We are interested in projects that investigate the contemporary condition, expand historical perspectives, or explore the future of architecture and the designed environment. We support innovative, thought-provoking investigations in architecture; architectural history, theory, and criticism; design; engineering; landscape architecture; urban planning; urban studies; visual arts; and related fields of inquiry.

Click here to learn more about the 2015 Graham Foundation Grants to Individuals program, online at

Image source: The Last Bridge Master (2014 Grantee)

July 22, 2014 Announces 5 Funded ‘Amplify’ Ideas


The Amplify Challenge on Women’s Safety announced five project teams who will receive seed funding and design support from The program was conceived in collaboration with OpenIDEO and UK Department for International Development with the goal to bring a more human-centered approach to aid for people living in extreme poverty. Over the next 12 to 18 months, will work with the individuals and organizations from the five funded projects directly to support their efforts to launch, iterate on and refine their pilots.

A Pop-Up Learning Center in Mumbai’s Red-Light District
Creating a safe space in Mumbai’s red-light district – one of the city’s most marginalized communities – where girls learn life skills and become agents of social change.

Life Skills Camp for Girls During School Holiday Breaks
A series of structured life-skills camps held during school holiday breaks in Uganda that help girls avoid exploitation, build self-confidence, and explore their dreams for the future.

Engaging Men in Urban Slums in the Fight Against Gender-Based Violence
A peer-to-peer education campaign to encourage men and boys in Kenya about preventing gender-based violence. The curriculum will be delivered through soccer clubs and other existing community initiatives.

“Community Concierge” Program
Working together with an organization in Nepal, this project seeks to identify and train female leaders, who in turn provide information and guidance to other women in their community.

Kidogo: Child Care Franchises in Urban Slums
A ‘business-in-a-box’ that helps women in Kenya launch their own in-home childcare business – providing a safe space for children in the community and steady employment for young mothers.

Click here to read more about all five Amplify funded ideas, online at

July 21, 2014

Help Kickstart Beacon Alley Skateboards by Friday

Following up on our post from a few weeks ago, MakeLab–a collaboration between Future PartnersHERObike, and The Design Department at the University of Kansas–are crowdfunding to launch Beacon Alley Skateboards, the second product to accompany the Semester bicycle. With five days remaining in the Kickstarter campaign, this new venture is on a mission to build bamboo composite skateboards in Alabama’s Black Belt yet still needs $7,000 to meet their goal. Your support will not only go towards building beautiful herringbone woven skateboards but will also provide job training for people in rural Hale County.

MakeLab is a collaborative design group developing social enterprises to benefit regions in need of jobs and job training. Leveraging design experience in developing advanced bamboo composites from the bicycle project and several months of R&D at the renown Bamboo Studio in Mumbai, Professor Lance Rake has developed a bamboo composite skateboard design that uses the strength and vertical compliance of bamboo, strengthened and stiffened in key areas with fiberglass and carbon fiber to make a deck that is fun, responsive, and a joy to look at.

Click here to read more and support Beacon Alley Skateboards, online at

July 18, 2014

Support “Within Formal Cities” on IndieGoGo

Recent North Carolina State University architecture graduates Abe Drechsler and Brian Gaudio are taking a journey around South America to share stories and document designs in the research project “Within Formal Cities.” Supported in part by the Duda Traveling Fellowship, the team is crowdfunding on IndieGoGo to raise an additional $7,000 to help produce a short documentary series and online publication of their research into informal South American communities. With over 30% raised thus far and 28 days remaining in the campaign, Abe and Brian’s cheeky awards are sure to go fast for this much-needed and highly relevant project.

Our goal is to share stories and designs from informal communities in 5 cities in South America: Bogota, Colombia; Lima, Peru; Santiago, Chile; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Sao Paulo, Brazil. We will document everything from self-built houses in the favelas of Rio, to government projects designed by world famous architects. Along with drawing and photographing the buildings, we will interview designers, professors, and community organizers to bring to light the creativity in which South American cities are dealing with the global housing crises. We will also create a short documentary series and online publication and present our work through a physical exhibit and lecture to bring awareness to these issues. Through this work we can challenge the next generation of architects and designers to do more, to bring good design to those who need it!

Click here to support the project on, or click here to learn more about the project on

July 18, 2014

Watch MASS on “Building Better Builders”

MASS Design Group recently released the fifth video in the Beyond the Building series on “Building Better Builders.” The short video showcases the construction of the GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Center in Haiti that pairs MASSers from Boston and Port au Prince with local metalworkers and builders to leverage local techniques as well as provide on-site training. The collaborative process has opened up communications and learning that can be taken into future projects, as MASS Director David Saladik said, “It’s empowering people to ask those questions, and to be able to take those lessons and that ability and desire to learn more to the next job.”

