Foundation tightens HMC Architects bond with local communities

Founded in 2009 with an initial endowment of $1.9 million, HMC’s nonprofit Designing Futures Foundation (DFF) has donated about $230,000 in its three years of existence, including $105,000 in scholarships to California students. The grants help promising high schoolers with an interest in architecture, design, engineering, education, or healthcare pay for expenses like test preparation services, computers, and college entrance exam fees and tuition. The scholarships can be extended for up to five years of college.

A Cal Poly Pomona student helps children at Santa Monica’s McKinley Elementary S
A Cal Poly Pomona student helps children at Santa Monica’s McKinley Elementary School work a solar cooker, developed with HMC volunteers. HMC staff set up a video link with a school in Maracaibo, Venezuela. The end product: zero-energy solar-baked S’mores. Says HMC Designing Futures Foundation’s Adrienne Luce, “We wanted McKinley students to understand the global impact of [ecological] issues.”
October 04, 2012

Founded in 2009 with an initial endowment of $1.9 million, HMC’s nonprofit Designing Futures Foundation (DFF) has donated about $230,000 in its three years of existence, including $105,000 in scholarships to California students. The grants help promising high schoolers with an interest in architecture, design, engineering, education, or healthcare pay for expenses like test preparation services, computers, and college entrance exam fees and tuition. The scholarships can be extended for up to five years of college.

Executive Director Adrienne Luce says the foundation serves as an extension of HMC’s social responsibility. The DFF’s Community Project initiative provides grants of up to $10,000 to HMC employees for projects for that benefit the communities in which they live and work.

For example, three HMC employees—Pablo La Roche, PhD, LEED AP, Sustainable Design Director; Eera Babtiwale, LEED AP BD+C, Environmental Analyst; and Sandy Kate, REFP, LEED AP, Associate Principal/Senior Education Facilities Planner—proposed a sustainability education program at McKinley Elementary School in Santa Monica. The DFF sponsored nine workshops for 220 McKinley students in grades 3-5 over three days, providing 13½ hours of instruction on energy, water, and waste.

The DFF has funded scholarship programs at Ramona High School, a healthcare academy in Riverside, Calif., and at the Center for Advanced Research and Technology, in Fresno. The DFF also supports Bright Prospect, a college access and retention program in Pomona, and hosted a career day for students aspiring to become architects, engineers, or designers, topped off by a tour of the Ontario office.

Scott Plante, AIA, LEED AP, Senior Project Designer, won a $7,500 DFF grant to help restore the historic Micheltorena Steps in Silver Lake, the vintage 1920s-LA neighborhood where he lives. “The steps are on a main route to the school, and they’re in a state of disrepair,” says Plante, who serves on the Silver Lake Urban Design Committee. The $24,000 project, with donations from the DFF, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, and the Safe Routes to Schools program, plus a lighting upgrade by the local water and power utility, will be completed in two phases starting next June.

See the video about the DFF and the Micheltorena Steps project at: www.BDCnetwork.com/HMC/DFF.

At the university level, the Designing Futures Foundation has:

  • Provided a $10,000 seed grant to help Cal Poly Pomona start a healthcare architecture studio, the first of its kind west of the Mississippi.
  • Worked with Harvey Mudd College and the California Institute of the Arts on a project that uses online games and resources to foster greater environmental responsibility among college students.
  • Funded an $18,000 water demonstration garden at Norco College, a two-year institution in Riverside.
  • Sponsored research by HMC staff and consulting experts at UC San Diego’s Calit2 StarCAVE virtual reality environment on the effects of the built environment on building users. +
         
 

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