Calling all nonprofits based in Southeast Michigan: Design Core Detroit and Co.act are excited to partner on Nonprofits in Action: The 2020 Design Showcase presented by Co.act Detroit!  Co.act and Design Core recognize that nonprofits are often unable to invest in telling their own story. Through this competition, we are seeking Southeast Michigan nonprofits who value collaboration and would like to explore design as a vehicle for communicating the social impact of their work. It’s an opportunity to experience the story of your work through a designer’s eyes.

We invite nonprofits to enter to win a design collaboration that tells the story of your work in spring or fall, 2020.  Two winning nonprofits will be paired with a designer to tell the story of your work via a design installation featured in one of two Co.act window bays with prominent frontage on Woodward.  Winning nonprofits will be selected by individuals from Detroit's nonprofit community, service provider network, and local design experts.

Along with a prominent marketing opportunity valued at $5,000, each winning nonprofit will receive an honorarium to compensate for time spent on this design collaboration.  Here are some more details about how the Challenge will work:


  • September 12, 2019: nonprofit applications open
  • October 11, 2019: nonprofit applications close
  • October 31, 2019: five nonprofit finalists are chosen by jury
  • November 27, 2019:  nonprofit finalists will meet the their design teams at a mixer
  • December 20, 2019: concept briefs for the window design are due from the five nonprofit and design teams
  • January 31, 2020: two design winners are chosen by jury
  • March 31, 2020: design concept for both teams are finalized
  • April - July 2020: design concept for team #1 is installed in the Co.act window bay
  • September - December 2020: design concept for team #2 is installed in the Co.act window bay

Selection Process: Nonprofit applications will be judged on the following criteria

1.) Impact to your organization: how will this opportunity help you to showcase your best work?

2.) Collaboration: does the story illustrate a high level of collaboration in your work?

3.) Story: is your story a compelling example of the challenges that your organization is solving for, and why you do this work?

4.) Feasibility and capacity of nonprofit: can your organization spare a few hours to work with a designer, Design Core Detroit, and Co.act to complete this project?

Design Core Detroit champions design-driven businesses and their role in strengthening Detroit’s economy. It offers services to strengthen, grow and attract design businesses, increases market demand for design services, and tells Detroit’s design story locally and globally. Design Core is a department within College for Creative Studies.

Co.act Detroit is a hub for accelerating collaborative action in Southeast Michigan’s nonprofit community. They have paired national best practice research with local insights and context to develop a nimble and coordinated approach to realizing impact in the region.


Drinks x Design offers an opportunity for creative businesses throughout the city to open their doors and share their work with the public. Held in a new location on the second Thursday of every month from 5:30-8 p.m. the event allows attendees to meet new people, make connections, promote their creative endeavors and learn about other projects in their community. Event information is released one month before each event.

We are always looking for new spaces, talent, design ambassadors and partners. If interested, please fill out the following form and someone from our team will contact you. Thanks!

Congratulations again on your acceptance into Road to Readiness.  We are confident this program will have a lasting and positive impact on the financial success of your business.

You can pay the $100 course fee using this secure Submittable link.  Please note, to be fair to all other applications and scholarship inquiries, we respectfully request your full participation in all 5 sessions of the course.  Thank you and congratulations on your acceptance.

We look forward to seeing you in October.  Have a great day.

Congratulations again on your acceptance into Road to Readiness.  We are confident this program will have a lasting and positive impact on the financial success of your business.

We are able to offer you a 50% discount, bringing the cost of this 5 week program down to $50.  You can pay using this secure Submittable link. 

Please note, to be fair to all other applications and scholarship inquiries, we respectfully request your full participation in all 5 sessions of the course.  Thank you and congratulations on your partial scholarship.

We look forward to seeing you in October.  Have a great day.

Plus and Premier members of the Detroit Design Network are welcomed to share their industry expertise at one of five Design and Dine lunch lectures.   Designers can apply to develop and deliver a 50 minute lecture, program, or workshop.  The series aims to connect designers, share knowledge, and help attendees build a wide range of design-based skillsets.   

Topics can be on a variety of subjects.  Some key areas that members have expressed an interest in for future sessions include copywriting and content, business skills, graphic design, marketing, and more.

Proposal review:

Each proposal is reviewed for the following criteria:

  • Diversity of design disciplines
  • Interest and relevancy of the subject matter
  • A thoroughly developed proposal idea

Session agenda:

  • 11:30am - 12:00pm:   Registration and lunch
  • 12:00pm - 12:50pm:   Presentation
  • 12:50 - 1:00pm:   Q & A

Designers will...

  • prepare presentation curriculum
  • draft a program description and titles for promotion

Design Network staff will...

  • pay a $500 facilitator stipend
  • promote the lecture
  • manage registration
  • secure event space
  • order lunch

Session Schedule:

There will be five opportunities to present at a Design and Dine Lunch Lecture series.  The 2019 schedule is as follows:

  • April 18, 2019
  • June 20, 2019
  • August 22, 2019
  • October 24, 2019

Need some design work or creative services?
You’ve come to the right place.

The Detroit Design Network is the easiest, most effective way to hire a local Detroit design agency or freelancer. We’ve selected Detroit’s finest creatives and simplified the vendor process. You can simply submit your project to us, and get multiple bids from vetted, experienced, and reliable designers. 

Why use the Design Network?

  • Access to industry-vetted, experienced designers and firms in one place
  • Post one RFP, and receive multiple from qualified firms and freelancers
  • Easiest, quickest way to hire local designers and firms

How does this work?

First, you'll submit the Request for Proposal (RFP) or Scope of Work (SOW) for your project.  Once we receive your completed proposal information, we share it with the designers in our Detroit Design Network via our weekly member newsletter.  From here, the designers will directly respond to your main contact with their individual bids.

You can learn more about the process of hiring a designer here, and view a sample RFP template here.  If you need additional support, please email Cydney Camp ( and Bonnie Fahoome ( 

The Detroit Design Network's Client Services Boot Camp is a six-session boot camp program for small-to-medium sized design firms/agencies and freelancers, based on the fundamentals of client services for design service providers.
Boot camp sessions will be workshop-based and held in the evenings on Mondays and Wednesdays, twice a week for three weeks back to back. All workshops will include a speaker presentation, group or individual exercise, and Q&A. Session will take place at Design Core Detroit (460 W. Baltimore St., Suite 100c, Detroit, MI 48202)
Participants should exit the program with a broad understanding of what design client services are, strategies on how to immediately implement and provide improved or more intentional client service, tools and resources to learn more or dig deeper, and a sense of community and understanding with their fellow participants.
The program fee for the full, six-session series is $265 per attendee.
Each session will cover a specific topic:
   - Initial Pitches & Intro to Client Services
   - Pricing, Time Tracking & Invoicing    
   - Proposal Development
   - Contracts, Incorporation & IP
   - Discovery & Design/Project Briefs
   - Final Pitches & Introduction to Creative Co.
Program sessions are the following dates and times:
- October 28th 6-8PM - Intro to Client Services
- October 30th 6-8PM - Pricing, Time Tracking & Invoicing
- November 4th 6-8PM - Proposal Development
- November 6th  6-8PM - Legal
- November 11th 6-8PM - Discovery & Briefing
- November 13th 6-8PM - Recap & Intro to the Detroit Design Network

Applications are due by October 14, and each applicant will have seven (7) business days to pay the full amount of the program fee ($265). If payment is not received, your place in the program will be forfeited and we will notify the next applicant. You may apply again for subsequent cohorts.
Questions or technical issues? Please email

Design Core Detroit