Click here to watch “Building Better Builders,” online at

July 17, 2014 Dignifies Through Individuality

The folks at always manage to discover, curate, and share remarkably uplifting and insightful videos on a variety of subjects, from gender to politics to economics to race. A recent post on the HomelessFonts project created by the Arrels Foundation made us stop in our tracks. The stunning video tells the stories of each contributor–Loraine, Luis, Francisco, Gemma, and Guillermo–to the font project, a collection of handwritten typefaces that not only support homeless people in Barcelona but also recognize the uniqueness and creativity of these individuals living on the street. This is one of the most dignifying projects we’ve seen in a long time.

HomelessFonts is an Arrels Foundation initiative which consists of creating a collection of typefaces based on the handwriting of the homeless. The idea behind these typefaces is for people and brands to use them in their annoucements. All profits are intended to help the 1,400 people supported by the Arrels Foundation.

Click here to learn more about the HomelessFonts project, online at

July 17, 2014

Fletcher Foundation Reinvents Annual Report


In collaboration with creative agency BC/DC Ideas, North Carolina-based A.J. Fletcher Foundation has introduced a fresh approach to nonprofit storytelling with an entirely digital and interactive 2013 Annual Report. Following the format used by technology-focused organizations like MailChimp, Kickstarter, and Code for America, the foundation has transformed a traditional brochure into an innovative tool to spark a wider conversation with readers, residents of the community, and nonprofit supporters worldwide. With this new mode of digital storytelling, AJF and BC/DC Ideas hope to inspire other nonprofits to challenge how they communicate their impact.

A.J. Fletcher Foundation supports organizations that are working to improve the lives and well-being of North Carolinians. Through decades of grant making, convening, and capacity building we have learned that tackling big issues takes the concerted effort of many. As we work to overcome some of our state’s most pressing challenges, there is a lot we can learn from one another. Fletcher Foundation is committed to doing its part and we look forward to hearing from you about the many ways you are working to improve your communities.

Click here to see the digital AJF 2013 Annual Report, online at

July 16, 2014

15 Concepts Make’s Amplify Shortlist

bicyclesforgirls recently announced a shortlist of 15 concepts for the first-ever Amplify challenge on women’s safety. With over 4,000 participants from 42 countries contributing to 580 submissions, the 15 finalists represent a wide “geographic and programmatic range,” such as MamaCarts that empower women through street food, a Life Skills Camp for girls during holiday breaks, and Bicycles for Girls in Bangladesh. Over the next month, the Amplify team and a panel of experts will select a subset from the shortlist to receive seed funding and design support from to help progress the ideas towards implementation and impact.

We’ve seen an inspiring level of global collaboration between NGOs, students, social entrepreneurs, designers and more. We welcomed a fresh wave of new members from implementing organisations worldwide and we witnessed a wonderful coming together of individuals and organisations who usually don’t have a space to collaborate on international development issues… We’re honoured to announce our Shortlisted Ideas – a portfolio of 15 top concepts that are geographically diverse, address the challenge brief through different approaches and demonstrate a high potential to impact the lives of women and girls living in low-income urban areas.

Click here to learn about all 15 Amplify Shortlist Concepts, online at

July 16, 2014

e-NABLE Gives the World a “Helping Hand”


“What originally started out as a couple of guys who created something to help one child in need, has grown into a worldwide movement of over 300 volunteer tinkerers, engineers, 3D print enthusiasts, occupational therapists, university professors, designers, parents, families, artists, students, teachers and people who just want to make a difference.”

This is the story behind e-NABLE, a volunteer-led collaboration that develops, fabricates, and distributes low-cost 3D printed prosthetics to people with upper limb differences. The Autodesk Foundation is supporting this 3d mechanical hand maker movement with donated copies of the Inventor software through the Tech Impact program to help e-NABLE develop, test, and distribute a new generation of prosthetics. Jon Shull, founder of e-NABLE, shared this about the collaboration with Autodesk.

“These days, the road from good intentions to effective action is paved with tools for design and collaboration.  By making it easy and fun for volunteers to provide enabling technologies to underserved populations, e-NABLE and Autodesk can make a real difference.”

Click here to learn more about e-NABLE on, or click here to learn more about Autodesk Foundation’s Tech Impact Program on

Image source: Jen Owens of Jen Martin Studio

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