Photo by Divine Ramazani

DW Foundation

Connection + Collaboration + Community

Design Workshop Foundation partners with communities to catalyze transformative change through design assistance, capacity building and education.

With the full backing of our collective resources, we can co-create inclusive places through community mobilization. Imagine what we can accomplish together.

What We Do

Dr. Charles Fountain interns taking a site tour

Our strategic initiatives advance our vision of empowered and thriving communities for future generations. But we can’t do this without you. With a collective of partners and resources, together we can help realize this vision.

What does success look like? Transformational change requires a cohort of innovative thinkers and changemakers such as health experts, facilitators, community leaders and advocates, policy makers, non-profits, academics, allied professionals, designers and planners. We hold ourselves accountable and measure progress against the following areas of impact:

  • Advance social, economic and environmental equity in the lived environment
  • Build community resilience and adaptation
  • Diversify perspectives in design and planning

Strategic Initiatives

Design Assistance

Imagine if we accelerated equitable access to healthy, resilient community spaces. Design assistance bridges the gap between vision and implementation of projects for historically under-resourced and untapped communities. This collaborative model engages the Dr. Charles Fountain interns, a diverse team of students from across the country, in support of one community-driven site design project every year.

CASE STUDY | Greening Five Points/Boxyard Park Project (22 MB)

Collage of architecture and people over time

A historically Black neighborhood with a rich cultural history, Denver’s Five Points faces built environment challenges resulting from discriminatory redlining, years of disinvestment, and climate change. The Green Dot Coalition, community members seeking to launch resident-led “greening” of the neighborhood, requested support from DW Foundation to advance their community engagement efforts.

In summer 2022, DW Foundation and the Dr. Charles Fountain interns collaborated to develop a green infrastructure toolkit in support of the community-led, equity-focused urban greening effort.

The interns created a roadmap to communicate and advocate for the value of green infrastructure, validates residents’ stories of lived experience with data and analysis and identifies priority improvements to maximize the Coalition’s limited resources.

With these proposed improvements to the identified priority areas, the team estimates the ability to double the number of trees per acre, decrease Five Points’ heat vulnerability score by 50%, and increase the number of parks available to residents by 90%. DW Foundation continues to support Green Dot Coalition’s implementation and planning efforts.

Our Design Assistance Partners:

National Wildlife Federation, Green Spaces, Green Dot Coalition, NCSU Just Communities Lab, Hive House, Make a Chess Move Denver, Urban Sanctuary, Birdseed Collective, Denver Parks Trust.

If you are located in a region near a DW studio and have a project that would be a good fit for this effort, please get in touch at

Capacity Building

The 2024 Request for Applications is open!

Download the application information package and submit your application by May 10th, 2024.

Imagine if historically under-resourced communities could chart paths to a sustainable future. Capacity building is an investment in the future sustainability of a community. Often small, rural, and underserved communities don’t know where to start. Sometimes the challenges feel too big. Capacity building can bring people together to prioritize problems, look for attainable solutions and craft a plan for meaningful first steps that build momentum towards larger goals.

This effort addresses the systemic under-funding of public projects in historically under-represented communities and provides no-cost support for community teams. The Community Capacity Building Initiative positions communities to leverage internal and external resources to make progress on the most important issues they face and lay the foundation for long-term changes.

Selected communities work in partnership with DW Foundation utilizing planners and designers from Design Workshop. These teams provide specialized design, planning and placemaking expertise through a tailored, action-focused process.

What outcomes may result for communities participating in this initiative?

  • Development of planning or strategic document to inform next steps and support future fundraising and implementation efforts.
  • Design of events and programming to meet community needs.
  • Organizing “tactical” or “pop-up” urbanism projects such as painted bike lanes, crosswalks, parklets, temporary parks and installations.

Capacity Building Process

Education + Engagement

Imagine if doors were wide open for future placemakers, designers, and community advocates. Who will shape the communities of the future? How can we elevate the voices of thought leaders who will tackle tomorrow’s challenges and are representative of the world we live in today? This strategic initiative is launching in 2024. If you are interested in partnering with DW Foundation through our education and engagement work, please connect with us at

Partners: Denver Workforce Services: Metro Construction Sector Partnership

Who We Are

Team gathered for a design review

We are innovators and collaborators with shared values about co-creation and the impact we hope to achieve.


