Our Autodesk Foundation Grantees, Embodying the Design-led Revolution

By Joe Speicher, executive director of the Autodesk Foundation

I started my career on Wall Street, where measurable results, accountability and transparency drove success. While volunteering with New York immigrant communities during this time, I quickly learned that these practices are lacking or nonexistent at many nonprofits. I saw an opportunity to bring those business lessons I learned on Wall Street to the High Street of Kampala, helping found a nonprofit/business hybrid that would employ, train and empower people in the developing world. Now, I’m doing this at Autodesk, helping support the nonprofit organizations fueling the design-led revolution as the executive director of the Autodesk Foundation.

Yesterday, the Autodesk Foundation furthered our commitment to accelerating the work of impact designers by deepening our investment in two current grantees, D-Rev and MASS Design Group, and making new investments in several additional design-driven nonprofits.  We are providing training, technology and software grants to Gearbox, Kenya’s first open makerspace; Proximity Design, whose products and services serve rural Myanmar; and Build Change, which aims to strengthen housing in developing and earthquake-susceptible countries.

When I talk with design-led revolution innovators like Krista Donaldson, the CEO of D-Rev, I am certain that the Foundation is making the right choice to invest in D-Rev’s business model that improves the health and income of the global population living on less than $4 a day. “We’re excited to continue our work with Autodesk. We were thrilled to be a part of the Foundation launch in March as we see a great value in the collaboration and look forward to more of it, moving forward,” said Krista.

Last night, we celebrated these new grantees—and the impact of designers for social good everywhere—at a Design Night in the Autodesk Gallery at 1 Market Street in San Francisco.  We also launched the Impact Design Hub, which we hope to be the go-to resource for information on design for positive impact. This is only the beginning of our support for leaders who imagine, design and create a better world and we look to continue to fund and support those using design to address epic challenges. 


Krista Donaldson, CEO of Autodesk Foundation grantee D-Rev


Me, Joe Speicher, executive director of the Autodesk Foundation