This past November 11th, AIGA New Orleans proudly presented Thanks+Giving, our first event participating in AIGA’s Design for Good initiative. In line with national’s mission to use design as a tool for social impact, we chose to partner with Propeller, a powerhouse nonprofit and social venture incubator here in the city. Propeller’s grandest gift to our community is their Accelerator program, in which a few select young organizations benefit from a 12-month fellowship, including funding, workspace, and access to a comprehensive range of professional resources known as the Pro Bono Network. The goals of the Fellows are as critical as they are diverse, and the success of past Fellows is provably extraordinary.

The Design for Good Social Cocktail

Having recognized that supporting future Propeller Accelerator Fellows is an ideal opportunity for New Orleans designers interested in pro bono work, we invited our members and nonmember designers to come learn about the Pro Bono Network at the Thanks+Giving cocktail social at Propeller’s coworking facility. Vicki Bristol, Communications Strategist for Gambel Communications, spoke about her experiences as a three-year donor of services to Propeller’s Pro Bono Network. Past fellows Ameca Reali (Co-founder of Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana) and Dana Keren (Co-founder of Birthmark Doulas) shared how taking advantage of the Pro Bono Network enabled the tremendous success they’ve forged in their respective ventures.

Partnership with Propeller was a Success

Thanks+Giving was a was a rollicking success as twenty-two attendees signed up to contribute their services to vital nonprofits and social-impact startups here in New Orleans (FAR more than we dared hope for). New Orleanians’ willingness to give back, it turns out, is just as unexpectedly superlative as nearly everything else in this city. Feedback we gathered from our attendees will help us to shape Design for Good programming in the coming months, optimized to community needs and designer interests. If you’re interested in having a direct hand in crafting this programming, contact me to explore joining the AIGA New Orleans Design for Good Committee.

Giving Thanks

We are grateful to those who made this wonderful event possible: Propaganda New Orleans, our media sponsor and donor of the “Deadline Deluxe” prize basket granted to one random new Pro Bono member; Tomas Raul Photography, which provided both event photography AND donated a portrait session prize; Cane & Table, our fancy booze donor and skilled bartender; Swamp Pop, our fancy non-booze donor; Hey Y’all Catering & Event Planning; Sucre, who got us generously chocolated up; Action Press, our miracle-working print sponsor; Carl Mack Presents, for lending us the costumes for our superhero photobooth. Thanks too to all the volunteers who made the evening happen; to Julia Stewart, Andrea Chen, & Danielle Kraus of Propeller for all their stellar work; to Vicky, Ameca, and Dana for graciously speaking (and so convincingly!); but most of all to those selfless new Pro Bono Network volunteers whose work is going to make so much MORE happen in the coming months. Thanks plus Giving: it’s what Design for Good is all about.

Check out our Facebook page for a larger gallery of images
By Julia Sevin
Published November 16, 2013