Through the Design Fund, the Design Center offers grants and technical assistance to help organizations purchase and effectively use professional architectural and planning services. Grants enable non-profit community-based organizations to hire architects and planners to prepare preliminary designs for strategic revitalization projects. Technical assistance – offered in conjunction with grants, as well as on a contract basis – includes help with project strategy, consultant selection and management, and design review.
In 2012, Mayor Ravenstahl established the Pittsburgh Neighborhood Renaissance Fund in partnership with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Department of City Planning, and the Design Center. The Neighborhood Renaissance Fund provides increased resources for design, planning and implementation of development projects in the North, South and West communities of Pittsburgh. The URA provide a grant of $300,000 toward the initiative, and the Design Center raised matching funds. The Neighborhood Renaissance Fund is administered by the Design Center and provides technical assistance, outreach, support staff and administrative oversight through our existing Design Fund program guidelines.
Although each project is different, Design Fund projects typically follow a similar process. Design Center staff will meet with potential applicants to informally discuss a project, and will provide guidance through the application process. Applications are reviewed on a quarterly basis, and in most cases applicants are notified within a week of the outcome.
Upon approval, the applicant is awarded a grant that is provided solely for the purpose of hiring professional design services. Grants typically range from $10,000 to $75,000 but depend on the scope of the project. In addition to each grant, the Design Center provides valuable technical assistance at no charge to grant recipients. Possible technical assistance services include:
- Providing a “short list” of pre-qualified design firms
- Assisting with writing a Request for Proposals and managing consultant interviews
- Developing a project team
- Providing ongoing design review
For a more detailed description of the Design Fund process, please read the
Design Fund Process Overview (PDF).