New Project: Varanasi Silk Weaving Facility

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  Mahatma Gandhi

On 1 February of this year Stefan Schwarzkopf, Design Director at Inscape Publico, and I boarded Etihad flight 6408 bound for Abu Dhabi. From Abu Dhabi we flew east to Delhi where we met up with Eric Gronning, an Inscape Publico board member. The three of us then traveled together for the final leg of the journey that would land us in Varanasi on the Ganges River.

We arrived in Varanasi to begin work on the Varanasi Silk Facility. Collaborating with Nest, a nonprofit committed to the social and economic advancement of global artisans and homeworkers through supply chain transparency, sustainable business development, and widespread industry advocacy, the silk weaving facility will help numerous Varanasi artisans to reclaim their livelihoods through their own means by providing them the fair market access they need to compete with increasing cheap labor and automated silk production. The art of hand-loom weaving is one that is passed on through generations and must be learned from the age of childhood. Bringing the weavers together physically will create a heightened sense of community and environment of solidarity. Allowing for instant communication, the facility will foster greater cooperation amongst the weavers to solve problems and share experiences. Our goal is to offer a beautiful, welcoming, and inspiring work environment where the weavers will not only feel pride in themselves and their work, but also feel proud to pass their amazing skills on to their children.

Inscape Publico will be hosting an event to share our work on the Varanasi Silk Weaving Facility and raise money to support our efforts. Spartan Surfaces will be our host for the evening and Maven Women, a DC base fashion line that creates sustainable styles for women and educates and advocates to move the needle in the global fashion industry, will be our partner organization for this campaign. We have also joined forces with The Georgetown Professional Society for this event and look forward to forging a long term relationship with their members.

With appreciation,

Gregory A. Kearley, AIA, LEED AP
Executive Director

2nd Annual Social Impact Design Celebration

On November 2, Inscape Publico hosted the 2nd Annual Social Impact Design Celebration. We came together to recognize the best in social impact design in the DC area and to support the mission of Inscape Publico. Thank you to all that attended and supported the night’s activities, making the SIDC a success.

Congratulations to the Excellence in Social Impact Design Celebration Award Winners:

  • Project: Junior Achievement Finance Park, "Storefront" Space by Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission & Junior Achievement of Greater Washington
  • Designer: Jess Zimbabwe, Director, The Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use, a program of the National League of Cities in partnership with the Urban Land Institute

Our work and your support, however, extend far beyond one night’s celebration. Your collaboration with and support of Inscape Publico allow for our work on behalf of Escuela Adelante, a bi-lingual school in Nicaragua where each child can gain the skills for his or her successful and unique path in life. Your contribution to our organization is forming the spaces that the Arlington Food Assistance Center will occupy. AFAC provides dignified access to nutritious foods through a Choice Model of food distribution to over 2,200 families a week in Arlington County.

As creative professionals, we are in a unique position to improve the lives of others through design. With the memory the SIDC fresh in our minds and as 2016 draws to an end, let’s commit to continue our work that is making a positive impact in our community. Thank you for facilitating our mission and we will see you next year at the 2017 Social Impact Design Celebration.

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Project Update: Seton Center

Inscape Publico is about to complete the schematic design package for the Seton Center, which provides child-care services, social and supportive services for senior citizens, and cultural and recreational activities for their local communities in Pittsburgh, PA. We recently visited the Seton Center to present the design for their fully renovated facility to their stakeholders. "Your plans give us hope for the future," said Sister Barbara Ann Boss, President of the Seton Center.

New Project: GuideStar

Inscape Publico has partnered with GuideStar, an information service specializing in reporting on US nonprofit companies. GuideStar's mission is to revolutionize philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving. Inscape Publico will be providing professional architecture services for a 7,200sf renovation of GuideStar's Williamburg, VA office. The renovated space will allow GuideStar to better fulfill their mission of facilitating a nonprofit sector strong enough to tackle the great challenges of our time. This project was started through a match by the 1+ program.

