Archive | January, 2013

This Design Firm Only Works on Projects That Give Back

30 Jan

We’re recognizing game changing careers and inspiring acts of generosity beyond deep-pocketed philanthropy. The Series profiles continue today with Rich Hollant,  Most Generous Designer. It continues through the winter with most Generous Tech Founders, Wall Streeters, Marketing Gurus and Filmmakers. Follow the series every Monday, Wednesday and Friday  for in-depth profiles of all our honorees.

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Richard Hollant’s Co:Labs doesn’t just find time for a charitable project now and then. All of its projects focus on making the world better and strengthening the community.

Co:Lab is a design firm that works exclusively with nonprofits, communities, and enterprises committed to social profit. It’s founder and leader, Rich Hollant, helps these organizations tackle big questions that lead to greater awareness, purposeful motivation, and deeper loyalty. The firm’s work (see it above) includes a project to help inspire and integrate the youth of Middletown, Connecticut and work for the Human Rights Institute to show that human rights are a universal issue. Committed to developing youth engagement in his community, Hollant has also co-founded the platform Giv2, a place where teen volunteers can give back, too.

Click here to read the full article on FastCo.Exist.

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Spending Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a Purpose

30 Jan

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This year, rather than volunteering on location, Catchafire decided to open the doors of our office and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by providing friends and members of our community with personal volunteer consultations, a chance to learn something new and as a bonus an opportunity to hang out at our team’s potluck!

As we sent out invitations, it quickly became evident that most of our friends were not aware that MLK Jr. Day is the National Day of Service and instead were using the long weekend for a vacation. With this realization, we started to wonder, why don’t more people observe the National Day of Service or even know about it?

As the day started off, Rachael asked the team and our guests to settle around the couches in a large comfortable circle. After everyone relaxed into place, she posed a question that inspired a surprisingly intimate conversation for 10 o’clock in the morning.

Why do you serve?

Faced with this question, most of us reflected back to our first ever volunteer experience. Listening to those around me,  it was clear that whatever experience it was, volunteering, at some point had transformed that person’s life. They were forever changed by the act of helping someone else. It comforted me that the friends who stopped by Catchafire felt a similar dedication to serve as my co-workers.

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Whether it was a mission trip to foreign country, a role model whose actions they learned from or an expression of gratitude from the recipient of a good deed, it was clear that service had opened our eyes to the way our lives should be spent and service was deeply embedded in everyone who went to Catchafire that day.

The day continued with Martin Luther King Jr. twitter trivia and a Social Media Scavenger Hunt that challenged our knowledge and understanding of Human Rights. These games were a chance for us to recognize the people out there who are using the internet as a tool to raise awareness about human rights & service.
We finished up by screening Born into Brothels, a touching documentary about a woman who finds potential in children raised in Indian brothels. As she teaches them photography, it was nearly impossible not to feel attached to the children’s stories of hardship day in and day out.  Seeing the world through their eyes was inspiring and reminded us the importance of raising awareness and making change around human rights.

photo (24)All in all, our MLK Day was refreshing. It is a wonderful practice to reflect on why it is you serve, in fact, I challenge you to ask yourself the same question today. I hope that it will provoke something in you as it did us. We are excited to watch the holiday evolve, and we are sure that MLK Day 2014 will be very different.

We hope that as we all grow, the holiday will as well, imagine if everyone recognized MLK Day as the National Day of Service–seriously, if everyone did, woah I just got excited!

Two Architects Reinvent The Hospital To Prevent Infections

25 Jan

We’re recognizing game changing careers and inspiring acts of generosity beyond deep-pocketed philanthropy. The Series profiles continue today with Michael Murphy & Alan Ricks,  Most Generous Designers. It continues through the winter with most Generous Tech Founders, Wall Streeters, Marketing Gurus and Filmmakers. Follow the series every Monday, Wednesday and Friday  for in-depth profiles of all our honorees.

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Mass Design created a Rwandan hospital that drastically cut down on disease transmission.

As grad students, Michael Murphy and Alan Ricks accepted the challenge of using architectural design to address major world health issues like reducing disease transmission in Rwandan hospitals. Since opening their first hospital in that country’s Burera District, the area has seen the most drastic drop in infant mortality of anywhere in the world. Now they’ve formed Mass, to tackle all sorts of problems associated with health worldwide.

