Bus 52 Presents: Designs for Dignity





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Published on Oct 29, 2012


"Design to me is a part of everyday life. It affects how you eat, breathe, sleep, wake up, do your everyday life and so I think making the world a better place for everyone is important."

Nonprofits across the country work tirelessly to help others, often in the face of budget constraints. In Chicago, Designs for Dignity is helping nonprofits stretch their budgets and refurbish their facilities to a higher standard than ever before.

Executive Director Jennifer Sobecki explains that Designs for Dignity works "with nonprofits in the area to transform their spaces and therefore enabling them to transform the lives of those that they serve from food pantries to affordable housing. You name it, we're there to meet the need."

When money is tight, very little of a nonprofit's budget can be diverted into the design of their facilities. This is where Designs for Dignity steps in to help. "We take whatever budget there is and work to maximize that three and a half time fold so we can turn $10,000 into $35,000 to $50,000 with donated furnishings, materials, our design time," says Sobecki.

The success of Designs for Dignity comes in part from the powerful support of volunteers and donors. They take advantage of "volunteer interior designers, installers, carpenters, whoever might need to be on a project at any given time," says Sobecki. Some volunteers will give a day or two to a project and some will work with the nonprofit for several months or years if it is a much longer project.

Designs for Dignity has worked with nonprofits of all kind. Sobecki explains that they "don't focus on one service area. We know need so we work with affordable housing, community health centers, food pantries, battered women shelters, youth drop-in centers."

The process for a new design is started by filling out a Designs for Dignity application. The nonprofit's application is then reviewed by a committee which ascertains who would most benefit from their assistance.

As soon as the application has been approved, Designs for Dignity puts together a design team. The team is picked based on the needs of the nonprofit and their goals in refurbishing the space. It's vital that the design team knows how to best transform the nonprofit's facilities.

"Really paying attention and listening is key in any design project, whether that's for profit or nonprofit, you have to know what your client's needs are," says Sobecki.

Read more... http://web.bus52.com/profiles/designs...


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