Cannon Design’s Senior Principal, John Syvertsen recently attended a ground-breaking forum at the White House hosted by A Billion + Change. This growing national campaign seeks to mobilize billions of dollars in pro bono and skills-based volunteer services from corporate America by 2013. Back in March, Cannon Design became one of the first 50 corporations to serve as an official signatory of the campaign– pledging to donate the firm’s most valuable assets in the form of interior design and architectural planning services. There are currently over 200 companies signed on, with Cannon Design as the only A/E firm represented that has pledged to be a pro bono sponsor.
At a CEO breakfast, leaders in corporate America, philanthropists, and key administration officials discussed opportunities for collaboration, and a call for corporate leadership to create and strengthen a pro bono service culture. The opening remarks of the forum were made by Senator Mark Warner, Honorary Chairman of A Billion + Change, and Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light. The forum then turned to a panel discussion, moderated by Jean Case, CEO of The Case Foundation.
Questions addressed included:
Can we create a future where thousands of communities tap into the skills and talents of businesses to address social needs? Where millions of employees grow professionally while leading change and advancing causes they believe in? Where billions of dollars in corporate service is pledged to address the most complex challenges facing our country?
After multiple panel discussions on skills-based services, public/ private partnerships conversations, social innovation and partnering with the business community, the invitees broke out into small group discussions.
John sat in on the discussion about how to improve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, where individuals shared their experiences and opportunities for using skills-based volunteering as a strategy to address the big challenges. He thought this breakout session was the most relevant to Cannon Design’s work– how the built environment is a key factor in successful education practices. He voiced how design is essential for real changes in education and how it should not be forgotten from the discourse. He also introduced The Third Teacher+ and Cannon Design’s efforts to incorporate design ideas in practical and useful ways for teachers and educational planners.
It is impressive to see Cannon Design contributing to the corporate/social responsibility discussion at a significant national level. Additionally, John was also impressed that, although the firm was one of the smallest companies among the corporate giants that signed on, Cannon Design created a new dialogue about design not yet present in any of the discussions. He is making attempts to connect A Billion + Change with other pro bono organizations Cannon Design has already engaged with such as Public Architecture’s 1% Program, the Taproot Foundation and Design Futures Council.
The forum was not meant to share stories, but to share best practices and had a strong “Call to Action” message. The new Open Hand Studio document is our own call to action, and a testament to how an A/E firm can tackle these global challenges through skills-based volunteering.
Susan Welker, AIA - 18 May 2013
Exactly! I did research during my Masters in Architecture about how more w...
Yen Cao - 15 May 2013
Way to go Brian! Congrats.
Air Monitoring - 15 May 2013
Really, its nice information, I read this whole and carefully. This covers ...
Don Wesley - 14 May 2013
Sara: What an honor, and so well deserved! You have always been a very sp...
Bob Farwell - 13 May 2013
Sara: Congratulations! I have always been impressed by your talents,work e...