In 2008, a conversation over the dinner table changed our lives.

We discussed how businesses rely on design and innovation practices to deliver products and services that people really want. We wondered why the risk-taking do-gooders of the world didn’t have access to that same level of creative and strategic design support to design products and services that people really need.

We asked ourselves about the role of design in social change, and how that might fit with our other loves like multi-disciplinary teamwork, leadership development, and creative problem solving.

This conversation kicked-off a two-year pilot project, and later, an international fellowship program for designers and organizations working together to create lasting good in their communities.

Small steps became big steps and big steps became Design Impact.

Five years later, we’ve worked closely with our partners to incubate over 30 social innovation projects, train over 1,500 leaders, and provide countless hours of design and innovation services to community development initiatives.


Design Impact is a non-profit social innovation firm made up of designers, community development practitioners, social entrepreneurs, and educators. We collaborate with passionate people, bring design and innovation practice to the table, and work together to design a better world.

Our mission is to:
INCUBATE projects that transform communities,
EQUIP leaders with social innovation tools, and
ADVANCE methods of creative community change.


We Get Our Hands Dirty (INCUBATE)

In this portion of our work, we join social innovation projects as intimate partners in their growth and development over time. We gather insights on the issues at hand, share tools to address them, and actively participate in day-to-day project work. We stick around for the entire life cycle, from the first conversation through to implementation and evaluation.


• A fortified snack to reduce malnutrition in India
• A social enterprise for a women’s empowerment center
• An accelerator that empowers small batch manufacturers and spurs economic development

We Grow Leaders (EQUIP)

We design and facilitate highly contextualized educational programs on innovation, leadership, and social impact for emerging leaders of any educational level, anywhere in the world.

Our programs are circles, not lines: we don’t simply deposit information. We know that humans learn by DOING, so participants join in conversations and active learning experiences that are designed to help them drive change in their own unique contexts. All of our programs provide participants with time and tools to work on their own particular projects—and because trainings happen over an extended period of time, participants gain a deep level of understanding and high level of independence.

260 MBA students learn and apply practical innovation, leadership, and social impact tools
10 non-profit leaders and 10 corporate employees work together to design local community solutions
40 collective impact leaders learn and use design thinking to increase community will

We Develop New Methods and Share our Story (ADVANCE)

Social problems are complex and constantly changing, and every project we work on teaches us new lessons. This ongoing learning provides us with a unique vantage point about the role of design and innovation processes in social change work, so we happily share the research, methods, and evolving perspective on what’s working, what’s new, and what’s next. We teach at universities, present at conferences, produce written guides, and do anything else we can to share our work, create new content, and extend its reach.


• A partnering guide for designers interested in working with non-profits
• A TEDx talk about the power of design in the social sector
• A college course on design for community development

We have hundreds of stories to share. Click below to read more about a few of our favorites.



<strong>KATE HANISIAN</strong>

Co-founder, Executive Director

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<strong>RAMSEY FORD</strong>

Co-founder, Design Director

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<strong>SARAH CORLETT</strong>

Community Development

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<strong>SHARMILA SITTHER</strong>

Writing and Resource Development

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<strong>Rashid Owoyele</strong>

Social Innovation Specialist

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Rashid Owoyele

<strong>Bizzy Young</strong>

Communications and Design Coordinator

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Bizzy Young

<strong>Brittney Kreimer</strong>

Operations Manager

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Brittney Kreimer



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<strong>THE <strong><strong>BOARDS</strong></strong></strong>

Board of Directors / Advisory Board

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“We absolutely believe that innovative thinking can and does change the world,
so we were thrilled by DI’s commitment that the brightest ideas should not be reserved for the luxury of the wealthiest few, 

but should answer the great challenges of our era.”
– Sam and Elizabeth Hatchett, DI donors


Two Easy Ways to Make a Donation to Design Impact

Design Impact is a registered 501(c) 3 organization, and all donations are tax-deductible.
If you are inspired by the work, value the power of design, or relate to the issues we are tackling, we hope you’ll consider making a donation. 

1) To make a secure online contribution to Design Impact by credit card or your paypal account – click the pretty yellow donate button below!

2) If you would like to contribute by check please send your contribution to:

Design Impact
205 West Fourth Street, Suite 1140

Cincinnati, OH 45202

For questions about making a donation, please contact Bizzy Young at

Join our mailing list

Click here to sign up and get the latest in DI news. Newsletters are sent out just once a month and we never share our contact list.

Spread the goodness

Through Social Media

Like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. Feel free to post links, videos, and ideas about design thinking and social innovation on our facebook or tweet us @DesignImpactOrg. We’re all for making new friends!

Through Amazon Smile

You can support us by shopping through Amazon Smile and entering Design Impact as the nonprofit you’d like to support. Using Amazon Smile means Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your purchases to DI. It’s the same Amazon, just with the benefits of donating money to charitable organizations!

Work with us

Contribute Your Skills

We’ve worked with businesses and individuals who donate time and resources to drive innovation where it’s needed most. In the past DI has worked with passionate people from companies such as Procter & Gamble, Kirsch CPA, We Have Become Vikings, SEEK, Powerhouse Factories, Kaleidoscope, and others. If you or your team is interested in collaborating with Design Impact, please email Bizzy Young at

Become an Intern

We’re proud to have had talented interns from Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, DAAP, and Xavier University.
If you are interested in becoming an intern or participating in a co-op experience, please email Bizzy Young at

Join the team

Design Impact keeps growing! Our team is currently looking for a Senior Social Researcher. This individual will serve as a key member of our staff, with specific responsibilities to develop and conduct research rooted in anthropology and design practices on projects that drive innovation in the social sector. We are looking for someone who can manage a project from beginning to end, building and maintain partner relationships – all while uncovering deep insights that will lead to social change. Our next team member will be able to design and implement rigorous research in tandem with partners and he or she will share our passion for social sector work and non-profits.

If you know of anyone who might be a good fit, please share this job description.
And if you have any questions about the position, feel free to reach out to Sarah Corlett at

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