2018 was a year full of firsts for the Sasaki Foundation: the first physical home for the non-profit was built, the first strategic plan was finalized, and the first round of research grants were given out, among many other milestones. Many of these firsts can be found on the Foundation's blog here. Read on for a full digest of the year's achievements in the below letter from Executive Director Alexandra Lee.
Executive Director Alexandra Lee
The Sasaki Foundation supports design and education initiatives that promote equity in order to strengthen and empower local communities.Through research, programs, and partnerships, the Foundation takes an interdisciplinary approach to tackling global challenges through local action.
Using design thinking—the iterative practice of understanding, innovating, prototyping, testing, and implementing—we bridge the physical environment, community and social needs, policies, governance, and economic forces that shape communities and educate future leaders.
As we reflect on all the Foundation has accomplished this year, we are grateful to partners like you and look forward to continuing our collaborations with you.
Community Learning and Engagement
We held monthly educational programming with partners such as MIT Solve, MassINC Gateway Cities in association with Secretary Jay Ash, Landscape Architecture Foundation and Boston Society of Architects (BSA) as well as international delegations which yielded nearly 1,500 attendees.
We've been working hard to tell the story of the Foundation and all the buzz generated from cultivating collaborations in the Incubator. We ramped up communications, built our social channels, and recently launched our blog. Through our outreach efforts, we've built partnerships with over 75 organizations in the Greater Boston area that have been influential to the Sasaki Foundation's growth and presence in the community.
Research and Experimentation
This year the Sasaki Foundation launched a call for proposals for our inaugural Design Awards. We received more than 100 inquiries and approximately two dozen team submissions (from throughout the United States and six countries). Applicants proposed projects that focused on ten Greater Boston neighborhoods and three Gateway Cities within Massachusetts. The issues included proactive approaches to climate adaptation, new models for housing, innovation in transit, and creative community building.
Recipients of the Sasaki Foundation Design Awards are interdisciplinary teams that are focusing on the following projects: Charles River Floating Wetlands, Eastie for Eastie, G|Code House, the ECHOLocator, and Please Touch the Art.
Professional Practice and Growth
We invest in the most promising drivers of change. This year the Sasaki Foundation supported Girl UNinterrupted, a project that brings transparency to current challenges emerging designers face. It creates a bridge between generations while sharing perspectives and best practices in order to empower emerging designers to have a proactive voice in their future.
We partnered with the BSA on an Architecture and Design Thinking Day as well as funded a six-week high school internship program offering young students the opportunity to explore architecture and design at Sasaki over the summer.
The Sasaki Foundation is governed by a board of trustees, with input from an advisory council, who represent a range of perspectives and professions, including designers, non-profit and civic leaders, educators, technologists, researchers, and others.
The staff has expanded to include Alicia Mosesso, Program & Marketing Manager, to spearhead programs and communications, and Anna Scherling, Executive Assistant, to assist with day-to-day operations.
Incubator at Sasaki
The Incubator at Sasaki, located on Sasaki’s Chase Mills campus, launched in April. With 5,000 square feet of work space, four meeting rooms, Wi-Fi, a full kitchen and coffee bar, and easy access to the MBTA and major highways, this flexible research studio and coworking space serves as the catalyst for cross-industry collaboration, bringing academic, professional, and community partners to the table. Are you or someone you know interested in working here?
A Look Ahead
Building off our Strategic Plan, the Sasaki Foundation is looking forward to an exciting and impactful year in 2019 and we invite you to get involved: