15 Years of Partnerships: Darryl Mori

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Darryl Mori March 22, 2016


There was emotion and urgency in the program officer’s voice as she spoke with us on the phone. “Of course it will make a difference.”

She was reacting to a Designmatters project that we’d proposed to her foundation – the transdisciplinary studio course, SAFE Niños. We were seeking grant funds to help defray our students’ costs for such things as travel, materials and prototyping.


The Safe Niños students and faculty in Chile

The subject matter (in this instance, designing healing environments for pediatric burn patients) had resonated with her, both as a nonprofit professional and a mother. She mentioned she was so moved by our project that she had told her daughter about it.

Eventually, she not only helped us get the grant from her organization, but even assisted in convincing another foundation to join in supporting us.

Designmatters has been fortunate to have remarkable partners during its first 15 years. These have included such diverse organizations as VentureWell, Aquarium of the Pacific, the Autodesk Foundation Fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Surdna Foundation, and the U.S. Geological Survey—to name just a handful. The best partners do so much more than provide funding. They also become advocates, telling others—family, friends, colleagues, anyone who’ll listen—that design is a powerful tool for making the world a better place.


Darryl Mori is Senior Director, Foundation and Government Relations, at ArtCenter College of Design. A 20-year veteran of the nonprofit sector, he leads fundraising from philanthropic foundations, public agencies and other collaborating organizations.

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