March 31, 2023
Sasaki Foundation Releases 2022 Annual Report
Sasaki Foundation Releases 2021 Annual Report
In early 2022, I joined the Sasaki Foundation with hopes of working with community experts towards solutions to challenges in their neighborhoods, learning from practitioners about equity in design and planning, and engaging young people in meaningful employment in the design industry. I am thrilled that this hope became reality as we transitioned back to in-person programming, moved downtown with Sasaki, and built new partnerships over the past year.
Amplifying the voices of community experts, our fourth cohort of Design Grants research teams were chosen by an esteemed panel of jurors, led by Board of Trustees Vice Chair Elaine Limmer. The winning teams are creating an accessible engagement strategy for an energy microgrid in Chinatown, making the case for the mutually beneficial coexistence of green roofs and affordable housing in Chelsea, redesigning an urban farm facing relocation due to encroaching development in Somerville, and supporting the care infrastructure around Mass. and Cass through listening and storytelling. Our Design Grants program is an outstanding body of work that continues to grow and flourish, often well beyond the grant period.
Through the lens of community learning, we continued to host virtual events that sparked conversations around community engagement, activism, representation in government, access to youth employment, and more. These programs brought more than 600 people together from around the country. It was powerful to listen to women leaders talk about their experiences in municipal government and to hear from youth leaders about what they want in a job. These gatherings have been influential to our growth and presence in the community, and will become even more so as we transition to in-person programming in our new home in downtown Boston.
Reflecting on design education, some of the most powerful and meaningful work we do is to support and hold space for young people to explore a career in design. Our Summer Exploratory Experience in Design (SEED) internship returned in person this year and we were reminded just how powerful it is to see each other face to face and to sketch together at one table. We are grateful for the meaningful experiences for all of our students, teaching assistants, and volunteer design professionals.
We continue to focus on issues of equity in shaping our communities. This work requires collaboration. Our move to downtown Boston has already enabled us to build new partnerships, expand youth programming, and collaborate more effectively. We are well positioned to grow through our next strategic plan, currently in ideation by our Board of Trustees and staff, and I am excited to see what comes next. We are hopeful for the future of this work and are honored that you would come along the journey with us.
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