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Funding and Competitions

The simplest way to be happy is to do good. 

Helen Keller

Design Competitions

American Institute of Architects IAIA) Community Impact Award is a new category that recognizes projects that are designed to remove barriers and burdens, physical or abstract, empowering and enabling people to gather, connect, live, and function to their highest potential, ultimately bringing a community together. This award is unique in that it relies on the experiences of end users as part of the award criteria.  Design entries in this category need not have a high level of design aesthetic but must demonstrate significant social impact.  Awards: Design for Equitable Communities and Design for Well-being.

Deadline May 27, 2022 AIA members; June 3, 2022, architecture students

Land Art Generator Initiative 2022: Mannheim.  A competition to design a unique work of art that uses renewable energy technology to support Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s National Design Awards program honors innovation and impact and recognizes the power of design to change the world. Launched in 2000 as an official project of the White House Millennium Council, the Awards seek to increase national awareness of the impact of design through education initiatives. human thriving, supplying clean megawatt-hours to the City of Mannheim.  First place prize: $30,000.

Deadline: September 4, 2022.

Global Coding Challenge.  Design a greener future and build an open source solution in the cloud to take on a sustainability issue.  

Your Global Challenge solution should address one of the diverse challenges aligned to sustainability while doing one or more of these (among others): 

  • Build effective and efficient ways to quantifiably promote, preserve, and protect biodiversity

  • Reduce global food insecurity

  • Build equitable access to sustainability solutions, education, and job opportunities

  • Improve the ability to measure, analyze, or take decisive action on carbon emissions

  • Improve access to affordable and reliable clean energy

Registration:  Open and encouraged early

Deadline:  October 31, 2022

It is relatively easy to find funding for designs that make a lot of money and competitions that give awards for designs that look good or are innovative.  But here we want to help support designs that make the world better: that reduce harm, increase happiness and well-being, advance knowledge, promote equality, address injustice, or build supportive, compassionate relationships.


The Maternal & Infant Health Award, sponsored by The Patchwork Collective, is a $10 million grant competition to help improve maternal and infant health outcomes in marginalized communities around the world. The most competitive proposals should offer solutions that are community-led, impactful, durable, and, feasible.
Registration deadline: June 2, 2022

Submission deadline: June 30, 2022

Presidential Innovation Fellowship is awarding one-year fellowships to work on the country's most difficult challenges.  They are looking for those with expertise in product design, user experience design, digital transformation strategy, data strategy and AI, and software and cloud infrastructure.  Requires DC relocation.

Submission deadline: June 24, 2022

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Evidence for Action: Innovative Research to Advance Racial Equality.  E4A funds research that expands the evidence needed to build a Culture of Health, with an explicit emphasis on advancing racial equity, based on the premise that achieving racial equity is not possible without a focus on the foundational and structural drivers of health, such as housing, education, built environment, economic opportunity, and law enforcement.

Deadline: Open

W. K. Kellogg Foundation supports innovative ideas and efforts in their priorities areas of thriving children, working families, and equitable communities to ensure all children, families and communities – regardless of race or income – have opportunities to reach their full potential. WKKF wants all children to live a full life by accessing high-quality early childhood experiences, supported by families with access to good jobs and career pathways and living in communities where they are nurtured. Embedded in all that the Foundation does is a commitment to advancing racial equity, developing leaders at all levels and engaging communities in addressing barriers that prevent positive outcomes for their children.

Deadline: Open

The Ford Foundation JustFilms program support artist-driven film and new media storytelling projects that explore aspects of inequality, as well as the organizations and networks that support these projects.

Deadline: Open

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s National Design Awards honor innovation and impact in several categories (including climate action, product design, and digital design) and recognizes the power of design to change the world.  Launched in 2000 as an official project of the White House Millennium Council, the Awards seek to increase national awareness of the impact of design through education initiatives.

Deadline for nominations: December 5, 2022

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