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Engage communities and make an impact on neighborhoods throughout greater Philadelphia.  
Volunteers get feedback on pro bono work in progress.
Serve on a Core Grant team

Work directly with nonprofits and community members to provide preliminary design services. Volunteers are Philadelphia area architects, planners, landscape architects, engineers, interior designers, preservationists, sustainability consultants, development consultants, artists, graphic designers, community engagement specialists, cost estimators, and others, and range from industry veterans to those new to their field. If you're a firm, you can put together a team drawn from your staff. If you're an individual, we'll place you on a team with other professionals.

After completing a volunteer application, you'll receive quarterly emails with upcoming volunteer opportunities and you may respond to express your interest in a specific opportunity. Once on a Core Grant team, a Collaborative staff member will introduce you to the project. Then you will visit the site and meet with the nonprofit client. While the process varies based on the unique needs of each nonprofit, you’ll likely be participating in team meetings, facilitating community meetings, presenting at peer review meetings, and developing drawings to communicate conceptual designs.

Core Grant Team volunteering includes:

  • Multidisciplinary opportunities – all fields related to design, development, and community engagement
  • Individuals and Firms
  • 6-month timeframe (typical)
  • Mentoring opportunities for individuals
  • Summer intern program opportunities for firms
  • Design/build opportunities
  • Architecture in Education opportunities

Learn more about Core Grants

Join us for Core Grant review meetings

All Core Grant projects have a peer review component, where an in-progress Core Grant team informally presents its work to Collaborative volunteer peer reviewers. As a reviewer, you'll have the opportunity to provide feedback, learn about current projects, and meet other volunteers. We host these meetings twice a month – every first and third Tuesday at noon. Once you complete a volunteer application, you’ll receive information about all of our volunteer opportunities, including Core Grant review meetings. Being a reviewer does not require an official or minimum commitment; participate whenever you're available.

Core Grant Review volunteering includes:

  • Multidisciplinary opportunities – all fields related to design, development, and community engagement
  • Individuals
  • 1-hour lunchtime meetings

Learn more about Core Grants

Help us provide Technical Assistance services

Engage directly with nonprofits, individually or with one other volunteer, to provide a limited scope of services in a short timeframe. Volunteers typically include experienced architects, landscape architects, and engineers, but may also include other design, development and community engagement professionals. After completing a volunteer application, you’ll receive information about all volunteer opportunities including calls for technical assistance.

Technical Assistance volunteering includes:

  • Multidisciplinary opportunities – all fields related to design, development, and community engagement
  • Individuals and Firms
  • 1-2 month timeframe (typical)

Learn more about Technical Assistance

Discover more ways to volunteer

The Collaborative offers other opportunities to volunteer such as serving on a committee, being a Collaborative Ambassador, or assisting us with special events.

Committee Members
Help us make strategic decisions by serving on one of the following committees:

  • Board of Directors
  • Advisory Council
  • Design Services
  • Governance
  • Resource Development and Communications

Event Volunteers
Help us plan and implement one (or more) of the following events:

  • Leverage
  • Bowling Ball
  • Special Programs

Collaborative Ambassadors
Help us get the word out about the Collaborative by representing us at any one (or more) of the following:

  • Board, Advisory Council, Committee, Task Force meetings that you already attend
  • Community meetings and events that you already attend
  • Community meetings and events in neighborhoods that the Collaborative has not yet served
  • Desk-side briefings with elected officials

Other Opportunities
Help us achieve our mission and goals by providing:

  • Administrative assistance
  • Communications/PR/graphic design assistance

If you’d like to find out more about ways to get involved, contact Tya Winn, at or 215-587-9290. 


News and Happenings
Featured Volunteer: Erike DeVeyra, Assoc, AIA SEED
Meet Erike DeVeyra, long time very involved Collaborative volunteer. Erike is passionate about the effects of design on the environment and its impact on the community. Not only...
See Article
Volunteer Profile: Amanda Bonelli, Architect
Meet Amanda, architect at Bright Common and one of the Collobarative's volunteers. Through her work with the Collaborative, Amanda was able to step out of her comfort zone,...
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Volunteer Profile: Yoona Ahn
Yoona Ahn is a City Planner and Urban Designer who believes design is a language that is shared by everyone and is intuitive to humans. She views deisgn as a tool or language that...
See Article

Our Design Process

Nonprofit partnership and community engagement are hallmarks of our design process.

Nonprofit proposes an idea

Collaborative matches nonprofit with volunteer design team

Design team, nonprofit and community collaborate

Design team creates conceptual design

Nonprofit and community give feedback

Final conceptual design and recommendations compiled

Nonprofit moves forward with project



More Info