2021 Design Impact Grants
Nominations open now through March 12th!
Designing a Better Chicago is aimed at elevating the visibility of Chicago’s design legacy, assets, talent and community, and at supporting civic good through design. In 2021, the program will focus on the Design Impact Grant Program, recognizing individuals or organizations using design for civic good and related programming in Chicago.
DESIGN IMPACT GRANT MISSION
The purpose of the Design Impact grant is to provide annual, project-specific grants to individuals and organizations using design or design principles to directly address pressing issues in Chicago communities. Grant amounts will be between $5,000 and $15,000, anticipating awarding 2-4 grants annually based on quality of applications. In 2021, the Design Impact program will award $25,000 in sum total.
Step 1: Nomination
We are looking for people who are designing a better Chicago. Nominations are required for this invitation-only program. You may nominate yourself, a peer, friend, or mentor — anyone that lives or works in the City of Chicago.
Nominations open now through March 12!
Step 2: Letter of Intent
An Advisory Committee which includes experts in design, art, business, and civic ventures will review nominations and invite approximately 50 nominees to submit a Letter of Intent ( LOI ). Guidelines for the LOIs will be shared with nominees upon notification.
Step 3: Full application
Approximately 25 nominees will be invited to submit full applications. Applications will be shared with nominees upon notification. Winners will be selected by the Advisory committee in Summer 2021.
Individuals and non-profit organizations that live or work in the City of Chicago are eligible nominees for this program. Read the full guidelines here.
- Nominations due: Midnight, March 12, 2021
- Invitations to submit Letter of Intent: March 29, 2021
- Letters of Intent due: April 23, 2021
- Invitations to submit full application: May 10, 2021
- Applications due: July 12, 2021
- Award notification: Week of August 23, 2021
Questions? Please contact us at email@example.com
Design Impact Grant Guidelines
We recognize that making change takes time and welcome applications to support both new and ongoing projects. The Designing a Better Chicago Advisory Committee does not expect immediate success and certainly recognizes the uncertainty of planning in the current moment. However, application timelines and deliverables will be reviewed for realistic progress towards short term and long term goals, and applicants will need to demonstrate measurable ways to track project impact.
Awardees will be expected to participate in public programming, virtual or otherwise if deemed safe ( e.g. panel discussion, site visit, tour ) during NeoCon in the grant award period between October 2021 and October 2022. Read more about previous winners here.
Projects must have these elements:
- Project can be new ( starting in FY2021 ) or ongoing
- Project must be design-oriented or must leverage design or design principles in its approach
- Project can be anything from a physical project to a digital tool that improves public life or public space
- Must have a clear and measurable impact on targeted audience
- Project must be located or realized within Chicago city limits
We strongly encourage projects that:
- Make a lasting, positive impact on your community ( ideally beyond 2021 ).
- Are broadly accessible.
- Are socially-engaged and sustainable.
We welcome projects that:
- Are a first-time collaboration between individuals or organizations.
- Push an existing body of work in a new direction.
Who is Eligible
- People who live or work in the City of Chicago
- Individuals ( 18+ )
- Non-profit organizations or entities
- Potential sectors projects may benefit include but are not limited to: Education, Environment, Housing, Public Safety, Health and Wellbeing, and Diversity.
- Design Impact Grants 2021Designing a Better Chicago, a collaborative initiative organized and supported by NeoCon and theMART, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), and the Design Museum of Chicago, is now accepting nominations for its second annual Design Impact Grant Program. https://www.designchicago.org/grants/designing-a-better-chicago