project leader
Theresa H
1 Brookings Drive
(St. Louis)
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the project


Design Futures Forum is a leadership development initiative that centers principles of racial justice and social equity. We seek to support students and practitioners to think critically about power, privilege, and positionality in the practice of community-engaged design and to reframe the role of the designer to address and dismantle systemic oppression in the built environment. We do this through a five-day interdisciplinary training attended by student leaders and faculty leaders, a professional development convening, and a national professional network of individuals committed to social and racial justice.


As a national leadership development program, we’re looking to create local impact in our host city of St. Louis, MO. This year, we are fundraising $5000 to offer five scholarships to local emerging community and student leaders looking to incorporate community-engaged design into their work and attend Design Futures 2020 hosted by Washington University in Saint Louis. We hope to partner with Local Leaders from community based non-profits, St. Louis Community College, and other nearby social justice organizations. Help us fundraise for our inaugural Local Leaders Cohort! All donations are tax deductable.

It costs about $1000 per student to implement Design Futures- these costs cover all program related activities, including workshop facilitators, delicious locally catered food, keynote lectures, and tours that highlight local best practice projects and organizations. We’re asking alumni and faculty members from past Design Futures and supporters at large, to help us start our Local Leaders cohort, so that we can open up Design Futures to members of the community without a registration fee. Our goal is to raise $5000 and have 5 spots for a local cohort, much like a university-sponsored cohort. This is an opportunity to ensure we are building local leadership capacity and is an amazing opportunity for national student leaders to learn from peers in the local host city.

Design Futures is more than just a convening, it is a loving and supportive community of individuals pushing the limits of impact to strive for a more equitable everyday. The relationships fostered during the five-day convening push beyond the week to create a network of impact across the nation. 

“Design Futures challenged me to look at community development work in a new way. I feel enlightened, uplifted, connected, and curious for the future. The best part of the experience is knowing you are not alone in approaching design work through a holistic, liberated lense. I am excited to get back to work in Detroit, and watch the amazing work DF alumni continue to do around our country and world.” – Ian McCain, University of Detroit Mercy


the steps

Jan 1, 2020: Launch call for application for scholarships

Jan 23, 2020: Webinar on how to prepare a successful application

Feb 15, 2020: Scholarship applications due

March 15, 2020: Scholarship finalists chosen, interview

April 30, 2020: Scholarships finalized and announced

May 18-22, 2020: Scholars are recognized and celebrated at Design Futures 2020.

why we're doing it

The Local Leaders initiative focuses on building the leadership capacity of our host city.  Design Futures connects local and national student leaders with nationally recognized practitioners in socially-engaged design through leadership development workshops and tours of local St. Louis projects that exemplify equitable design and community development.Design Futures focuses on serving student leaders, with the goal to nurture leaders from St. Louis and from across the country in the field of public interest design.



Local Leader Scholarships for 3 people* 2323.07

* Registration scholarship is $1000/person. The program will donate the gap
funds to round up to three scholarships

TOTAL RAISED = $2,431.00
ioby Platform Fee $35.00
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $72.93

$1000 for one-person scholarship to attend Design Futures Student Leadership Forum. This cost covers registration, all meals during the program, workshops, and local tours.

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $156


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