Design for Good resources
Looking for additional ways to design for good? This list of organizations and programs is a great place to start. There are many more opportunities out there—so if you know of a resource we should add here, !
Looking for an organization that pairs designers with nonprofits or provides guidelines on running a nonprofit project in your area? See our act and advocate list.
Are you a student or professional seeking ideas for internships, mentorships, professional development opportunities or graduate programs in the social impact realm? Check out our learn and grow list.
Do you have a socially impactful design project that would benefit from a grant? Or perhaps another form of support could help you turn your great idea into reality? Review our fund and support list.
Act and advocate
!mpact sessions are free 30-minute webinars that explore how design-driven ideas for social good are launched. Presented by Impact! Design for Social Change, the School of Visual Arts and Design Ignites Change.
Advertisers Without Borders is a national community of advertising and communication professionals who have a true passion for social causes.
All for Good makes it simple to find ways to do good by helping people connect with service activities in their communities. The site brings together service opportunities from local and national organizations to help you find volunteer activities that fit your time and interests.
Catchafire is an online pro bono talent network that matches professionals who want to give their skills with purpose-driven nonprofits and social enterprises that need their help to build capacity. Matches are made based on a variety of characteristics including skills, cause interests, and time availability.
cause/affect is a biennial, international design competition that celebrates the work of designers and organizations who set out to positively impact our society. Presented by AIGA San Francisco, all work entered in the competition must promote and/or support social good and actively engage in enriching our lives.
ClockWork is an annual program run by AIGA Blue Ridge that recruits and pairs local designers, printers, copywriters, and others with local nonproﬁts throughout the Frederick, D.C.; Baltimore; and Richmond, VA areas to create communications products that can help them raise awareness and funds for their cause. Participating nonprofits must first submit a creative brief and are vetted for need by the Blue Ridge chapter board.
CreateAthon is a national organization that provides guidelines for marketing, advertising and public relations firms to participate and run their own 24-hour, work-around-the-clock creative blitz, during which nonprofit marketing services are provided on a pro bono basis.
creative go-round, a non-profit design group based in Chicago, works with students to design and implement branding strategies for nonprofits. Specifically the team walks nonprofits through all stages of the branding process, including brainstorming, research, implementation, and execution.
Design Assign: Creativity for Causes is an annual collaborative partnership that gives back to the greater Des Moines area community through design. Alongside AIGA Iowa, area creatives use their talents to provide local non-profit organizations with communications products that help raise awareness and funds for their causes.
Design for America teaches human centered design to young adults and collaborating community partners and implements innovative solutions based on insights into human needs, rapid prototyping, user-testing, and interdisciplinary team work. Design for America currently addresses national challenges in education, health, and environment and is constantly seeking mentors and students to participate.
Design Global Change is a creative think tank comprised of a transdisciplinary group of students and alumni from the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford, that pairs students with non-profits and uses design thinking to provide positive solutions to communities in need (mostly related to education, wellness and health issues).
Design is Love is a website that provides stimulating opportunities for their members to explore their creativity through funded projects and engaging communication, along with a match-making system that brings creatives and non-profit organizations together—taking the positive energy promoted on designislove.org and sharing it with the world at-large.
D-Rev is a non-profit technology incubator based in Palo Alto, CA, whose mission is to improve the health and incomes of people living on less than $4 per day. The organization has ongoing opportunities for volunteers.
Design that Matters (DtM) is a 501c3 nonprofit based in Cambridge, Massachusetts that creates new products that allow social enterprises in developing countries to offer improved services and scale more quickly. DtM has built a collaborative design process through which hundreds of volunteers in academia and industry donate their skills and expertise to the creation of breakthrough products for communities in need.
EPIC | Engaging Philanthropy, Inspiring Creatives is a Chicago-based organization that hosts a number of eight-week creative rallies each year, pairing hand-picked volunteers from the advertising and design industries with nonprofit clients dedicated to education, children and families. During the rally, teams create programs and materials—on a strictly pro bono basis—that their nonprofit client will use to positively impact the lives of those they serve.
Firebelly Foundation, in Chicago, supports Reason to Give, a nonprofit program, that shares the stories of Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood and connects people who care with people who need a hand.
INDEX: is a Danish-based, non-profit organization that works globally to promote and apply both design and design processes that have the capacity to improve the lives of people worldwide through a biennial competition focused on design to improve life, education, labs, large-scale public events and communication.
Good Thinking is an Atlanta-based volunteer creative service organization that provides communication tools to qualified Not for Profit 501c3 organizations (NPOs) that provide health, education and/or welfare services to Greater Atlanta families. Good Thinking draws volunteers from every creative discipline to work in teams on efficient schedules within a defined scope. The organization has the capacity to provide recipient NPOs any creative service tool that fulfills the approved scope, budget an schedule. Volunteers work with talented peers under the direction of the city’s best creative leaders.
