About Design for America

Design for America (DFA) is a network of innovators using design thinking skills for local social impact. Developed by a faculty member and her students, DFA shapes the next generation of social innovators.

The DFA experience begins with a campus DFA studio where students act on their commitment to design for social good. They are joined by faculty and staff mentors who share the belief that education happens 24/7, that the college experience extends well beyond the classroom, and that real-world collaboration enhances learning, community and the university alike. The DFA Alumni + Friends Network includes alumni + professionals spanning a diversity of industries and functions.

In 2018, DFA was honored with a National Design Award from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, in recognition of "excellence, innovation, and enhancement of the quality of life." In 2020, DFA joined with the Watson Foundation.

Quick Links:

Support DFA this Giving Season | Get involved with the Network | Stay in Touch


Give the gift of gratitude

This giving season, Design for America invites you to reflect on the people, places, and organizations who helped make you who you are.

Who expands your potential and helps make your future bigger?

Who reminds you to dream bigger and be more daring?

Whose belief in you ripples through your life?

Celebrate the people who’ve helped build and boost you and whose influence echoes through your past, present, and future. It’s these relationships—the ones that fuel and inspire us, make us laugh, provide honest perspectives—that weave a fabric of possibility.

DFA’s community goal of $15,000 by Jan 1 will support:

  • 2022 National Partnerships: DFA students collaborating with industry innovators
  • DFA Curriculum Project: advancing and refining DFA’s award-winning design thinking process
  • Student Advisory Groups: listening to and learning from the DFA community
  • Community Capstone events: bringing students, alumni, mentors, coaches and participants together for project share-outs and celebrations
  • Studio Launches: bringing social impact design studios to new campuses and communities

Get Involved with the Network

We're Hiring a Design Coach

Join the team as a part-time alumni or student Design Coach! As a Design Coach, you will facilitate our unique model of design training by coaching dedicated college students in design for social good. In this role, you will support a cohort of DFAers from 5 studios while they work on a sponsored National Project with a leading financial institution. See the job description and apply here.


Join the Spring 2022 National Project: Financing Futures

Many young adults begin their journey toward financial independence during college. However, students often find finance to be riddled with confusing language, taboos, and unknowns. It often feels disorienting, emotionally distressing or downright embarrassing. But it doesn’t have to be. Young people starting their financial journey deserve a robust support system to reach their life goals. DFA and Discover Financial Services® are partnering to support young adults in becoming more financially empowered and equipped as they develop, explore, and share those future goals.

Read the project brief and learn how to apply here. Applications are due Monday, January 31st, 2022.

Join the Application Workshop on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022, 3-4pm CT. Get answers to your questions from Discover Financial Services®, meet potential DFA student teams, and learn how to create a stellar application. Sign up for the Application Workshop via the interest form here.


Start a DFA Studio on your campus

Whether you're a faculty member, alumni, or student, we'd love to collaborate with you to bring social impact design to your college or university. Email us at [email protected] with a brief statement of why you are interested in DFA. We'll get back to you shortly to learn more about you and set up an infosession.


Stay In Touch With DFA

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