Articles Tagged with: B:Engaged

Ballinger Donates Over 5,000 Meals

Recognizing that this Thanksgiving season looks different from previous years, Ballinger’s community engagement group, B::Engaged, found a way for colleagues to connect virtually and safely. The result is a Thanksgiving Cookbook containing staff members’ favorite recipes and a virtual food drive for Philabundance, a non-profit working to fight hunger in Philadelphia. Donations enabled Philabundance to provide 5,000 meals to people in need.

Preview the cookbook

Good Food for a Good Cause

Members of B::Engaged, Ballinger’s employee community outreach group, volunteered time last evening to guest-chef at the Chestnut Street Ronald McDonald House in Center City Philadelphia. The organization is dedicated to supporting the families of children experiencing illness by fostering communities of comfort and hope.

At the event, our employee volunteers worked hands-on preparing dinner for families of the Ronald McDonald house by making tacos, hoping to bring joy and a sense of community to the evenings of these families.

Link to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House resource page

Trauma-Informed Design Solutions for Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services

Serving over twenty thousand Philadelphia residents each year, Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services (OHS) is a robust resource to the community. Ballinger was selected to develop conceptual design guidelines to create a more empathetic, trauma-informed OHS intake experience. Intake centers are the first point of contact for families and individuals seeking assistance. From there they can access a variety of  homelessness prevention, diversion, and intake services based on their immediate needs.

The primary goals of the project are to foster a trauma-informed service experience and to promote consistency and efficiency in future renovations of OHS facilities.  Ballinger’s design process included participating in user-group meetings and analyzing data from the Philadelphia Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation (ODDT), activities that align with the City’s “person-centered service framework.”

In collaboration with OHS, the Ballinger team developed guidelines for creating a cohesive environment for the City’s homeless prevention, diversion, and intake services, designed to improve visitor wellbeing, encourage engagement with the OHS system, and prevent re-traumatization. The design effort focused on the Appletree Family Center in downtown Philadelphia, which will serve as a prototype for future intake center renovations.

Built on the tenets of transparency, collaboration and empowerment, the conceptual design guidelines promote a safe and calming environment that also addresses wellness and respite for staff. A palette inspired by the hospitality industry features durable materials, natural textures and muted colors. Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour, AIA, LEED AP emphasized the impact of the physical environment on our behaviors, “As architects and designers, we recognize that the spaces we occupy influence our attitude and mood. By prioritizing openness, clear wayfinding, and transparency, the design reduces stress and helps participants prepare for each step of the intake process.”

The project was initiated by the PHL Participatory Design Lab, a multidisciplinary and cross-agency team of service designers, policy-makers, and a social scientist. The Lab uses participatory design and evidence-based methods, like service design and social science, to improve City service delivery for and with residents, service partners, City staff, and leadership. The Lab was funded by a Knight Cities Challenge (KCC) award from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and is administered by The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia.

Read more about how Philadelphia is creating trauma-informed service experiences 

Mentoring Matters

Since 2014 Ballinger has mentored local middle school students in partnership with Spark, a national organization dedicated to helping young people understand, experience, and pursue what’s possible for their futures.

Each April, Spark holds a fundraising campaign dubbed “Mentoring Matters.” The goal is for mentors to spread the word about why mentoring matters and why all young people deserve access to the people and places that inspire a successful future.

This year Ballinger volunteer mentors designed creative fundraisers that not only support Spark, but also promote creativity and spur new connections throughout the practice. Staff members and Spark students were invited to submit 5in x 5in “napkin sketches” for a mini-exhibition and silent auction in the studio. Staff gathered for a lunchtime “Chili Showdown” where chefs battled for the first annual Ballinger Chili Showdown trophy, with proceeds going to Spark.

As a practice, we’re proud to provide opportunities for staff members to lend their skills to enriching the built and social fabric of our community.