Read the full article here.

Training A New Generation of Designers to Design for Good

23 Jan

We’re recognizing game changing careers and inspiring acts of generosity beyond deep-pocketed philanthropy. The Series profiles continue today with Timothy Prestero, a Most Generous Designer. It continues through the winter with most Generous Tech Founders, Wall Streeters, Marketing Gurus and Filmmakers. Follow the series every Monday, Wednesday and Friday  for in-depth profiles of all our honorees.

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Design That Matters has created some revolutionary devices to help fix problems like infant care in the developing world, but its more lasting legacy may be the new mindset it’s giving the designers it teaches.

At Design that Matters, Timothy Prestero is bringing together hundreds of bright-minded students, professionals and social entrepreneurs, to collaboratively experiment and design breakthroughs in areas such as infant health and literacy. You may have heard of some of their projects (you can see them above), like Firefly, a cheap way to treat infant jaundice; the Kinkajou projector, which brings media to the developing world; and the NeoNurture incubator, designed to run off common car parts. We talked to Prestero about how his program manages to keep creating these design innovation

Click here to read the full article on FastCo.Exist.

Designing Better Ways to Give Back

22 Jan

We’re recognizing game changing careers and inspiring acts of generosity beyond deep-pocketed philanthropy. The Series profiles continue today with Dawn Hancock, a Most Generous Designer. It continues through the winter with most Generous Tech Founders, Wall Streeters, Marketing Gurus and Filmmakers. Follow the series every Monday, Wednesday and Friday  for in-depth profiles of all our honorees.

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Firebelly’s Dawn Hancock has found a way to inextricably link her design practice to helping her community, by incubating businesses and mentoring designers to create a chain of social consciousness.

Dawn Hancock is the founder of Firebelly, which works to create, as they say, “good design for good reason.” She’s also the founder of Reason to Give, an organization that allows people to give money to help the people of the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. When not designing in the studio she is incubating entrepreneurs, educating young and hungry design students, and working collaboratively to ensure that Firebelly’s nonprofit arm reaches as many community members as possible. This leaves us asking, Is there anything that Hancock doesn’t do?

Click here to read the full article on FastCo.Exist.

How One Designer Went From Designing Remote Controls To Cook Stoves

18 Jan

We’re recognizing game changing careers and inspiring acts of generosity beyond deep-pocketed philanthropy. The Series profiles continue today with Heather Fleming, a Most Generous Designer. It continues through the winter with most Generous Tech Founders, Wall Streeters, Marketing Gurus and Filmmakers. Follow the series every Monday, Wednesday and Friday  for in-depth profiles of all our honorees.

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Heather Fleming’s Catapult Designs does innovative product design–but for the developing world.

Freeing herself from the limitations of corporate design was step one of this engineer’s plan to change the world. Gaining perspective from her Navajo upbringing and her time with Engineers Without Borders, Fleming set off to create realistic solutions to the world’s problems, and–voila–Catapult Design was born. Whether solving issues with water collection or giving the common cookstove a redesign, she’s bringing human-centered design to those who need it most.

Click here to read the full article on FastCo.Exist!

The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman On His Powerful Ability To Raise Money For Good

16 Jan

We’re recognizing game changing careers and inspiring acts of generosity beyond deep-pocketed philanthropy. The Series profiles continue today with Matthew Inman a Most Generous Designer. It continues through the winter with most Generous Tech Founders, Wall Streeters, Marketing Gurus and Filmmakers. Follow the series every Monday, Wednesday and Friday  for in-depth profiles of all our honorees.

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After the followers of the irreverent comic site raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help defend it from a lawsuit, Inman realized that you can catalyze online audiences for more than just clicks.

Matt Inman is the brains behind all that is The Oatmeal, whose sarcastic and humorous design not only makes us chuckle but has been used to inspire his cult following to donate at the drop of a hat. Our favorite Oatmeal moment came from Inman as he sought to protest a lawsuit against him. What began as a campaign to combat the suit and raise $20,000, quickly turned into an overwhelming act of philanthropy. In the end, his campaign raised over $200,000, which he donated to the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society. His second campaign, to raise money to build a museum dedicated to inventor Nikola Tesla, did just as well.

Click here to see the full article on FastCo.Exist.

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