DW Foundation’s Board of Trustees provide leadership, strategic governance and work in partnership with the Executive Director and support staff to ensure that DW Foundation is successful in achieving its mission.

Executive Director

Sarah Konradi

Sarah Konradi

Sarah serves as Executive Director of DW Foundation, leading the strategic direction and vision for the Foundation’s relaunch and future efforts. Sarah is a landscape architect with a background in design research and nonprofit leadership and brings a breadth of experience building and scaling initiatives to advance health, wellbeing and equity.


Chris Geddes

Chris Geddes

As a community leader with over 20 years experience in planning and urban design, Chris is skilled at building trust and engaging stakeholders with an accessible approach. Chris has served on the Board since 2019 and as Chair he works closely with the Executive Director to advance the strategic direction and growth of DW Foundation.


Emily McCoy

Emily McCoy

Emily serves as a critical anchor between the DW Foundation Board of Trustees and the Design Workshop, Inc. Board of Directors, leveraging the firm’s resources in service to communities. As Principal of DW’s Raleigh studio, she brings to the DW Foundation Board a joy and passion for working with communities to create authentic and inspiring places.


Tarana Hafiz

Tarana Hafiz

Tarana supports DW Foundation’s development of programs and initiatives around community redevelopment, social justice and urban innovation. Tarana is a Planner and Associate in Design Workshop’s Houston studio, and brings her passion for projects that span public planning and design, equitable placemaking and urban research.


Alison Cotey

Alison Cotey
PLA, AICP, LEED® Green Associate™

Alison brings a core value of service to our communities to advance equity and align outcomes with community values. As an Associate in Design Workshop’s Aspen studio, she plays a central role in supporting DW Foundation to fortify its roots. With a background in landscape architecture and planning as well as previous experience in the non-profit sector, she is driven by a social responsibility to empower the voices of the local community and bring people together to celebrate the places they love.


Ashley Hejtmanek

Ashley Hejtmanek
PLA, AICP, LEED® Green Associate™, CDT

Ashley is a designer, planner and an Associate in Design Workshop’s Aspen studio. She lives at the intersection of land and culture, narrating the compelling stories of place and creating lasting impressions that benefit the public and the environment. Ashley brings her experience as a community liaison and rigorous strategic thinking to DW Foundation.


Mo Bachtiar

Mo Bachtiar

Mahendra “Mo” Bachtiar is Assistant Controller at Design Workshop, Inc. and supports operations, financial reporting and compliance for DW Foundation. Mo brings creativity and humor to his role as DW Foundation Treasurer – a key ingredient for success.


Grace Tice

Grace Tice

With more than 20 years of non-profit experience, Grace serves as Secretary for the DW Foundation, providing technical and administrative support to the Executive Director and the board. Grace also serves on the Human Resources and Legacy Design Teams at Design Workshop and coordinates the Dr. Charles Fountain Internship program at Design Workshop. She holds a Master of Music degree in Oboe Performance from Rice University.


Ben Fish

Ben Fish

Benjamin Fish is a landscape architect with over 20 years of experience designing outdoor spaces and recreational facilities. He mixes these professional skills with volunteer efforts and currently serves as the President of the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA) and is one of the founding board members of the revitalized organization. Ben has organized thousands of hours of volunteer trail building days in the Tahoe area over the last ten years, primarily in partnership with the US Forest Service. He has been described by the mountain bike industry as the perfect blend of builder, leader, negotiator, and ambassador. He brings his expertise in strategic planning, volunteer engagement, and organizational leadership to his role on the DW Foundation Board of Trustees.


Carolyne Levine

Carolyn Levine

Carolyn is Manager of Civic Engagement and Development at the Downtown Denver Partnership. Before joining the Partnership, Carolyn worked as a planner in Design Workshop's Denver studio. With a background in community and place-based planning, she brings a passion for public space and an equity lens to the Foundation's work.

Where we started

Design Workshop Foundation was established in 2002 by Design Workshop, Inc., with founding board members creating a vision to leverage the resources of the firm in service to communities. Today, DW Foundation carries on that legacy by working shoulder to shoulder with communities to expand the reach of design, planning and placemaking services.