Ballinger supports the Community Design Collaborative’s annual Leverage fundraiser

The Community Design Collaborative hosted their annual fundraiser, Leverage, at the University of the Arts’ Hamilton Hall in Center City, Philadelphia. The program included remarks by Ballinger Principal Terry D. Steelman, FAIA and the Collaborative’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Miller.

Collaborative Board of Director Co-Chairs Richard Winston and Daryn Edwards presented the Leverage award to Connor Barwin, NFL player and founder of Make the World Better Foundation (MTWB).  The Leverage Award recognizes local leaders for their commitment to strengthening neighborhoods through design.

Barwin described how the Collaborative’s work helped MTWB reclaim Waterloo Playground in West Kensington, Philadelphia. “One of the reasons we are at Waterloo is the Community Design Collaborative. The Collaborative’s initial drawings and renderings are so important to inspiring people in our neighborhoods to see what’s possible and to believe that they can do it… and to inspiring organizations like Make The World Better to get involved.”

Proceeds from Leverage 2019 will help the Collaborative provide preliminary design services to local nonprofits, which use design to engage their communities and strengthen their neighborhoods.

Ballinger is a corporate champion sponsor of the Collaborative and over 30 staff members have volunteered time on Collaborative projects. Past Leverage Award recipients include Ballinger’s Terry Steelman, FAIA; president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, Stephen K. Klasko, MD; and president and CEO of the Center City District, Paul Levy.

Ballinger’s Partnership with Spark Recognized by Philadelphia Business Journal

In recognition of our sustained investment in the work of Spark Philadelphia, Ballinger was selected as one of Philadelphia’s Faces of Philanthropy by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour, AIA, LEED BD+C and Spark Executive Director Deirdre Hake will accept the award at an event on April 11 at the Crystal Tea Room.

Spark is a national non-profit dedicated to helping middle school students achieve successful futures. Spark views the transition from young teens to young adults as an important time to show students what’s possible, especially since middle school is the time in which students risk academic disengagement. Spark Philadelphia has created over 400 transformative mentorships since launching in 2013 as Spark’s first east coast site. Spark Philadelphia currently partners with 4 underserved schools in Philadelphia and 18 company partners, including Ballinger.

Ballinger has supported Spark through donations and volunteerism since 2015, mentoring over 25 students and participating in peer-to-peer fundraising. In 2018 Sara Ridenour joined Spark’s Advisory Board and Ballinger’s Fränc Luu was recognized with Spark’s Veteran Mentor Award for his commitment to the program.

The Faces of Philanthropy award is an endorsement of B::Engaged, Ballinger’s employee-run community service initiative founded in 2015. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective. The group brings together various volunteer efforts throughout the office, and provides a home for staff members interested in enriching the built and social fabric of our community.

Ballinger supports engineers of the future

Ballinger was a sponsor of the annual Philadelphia Region Future City Competition, an educational engineering program for middle-school students to imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future. Using the engineering design process as a framework, students develop a virtual city with SimCity, write an essay, build a scale model, and deliver a presentation.

Part of a national initiative to engage students in STEM, the Philadelphia program culminates in a live event judged by professional engineers. Over 100 volunteers gathered at Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor for the competition on January 19, including a group from Ballinger. Throughout the day, budding engineers in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades presented their cities to judges. Radnor Middle School was the proud recipient of the “Walter Ballinger Hope for the Future Award,” made possible by Ballinger’s financial contribution to the event.

The Philadelphia competition is one of 39 regional programs around the country, and draws students from Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, Southern New Jersey and Delaware. Future City is an educational outreach program of DiscoveryE, whose mission is to sustain and grow a dynamic engineering profession through outreach, education, celebration, and volunteerism.

B::Engaged Build Day with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia

Last weekend, 20 Ballinger volunteers took part in a build day with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, an organization whose mission is to transform the city and the lives of its people by building and repairing homes for families in need.