Project Update: Pyramid Atlantic Art Center Under Construction

Construction has begun on the new home for Pyramid Atlantic Art Center.  Pyramid Atlantic believes that prints, handmade paper and book arts are a source of inspiration, that experimentation leads to discovery, and that creativity is the cornerstone of the learning process. Their new home, designed by Inscape Publico, will allow them to fulfill their mission to inspire artistic excellence, promote educational enrichment, and foster community engagement through programs and activities that promote the appreciation of artistic practices. Construction will be complete in June of this year and their programs and facilities are open to the public. Visit them this summer in historic downtown Hyattsville off Route 1 at 418 Gallatin Street.

Gearing Up for a Capital Campaign for Your Project

Is your nonprofit considering a launch of a huge fundraising effort for a new building or to renovate your space to better serve your constituents? If so, there are many factors that your organization should considered before launching a capital campaign. There are resources available to nonprofits, such as Inscape Publico, that will help jump-start your project and raise the funds needed to fulfill your mission.

What is a Capital Campaign?

A capital campaign is a temporary fundraising initiatives to raise significant funds, above and beyond typical development operations, for a special project to grow an organization. Capital campaigns are often used as a fundraising tool to raise funds for capital projects, such as new buildings or “bricks and mortar” projects. Given the nature of embarking on the design and construction of new facilities, the need for a large investment in the present to sustain the future lends itself well for organizations to consider launching a capital campaign to infuse the organization with the assets it needs to make a lasting impact.

Advantages to Launching a Capital Campaign

Capital campaigns can be an extremely effective way to inspire donors to support your mission and even increase their current giving levels. Even after campaign gifts are made by your current donors, they often sustain their large gifts and increase their annual support. Capital campaigns also introduce new stakeholders to your network and allow your organization to acquire new donors and supporters. 

Risk in Launching a Capital Campaign

While the outcomes may be fruitful, there is always a risk to launching a capital campaign. Front-end investment of time and funds must be made to get your organization ready to begin a campaign. These costs may include additional staff, outside consultants, database software, and a feasibility study. Failure to reach campaign goals could demotivate current supporters. Additionally, the vision for your project may not be compelling to potential donors. To address many of these issues, a capital campaign feasibility study and schematic design packages from an architect are excellent tools to mitigate this risk.

Feasibility Study: Invest Now, Save Later

A feasibility study for a capital campaign is a tool used by nonprofit organizations to determine whether there is interest in the proposed campaign and to help shape the campaign vision and goals. Setting unrealistic goals and launching an unorganized campaign can damage your organization’s image and reputation. We recommend hiring outside consultants to conduct a feasibility study. The study can help your organization identify valuable information, such as potential leaders and donors, strengths and challenges, campaign priorities, and set a specific financial goal. A typical feasibility study would include over 40 interviews of a variety of stakeholders with analysis, benchmarking, recommendations, and an action plan. 

Depending upon the scope and the consulting firm, a study may cost $15,000-$50,000. This is a worthwhile investment before engaging in a campaign that could raise hundreds or thousands or millions of dollars to support your mission! This consulting firm can also work with you to help cost out the remaining expenses to launch a full campaign. The Association of Fundraising Professionals cites that campaign costs typically are 5%-10% of the campaign goal. 

How Much Will Design and Construction Cost?

An architect will help your organization cost out your building project. As part of Inscape Publico’s Nonprofit Collaborative Design Program, select nonprofit organizations receive pro bono professional architecture services to jump-start their projects. Inscape Publico takes the projects through the first phase of architectural services called "schematic design." With detailed schematic design drawings, nonprofits thoroughly cost out the project to help them determine their financial needs.

How Inscape Publico Can Help Your Nonprofit

Inscape Publico understands the mission and character of our nonprofit partners through envisioning exercises with a nonprofit’s key stakeholders, leading to the creation of the project program. We create an architectural vision for our nonprofit partners so that they can leverage the designs in order to obtain the necessary funding, through grants, private financing, and capital campaigns, turning ideas into bricks and mortar. The concept presentation, which include plans, building sections, and 3D images, allows nonprofits to share the vision of the future space with stakeholders, board members, staff, financial institutions, government officials, and most importantly, potential donors. 

Design > Fundraise > Build

  1. Design: Inscape Publico helps determine needs and vision and produces schematic design package.
  2. Fundraise: Nonprofit uses the designs to determine scope of campaign and inspire donors to give.
  3. Build: Nonprofit uses the funds to fulfill their needs and support its mission!

Getting Started

Nonprofits of all types are invited to apply to the Nonprofit Collaborative Design Program by submitting the form on our website to get the conversation started.

