Design for Social Impact

Projects designed to directly benefit social, humanitarian, community or environments. In 2021, we’re also looking for projects that coincide with events of 2020 where impact was needed, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the fight for racial justice, humanitarian efforts related to climate change or forest fires, and more. Other examples of social impact work include: community or environmental impact initiatives, products for underrepresented communities, distribution systems, disaster relief, etc.

2023 Design for Social Impact Jury

  • Jury Captain

    Christine Gaspar

    Community-Engaged Designer & Nonprofit Leader

    Christine Gaspar is a designer and planner with over fifteen years of experience in community-engaged design practice. She was the Executive Director of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) from 2009 to 2022. CUP is a New York-based nonprofit whose mission is to use the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement in partnership with historically marginalized communities. Prior to that, she was Assistant Director of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in Biloxi, Mississippi, where she provided architectural design and community planning services to low-income communities of color recovering from Hurricane Katrina. She is a founding member of the Design Futures Student Leadership Forum Advisory Board, and holds Masters in Architecture and in Urban Planning from MIT, and Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Brown University. Her work is driven by a belief that design can be a powerful tool, particularly when it’s used to support community-led visions for change.

  • Jury Member

    George Aye

    Co-founder, Greater Good Studio

    George co-founded Greater Good Studio to use design to heal, to be just, to be restorative, Previously, he spent seven years at a global innovation firm before being hired as the first human-centered designer at the Chicago Transit Authority. Since founding Greater Good he guides clients and teams through complex projects that honor reality, create ownership, and build power. He speaks frequently across the US and internationally. George holds the position of Full Professor (Adj) at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • Jury Member

    Mari Nakano

    Social Designer, Systems Strategist & Educator

    Mari Nakano is a designer and systems strategist most recently focused on building a practice centered around relationship and community-building, food justice, sustainability, and planetary repair. She served for 5 years as the Design Director at the NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYCO), where she built strategies to help scale design thinking and strengthen community engagement and participatory research practices across the City. She led NYCO’s Service Design Studio Team, which aims to build up the capacity of government colleagues who are focused on tackling issues around poverty and inequity to understand and apply service design methodologies to improve services, programs and processes through evidence-based, user-centered and creative approaches. Prior to this role, she served for 4.5 years as the Design Lead for UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, and focused on building the first full team of designers to support data scientists, engineers and country program officers to build innovative solutions for children and families around the globe.