Ballinger Principal, Eric Swanson, celebrated a successful day saying, “It was an honor to work with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia and be a part of their long history of good work for affordable housing.  I was proud to see the energy and enthusiasm that the Ballinger team brought to this day.”

The event was organized by Ballinger’s B::Engaged community engagement group. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to volunteer their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective while enriching the built and social fabric of Philadelphia.

Jake Shoemaker, Ballinger architect and B::Engaged volunteer said, “Working with Habitat for Humanity was a rewarding event that allowed us to give back directly to the Philadelphia community. This was a very positive experience, and the hard work turned out to be a great team building activity for my Ballinger colleagues. I’m hopeful that this will lead to more community outreach in the future, building upon everything that B::Engaged has already done.”

 

Ballinger Sparks Inspiration at Discovery Night

Ballinger designers Margaret Nersten and Fränc Luu participated in Spark Philadelphia’s Discovery Night, an annual event celebrating the results of Spark mentorships.

Spark is a national mentorship program with the mission of inspiring 7th, 8th and 9th graders in underserved communities to succeed in high school and beyond. Each Spark student is paired with a mentor in a career field of interest. Together, the student and mentor develop a project. Discovery Night is a chance for Spark students to present their final projects to their parents, mentors, teachers, and community.

This year’s program, held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, included a keynote address by Philadelphia Councilman Allan Domb and a presentation by Ballinger’s Margaret Nersten, who shared her positive experience with the program.

“Exposing students to a context they’re not familiar with shows them that new opportunities are exciting. I love teaching students what happens when you work hard and focus on the things you love to do,” Margaret said.

Ballinger has partnered with Spark since 2014, inviting students to experience our workplace and work side-by-side with architecture and engineering professionals.

Ballinger’s Partnership with the Community Design Collaborative Recognized by Philadelphia Business Journal

In recognition of our sustained investment in the work of the Community Design Collaborative, Ballinger was selected as one of Philadelphia’s Faces of Philanthropy by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Principal Eric Swanson, AIA accepted the award on behalf of Ballinger at an event on April 6 at the Ballroom at the Ben.

The Community Design Collaborative provides pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in greater Philadelphia. Over 80 Ballinger employees have volunteered with the Collaborative over the years, and 14 employees are currently working on three projects. Ballinger Designer Bonnie Netel, who leads one of the projects said, “It’s been great to watch Ballinger’s participation gain momentum. Our work with the Collaborative is supported internally, and it’s horizontal; employees at every level contribute. Now that we have three ongoing Collaborative projects, we have the opportunity to exchange ideas between groups and create buzz around the office.”

The Faces of Philanthropy award is an endorsement of B::Engaged, Ballinger’s employee-run community service initiative founded in 2015. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective. The group brings together various volunteer efforts throughout the office, and provides a home for staff members interested in enriching the built and social fabric of our community.

Ballinger to Receive Community Design Collaborative Leverage Award

The Community Design Collaborative will honor Ballinger with its 2017 Leverage Award on April 4th at Pennovation Center.

Beth Miller, executive director for the Collaborative, says, “We’re recognizing Ballinger for their enduring partnership with us and the great work they’re doing in Philadelphia. They’ve volunteered through us to help local nonprofits… and encouraged their staff to do everything from digging flower beds on Love Your Park Day to giving high school students hands-on experience with design.”

The Leverage Award recognizes local leaders for their commitment to strengthening neighborhoods through design. As the name suggests, it celebrates the leveraging of sought-after skills of architects and other design professionals to help Philadelphia nonprofits launch life-changing projects in their communities.

The Collaborative has matched Ballinger employees with six nonprofit-led community development ventures. They have already donated over 500 hours of pro bono architectural and engineering assistance that would have otherwise cost $45,000—with more projects in the works. The Collaborative/Ballinger partnership has been significant enough to gain recognition in the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Faces of Philanthropy, which honors strong for-profit/nonprofit partnerships throughout the region.

