Nau's Grant for Change

Among the ten finalists for Nau’s $10k Grant for Change are a design for an infant warmer, a mobile food and film project, a U.S. Marine youth fitness program and a platform that connects designers to non-profits in need of some visual know-how. Now in its second year, Grant for Change accepts any proposal that puts design at the forefront of driving social change. To give contestants an idea of what they’re looking for, Nau cites projects like TED, Engineers Without Borders and the Eye Writer Project, which makes me wonder how the all-vegetarian group “The Giving Tree Band” made the cut. The so-called “greenest act in America” has a mission statement that just might make you turn a shade of their favorite color:

Their album was “engineered exclusively with renewable solar energy at the world’s first certified carbon neutral building, where the band commuted over 500 miles by bicycle during recording.” It gets better: “The CD’s are packaged with 100% recyclable materials and the music is created with instruments built from naturally fallen trees and reclaimed woods.”

All tree-hugging aside, there are definitely some finalists that can hang with the likes of TED and EWB, like Truck Farm, literally a farm in the bed of an ’86 Dodge. The mobile garden visits schools and helps student groups start their own gardens and rethink urban agriculture. Then there’s finalist desigNYC, a group of designers focused on accelerating nonprofits, community groups and city agencies by connecting them with designers eager to donate their talents to the public good. “Design is not a luxury. Smart communication design helps organizations tell a powerful story to attract people to their cause.”

You can learn more about the ten finalists, who were whittled down from a list of over 100 nominees through a process of user input and a judging panel. The winner of the $10,000 will be announced on July 27.