Project H is a nonprofit focused on the transformation of curricula, environments, and experiences for K-12 educational institutions in the US, centering around their cornerstone initiative: the Studio H design/build high school program within the Bertie County School District in North Carolina.
Taproot Foundation is a nonprofit organization in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., that matches pro bono business talent with nonprofit organizations working to improve society that could otherwise not access the marketing, design, technology, management or strategic planning resources they need to succeed.
UX for Good is a design competition that brings together top user experience and visual designers to tackle vexing social challenges with the help of executives from leading non-profit organizations addressing those challenges.
Worldstudio Foundation is a nonprofit devoted exclusively to encouraging social responsibility in the design and arts professions and helping the next generation of artist, architects and designers realize their dreams while being pro-actively involved in their communities, through an array of initiatives.
Learn and grow
Camp Firebelly is a summer design program that selects bright, talented students from across the country to live in the Firebelly Design studio in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois for 10 days. While in residence, 10 student campers live and work with Firebelly to craft a strategic design solution for a non-profit client, from initial research to final implementation.
Design Ignites Change is a national initiative of Worldstudio, that engages high school and college students in multidisciplinary design and architecture projects that address pressing social issues. Participants are encouraged to apply unleashed creativity and executable actions to problems that exist in their own communities.
D-Lab is a program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that fosters the development of appropriate technologies and sustainable solutions within the framework of international development. D-Lab’s mission is to improve the quality of life of low-income households through the creation and implementation of low cost technologies.
Designmatters is a program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena that offers that focuses on the intersection of art and design and social change and aims to help students develop the skills to translate meaningful ideas into actionable solutions.
Firebelly University, in Chicago, is a nine-month program open to creatives by application, that teaches the leadership skills to turn passion into a career, from starting your own design studio to running a nonprofit or building a social enterprise.
Foresight Immersion is the nation's leading hands-on sustainable civic innovation program based in Chicago, IL. Developed over ten years, Immersion is a seven-week summer program that provides emerging leaders with the guiding methodologies, foundational knowledge, project experience, skills and network to create sustainable impact in an evolving landscape. Participants from all majors and professional backgrounds work in interdisciplinary teams to develop insight, identify barriers, and innovate solutions to real world problems across the business, government, and nonprofit sectors.
Implementing Social Change: Beginner's Workshop is a one-day program led by PellegrinoLab that guides attendees through the critical processes of actualizing solutions to social challenges with a sense of entrepreneurial spirit. The workshop is available nationally, but must be arranged and scheduled via PellegrinoLab in advance.
Project M is an annual intensive summer program in Greensboro, AL, for young creative people inspired to contribute to the greater good, and looking for a platform to collaborate and generate ideas and projects bigger than themselves. The program encourages and provides techniques for thinking in a non-linear way in order to generate new ideas and design directions in a way that brings about true innovation and creative exploration.
Public Interest Design is a blog dedicated to sharing news about a growing movement at the intersection of design and service, and opportunities that the various stakeholders of the public interest design movement can take advantage of.
Public Project is an initiative of Pratt's Graduate Communications Design Department that seeks to broaden the educational experience of students by organizing engagements with outside organizations, businesses and institutions. Centered around the themes of social practice, research, and entrepreneurship, students engage in opportunities to apply design to real world challenges.
Fund and support
ArtPlace believes that art, culture and creativity expressed powerfully through place can create vibrant communities, thus increasing the desire and the economic opportunity for people to thrive in place. It is all about the local.
Kickstarter is the world's largest funding platform for creative projects. On Kickstarter, project creators keep 100% ownership and control over their work, but only if a project reaches its funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.
The National Endowment for the Arts recognizes design's ever-present role by funding activities across the design disciplines that encourage, preserve, and disseminate the best in American and global design and its impact on communities.
Pepsi Refresh is a program funded by Pepsico that provides multiple grants ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 each month to ideas that refresh the world. Ideas submitted must fall into one the following six categories: health, arts & culture, food & shelter, the planet, neighborhoods, and education.
Project M Lab is a permanent Design Lab space in Greensboro, AL, consisting of a light-filled studio building, as well as a bunkhouse for up to 10 people and lodging for visiting advisors, that is available by request for use by individuals and groups working on meaningful projects in Hale County Alabama.
The Rockefeller Foundation’s NYC Cultural Innovation Fund supports creativity and the arts, with an emphasis on innovation. The Foundation awards two-year grants for groundbreaking creative work that enriches the city’s cultural life and strengthens the role that the arts will play in the future of New York.
Sappi | Ideas that Matter is a grant program established to recognize and support designers who generously donate their time and talent to a wide range of charitable activities with a primarily aim on supporting the creative ideas of designers that have an impact beyond the aesthetic and that are a powerful force for social good.