2023 Sasaki Foundation Design Grants

Pitch Night 2023
110 Chauncy, Boston, MA
Sasaki Foundation
We leverage design to tackle global challenges—especially those that adversely affect historically underrepresented communities.
Grants Process
In 2023, we launched a call for proposals for our fifth annual Design Grants competition. We received 19 applications representing 30 organizations and institutions, 5 Boston communities, 4 Greater Boston cities, and 1 Gateway City, with multiple proposals focusing on Greater Boston.
Explore the 2023 winners and finalists below. Learn more about our 2023 call for proposals here.
Thank you to our 2023 jurors for all of your time and effort supporting the Design Grants program this year: Elaine Minjy Limmer (jury chair) of the City and County of Denver, Timothy Gale of Sasaki, Wendell Joseph of Toole Design Group, Penn Loh of Tufts University, Lily Song of Northeastern University, and Dominick Tribone of Lyft and Bluebikes.
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The call for proposals
Shared Voices

Charting a Course for Community Action

​The challenges in addressing environmental resilience, displacement, affordable housing, access to mobility choices, meaningful public engagement, and other social equity considerations in planning and design are so broad and complex, they require a shared approach to facilitate all the necessary conversations and deliver actionable solutions. Most of these challenges faced by Massachusetts communities are not limited to local neighborhoods—their effects are felt and shared across the Commonwealth and beyond. Multiple futures are at stake, and we can make a difference by acting now.

The Sasaki Foundation recognizes the need for interdisciplinary approaches, diverse community voices, and regional cooperation as key drivers to find shared solutions and create shared impact.

The Grant Winners
Action Grant

EarlyEducatorSpace 2.0: Reimagining Public Housing with Childcare in Mind

Creative Community Building
New Models for Housing
Innovation in Health and Wellbeing

Kimberly Lucas, Isabella Buford, Taylor Cain, Rahul Ramesh

EarlyEducatorSpace 2.0 from the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) is a unique opportunity to bring together family childcare providers, families, neighbors, and affordable housing property managers in a way that expands access to childcare, creates opportunities for economic mobility for public housing residents, and enhances affordable housing spaces. In three design sessions, participants will reimagine and codesign common green space in one BHA development as a site inclusive of care for young children.

Meet the project team.

Outdoor space project at Old Colony in South Boston, a BHA site, that has been geared towards young children and their caretakers

Image courtesy BHA

Community visioning green space design event for empty lot on October 1, 2021
Reclaim Roxbury civic team
Photo courtesy Reclaim Roxbury
Action Grant
Survival Guide to Living and Staying in Roxbury
Creative Community Building

Armani White, Lauren Miller, Kai Palmer-Dunning

The Survival Guide to Living and Staying in Roxbury from Reclaim Roxbury is both a storytelling and practical information project on the current and past fights for community land development, how to develop land, and how to apply for rental and homeownership opportunities. Roxbury is a rapidly gentrifying, predominantly Black, working-class community in Boston. The multimodal document will serve as a conversation starter within the community, to help connect people to advocacy resources and share their own stories. The guide will help with creative community building, using art and storytelling to enhance community planning.

Discovery Grant
Building Food Resilience through Urban Container Gardening from the Comfort of Home
Innovation in Health and Wellbeing

Magdalena La Battaglia, Elsa Flores, Ana Martinez

The Harborkeepers proposes Building Food Resilience through Urban Container Gardening from the Comfort of Home, addressing food waste and food resiliency challenges in East Boston through a series of educational and problem-solving workshops and activities focused on growing food in limited urban housing spaces, such as people’s homes, terraces, or even inside from their window sills, as a way to address that people in densely populated urban communities may not have access to local community urban gardens or yards to grow their own fresh and healthy produce.

Gardening in East Boston

Image courtesy The Harborkeepers

Four photos showing 1, parked storage cart and bike on the street; 2, a Brazilian man named JR in a wide-brimmed hat sitting on the street, showing off freshly painted nails; 3, a memorial made of flower bouquets in water gallons, set on the street; 4, a brown bean bag and tan sofa in a building nook on the street. In the center, a question: How might storytelling and art help bend the world to meet the communities of Mass and Cass where they are?

Reggie Wong Park Day, October 16, 2022

Photo courtesy Billy Chen of The Chinatown Project, via Chinatown CLT

Discovery Grant
Improving Open Space in Chinatown
Creative Community Building
Innovation in Health and Wellbeing
Proactive Approaches to Climate Adaptation
Environmental Justice

Lydia Lowe, Kathryn Friedman, Sari Kayyali

Chinatown Community Land Trust (CLT) seeks to improve and expand open space in Chinatown, Boston’s densest and hottest neighborhood. Chinatown CLT will engage designers in supporting community planning efforts to secure community governance and improvements for Reggie Wong Park, to advocate for a new community-oriented park in Parcel 25 development, and, longer term, to advance the vision for a green space next to the future Chinatown Library. Chinatown CLT is also part of the Chinatown HOPE initiative, which is focused on moving the Phillips Square public space into a second phase community design process.

Discovery Grant
Movement Training and Cultural Center: Envisioning Hope
Creative Community Building

Gloribell Mota, Vanny Huot, Carlos Saavedra, Rodrigo Saavedra

The Ayni Institute is an organization rooted in the working class, immigrant, BIPOC communities and Indigenous wisdom. Boston’s rapid gentrification and the pandemic have displaced the organization and impacted its ability to train leaders in social change. To address this, the Ayni Institute committed to jointly buy a building with Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE). Recently, the partnership raised funds to purchase a 4,500 square foot building in Revere with the capacity to house trainings and a cultural center, and serve as a regional movement hub, providing inclusive and strategic meeting space for movement leaders.

Meet the project team.

Ayni‘s Dream: Movement Training and Cultural Center
Image courtesy Ayni Institute
The Finalists
1975: a Healing Memorial
Creative Community Building
Ngọc-Trân Vũ, Linh-Phương Vũ
2025 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the war in Việt Nam and the beginning of a significant Vietnamese diaspora. 1975: a Healing Memorial aims to reclaim narratives often told about the war in Việt Nam and pay homage to the families of the Vietnamese diaspora. The project will result in the installation of a permanent memorial in Boston’s Little Saigon Cultural District as a site of recognition, the celebration of the Vietnamese diaspora, and the offering of a shared space for the healing of traumas from the war and the long journeys away from the homeland.
A Memorial Garden to Remember the Unhoused Community
Creative Community Building
Andrea Kaslow, Maria Rodriguez
A Memorial Garden to Remember the Unhoused Community is a collaborative process to design and install a memorial garden for people in the On The Rise community — current and formerly unhoused women, trans, and nonbinary people — who have passed away.
The Roxbury DIF: Centering Community Voice through the Lens of Arts and Culture
Creative Community Building
Anita Morson-Matra, Bridgette Wallace
The Roxbury DIF (district increment financing) project focuses on a neighborhood that has borne the brunt of longstanding strategic disinvestment. Roxbury is currently seen as an important part of the city’s rapid growth plan. Located in the geographic center of Boston, Roxbury plays a critical role in all aspects of the city. With the most buildable lots, Roxbury has become the stage for a rapidly shifting landscape. Establishing the Roxbury DIF will provide key stakeholders with a mechanism to channel city funds back into the district and will put decision making power in the hands of residents.