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.