On campuses across the country,

interdisciplinary student teams collaborate with faculty, staff, and community leaders to address challenges in their local communities. DFA uses design thinking for positive impact.

Our tools, model, and coaching instill community, encourage creativity, and build student capacity to take on any challenge. Together, we use design as a force for good.


Local Teams Create Positive Impact


Tackling challenges with local partners


Generating solutions with mentors 



Putting ideas into practice 

It's a unique approach to social challenges - and it works.


Where We Work

Design for America is proudly housed at Northwestern University. Student-led studios are currently on 29 college and university campuses around the country, hosting 125 teams with over 1000 volunteer members, mentors, and community leaders. Studio members share ideas, resources, and best practices, while being supported by a network of more than 9,000 partners and fans.

Don't see a studio nearby?

Our Impact


students engaged


projects launched


secured to scale ideas

Founded at Northwestern University

"Design for America encapsulates the power of design innovation. Students from multiple disciplines come together to address real problems using design thinking to create impact. It benefits everyone."

- Julio M. Ottino, Dean, McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University

Our Partners

DFA is possible in part because of the generous support from: 



DFA Partners with the James Dyson Foundation for the Second Year!

DFA Partners with the James Dyson Foundation for the Second Year!

May 17, 2016

We are excited to announce our partnership with the James Dyson Foundation for the second year in a row! About the James Dyson Foundation (JDF) JDF inspires the next generation of designers and engineers. JDF and DFA both inspire young people to try new things, learn through building, and solve real problems. The James Dyson … Read More

Luna Lights Moving Forward in 2016

Luna Lights Moving Forward in 2016

April 28, 2016

2015 was a great year for Luna Lights! The DFA Northwestern project turned health startup participated in the Healthbox Accelerator, where they fleshed out their business model and developed their lighting design and cloud-based data analytics. The mission of Luna Lights is to prevent and reduce nighttime falls in the older adult population. According to … Read More

DFA Impact Grants Spring 2016

DFA Impact Grants Spring 2016

March 25, 2016

APPLICATIONS FOR DFA IMPACT GRANTS ARE NOW OPEN! DFA is excited to offer DFA Impact Grants to support DFA studios and projects in their quest to build community, create social impact, and improve their problem solving capacity. Our hope is that financial barriers are eliminated and all DFA members have what they need to make an … Read More