Public Interest Design

Expand all | Collapse all

Corporate and Social Responsibility Program at Work

  • 1.  Corporate and Social Responsibility Program at Work

    Posted 01-27-2015 08:37
    Hi All -

    My firm, RTKL Associates has recently established a Corporate and Social Responsibility program within the office. Essentially, we've created an annual budget and oversight committee to facilitate public interest design projects.  Employees can apply for a portion of the budget, hours, or other firm resources to support the project. As a part of the application process, the employee or team has to submit a project plan, schedule, budget, and community/firm goals that the project will attempt to realize. Throughout the project, the team is expected to document and publish routine updates on the process and results.

    I'm really excited that our firm has committed to this, but we're still in the very early stages. Does anyone else have experience with corporate PID programs?  I'd be glad to hear your thoughts or some tips on how to make it as successful as possible.


    Mark Palmer AIA
    RTKL Associates Inc.
    Washington DC

  • 2.  RE: Corporate and Social Responsibility Program at Work

    Posted 01-29-2015 11:07
    Hi Mark,

    This is great leadership by RTKL.

    I'd suggest you look at the Latrobe research on how (and why) firms are doing this:

    The only issue I have with our research is the emphasis on pro-bono or no-fee services. That is a resource-depleting approach that will never grow this field of service in the way we need it to, and the size the public needs it to be. I wish firms would use their pro-bono hours to develop fee-paying public interest design projects. I have been told that it can cost a firm $12,000 to get a new project. Well, use that amount to work with a community group to bring a project to a grant-ready level. Then there can bee fees if the grant is received. Anyway, there are lots of methods for this fee-based approach, more than I can go into here. But what I do now if this commitment by your firm starts to bring in fees, it can grow even more.

    Best wishes to you and RTKL!

    Bryan Bell
    Design Corps
    Raleigh NC