By Matthew Alcide, Development Director

Resources for Nonprofits

To enhance our efforts to be a resource to nonprofit organizations, Inscape Publico will be sending a monthly newsletter that includes a "Nonprofit Corner" containing information, tips, and resources for nonprofits.

Inscape Publico is also pleased to announce a new page of its website dedicated to nonprofits. The page outlines the Nonprofit Architecture Design Program and how their organizations can start the conversation with Inscape Publico about their design needs. A "Letter of Inquiry" form allows nonprofits to submit their information to Inscape Publico to start the potential partnership.

We ask our supporters and partners to please share with nonprofit organizations who may need professional design services. Thank you helping in our mission!

New Project: Seton Center

Inscape Publico has partnered with the Seton Center, an inter-generational day care facility located in Pittsburgh, PA. The Seton Center provides child-care services, social and supportive services for senior citizens, and cultural and recreational activities for their local communities. 

On November 9, 2016, Inscape Publico visited the Seton Center and organized a participatory workshop with stakeholders as the first step in the design process. This project will also be taken through the SEED Network process as Inscape Publico is one of the first Certified SEED firms.

Support Inscape Publico This Year-End

“Great buildings that move the spirit have always been rare. In every case they are unique, poetic, products of the heart.” Arthur Erickson

Now that the holidays are upon us and 2015 will soon give way to a new year, we can reflect on what we have accomplished this past year and be thankful for our blessings. The holidays are also a time to make a positive impact on the lives of others in our community. I ask you to support Inscape Publico through a year-end donation. It is a quick way to increase your 2015 tax benefit while supporting our efforts on behalf of our nonprofit partners.

2015 saw the completion of construction at 1919 Calvert Street, NW. In collaboration with Mi Casa, a nonprofit provider of affordable housing, and the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Inscape Publico led the design efforts for this single room occupancy development. 14 low-income individuals now have a well-designed, safe, and affordable home to call their own. 

Last month Inscape Publico and Mi Casa won a competition, sponsored by DHCD, to develop 12 net-zero energy and affordable town-homes in Northeast DC. Twelve low-to-moderate income families will become home owners and occupy these three bedroom, one and one-half bathroom homes. They will generate more energy, through photovoltaics, than they use in a given year, making these affordable homes sustainable in the short and long run. Providing affordable housing for DC residents means reduced stress due to a lessening of concerns that high housing costs will lead to foreclosure and eviction. It also supports the local workforce so that they can live close to their jobs, allowing parents more time with their children, while the community benefits from reduction in traffic congestion, air pollution, and expenditures on roads.  

The doors opened in 2015 for HIPS’ new H Street, NE location. HIPS received $15,207 of in-kind architectural schematic design services from Inscape Publico so that they can better serve their mission of promoting the health, rights, and dignity of individuals and communities impacted by drug use, sexual exchange, and chronic homelessness due to choice, coercion, or circumstance. Since moving into their new facility, HIPS has seen a threefold increase on client visitations from 25 to 80 per week. HIPS now has a medical exam room to provide health care services and a commercial kitchen to provide meals to those they serve. 

Your year-end donation will have an immediate impact as Inscape Publico will begin work in January of 2016 on the Seton Center, an inter-generational day care facility located in Pittsburgh, PA. The Seton Center provides child-care services, social and supportive services for senior citizens, and cultural and recreational activities for their local communities. 

In 2016 Inscape Publico will be continuing our relationship with the Episcopal Church of Honduras on the design of St. John’s School in Siguatepeque, Honduras. In 2015 we created the master plan for St. John’s new campus and saw the first building, the cafeteria, break ground. In 2016 Inscape Publico will begin work on the design of the academic and administration buildings. The Episcopal Church in Honduras is committed to providing the finest educational opportunity to all students and the new school, will allow them to implement a 21st Century model of education that will take advantage of the latest in technologies and pedagogical approaches to education. 

To date in 2015, Inscape Publico has totaled 1,723 hours at a value of $161,262 supporting over a dozen nonprofit partner organizations. Our work is only possible through your generosity. You are our partner and the act of giving contributes to the lives of those that are positively impacted through the work provided in the spaces we have created. 


With appreciation,

Gregory A. Kearley, AIA, LEED AP
Executive Director