Autodesk establishes foundation to accelerate design-led revolution

By : |March 5, 2014 0

SAN RAFAEL, USA: Autodesk, Inc. today launched the Autodesk Foundation, which will invest in and support the most impactful nonprofit organizations using the power of design to help solve epic challenges, such as climate change, access to water, and healthcare, among others. In partnership with the company, the Autodesk Foundation will provide select design-oriented grantees with software, training and financial support.

According to Autodesk President and CEO Carl Bass: “We have been delighted by the number of people using our technology to design a better world and solve global problems. These are the people who inspired us to align our philanthropic giving with our core business, to support more of these nonprofits to bring their ideas to market. We will also be encouraging the thousands of Autodesk employees to get involved in Foundation programs.”

“We believe that design offers humanity our greatest hope for addressing some of the most urgent, inter-connected and non-negotiable challenges of our time,” says President and CEO of the Autodesk Foundation and Autodesk Senior Director of Sustainability Lynelle Cameron. “We want to support and accelerate the design-led revolution currently underway, by investing in design-driven entities that are pursuing scalable solutions with measureable impact.”

Tackling Epic Challenges Through Impact Design

Impact design focuses on generating significant, measurable progress toward solving today’s epic challenges – access to healthcare and education; clean energy and water; efficient transportation; or the many other global problems we face. Through the Foundation’s Impact Design Program, carefully selected nonprofits will receive funding, and in partnership with Autodesk, Inc., software and training to create solutions that address these challenges.

KickStart International, one of the Foundation’s pilot grantees, exemplifies impact design. The Foundation recently hosted four of their engineers from Kenya to come to San Francisco for a multi-week design software immersion and fabrication workshop. KickStart designs simple agricultural irrigation tools that help African farmers start profitable businesses and rise out of poverty. “Before this training, it took more than a year and 20 hand-made prototypes to develop a subassembly of our water pump. Now we have been able to design, test critical prototypes of the next version of our irrigation pump with Autodesk tools, and then fabricate them at the Autodesk facilities. We are saving months of work and will be able to create better products, faster, from now on,” explained Alan Spybey, director and designer at KickStart.

The program’s first grantees also include:

MASS Design Group, which designs health facilities in parts of the world where they’re needed most. The Autodesk Foundation is supporting its efforts in rural Malawi to design maternal waiting homes, which are shelters for expectant mothers, enabling women who once waited until the onset of labor to travel to receive medical care and a safe hospital birth.
D-Rev, which designs and develops devices and products to improve the health and income of people living on less than $4 a day. Autodesk has helped fund crucial durability testing of the next generation of the organization’s ReMotion Knee, an inexpensive and easy-to-fit prosthetic joint for those in the developing world.
The Rural Studio at Auburn University, whose 20K House program challenges students to design energy efficient homes that can be built for $20,000. Autodesk is helping to fund the construction of one of these housing prototypes in rural Alabama.

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