For example, Ballinger recently worked alongside residents to re-imagine several SEPTA viaduct underpasses as colorful, bright, art-filled spaces that reconnect residents in North Central Philadelphia. Using photos and sketches, they polled over 300 residents about their favorite ideas for the massive viaducts. The imagery behind their designs—porches, beacons, and streams—were drawn from conversations with the North Central community.

“The Collaborative creates a hub where neighborhoods and the design community can work together. It provides a connection to Philadelphia, to see what my community looks like, how people live, and how I participate in that. It’s a great opportunity,” says Ballinger Architectural Designer Bonnie Netel.

Ballinger Principal Terry Steelman will accept the Leverage Award on behalf of the firm at Leverage 2017. The event will be held at the LEED Gold Pennovation Center, for which Ballinger provided MEP and structural engineering. Leverage 2017 will bring over 300 supporters of community design to Pennovation Center, a blend of offices, labs, and production space housed in a former paint manufacturing plant. Like the Collaborative, Pennovation Center is preserving Philadelphia’s authentic, sometimes rough-around-the-edges buildings and spaces and giving them new roles that create jobs and strengthen communities.

Philadelphia’s Community Design Collaborative Recognizes B::Engaged

“People need to look at philanthropic energies in two ways. Often they see how they are giving back, but firm leaders in particular need to appreciate that they get something in return. Their staff gets enlightenment and fulfillment that breeds esprit de corps. Leadership through philanthropic engagement strengthens interpersonal skills, decision-making, and growth. And the community as a whole benefits.” Terry D. Steelman, FAIA, LEED AP, Principal, outlined the far-reaching benefits of Ballinger’s volunteer efforts, in an interview with the Community Design Collaborative. The Collaborative profiled B::Engaged, Ballinger’s community engagement group, in a recent post.

B::Engaged connects with and impacts the Philadelphia community through long-term commitments and short-term volunteer work. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective while enriching the built and social fabric of our surroundings.

B::Engaged members participated in the recent Community Design Collaborative project, Making Connections: Conceptual Design for Under the Viaduct. Residents of a North Central Philadelphia neighborhood were reluctant to walk through dark, underutilized underpasses of a rail viaduct. The purpose of the project was to reimagine the underpasses as connectors, linking neighbors and amenities. The volunteer design team met with community groups and conducted research to develop design solutions to improve three underpasses.  The resulting report was used to generate funding to implement the improvements.

The Community Design Collaborative’s model is to provide pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in greater Philadelphia, creating engaging volunteer opportunities for design professionals, and raising awareness about the importance of design in revitalizing communities. Since 1991 they’ve matched communities with volunteer design professionals, to put their visions down on paper and advance to the next stage: gaining support, raising funds, and building projects.

To read the Community Design Collaborative’s profile, click here.

Ballinger Volunteers with Community Design Collaborative to Make Connections Across North Central

How do you transform a barrier into a connector? That was the challenge presented by the Community Design Collaborative’s Viaduct Project. Ballinger volunteers, along with a variety of design professionals, accepted the challenge and developed “Making Connections: Conceptual Design for Under the Viaduct.”

The effort included community meetings, over 300 surveys, and an ongoing dialog with the neighborhood. The resulting report included three distinct design solutions for three underpasses. The designs—inspired by the themes of “stream”, “beacon”, and “porch”—draw upon neighborhood history and landscape.

The report, which includes a site analysis and preliminary budget estimate, is being used to generate funding to implement the improvements.

The Community Design Collaborative’s model is to provide pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in greater Philadelphia, creating engaging volunteer opportunities for design professionals, and raising awareness about the importance of design in revitalizing communities. Since 1991 they’ve matched communities with volunteer design professionals, to put their visions down on paper and advance to the next stage: gaining support, raising funds, and building projects.

Read more here.

B::Engaged Mentorship Programs

Ballinger’s community engagement group, B::Engaged, is kicking off another year of mentorship programs. Thank you to the Ballinger volunteers who have contributed their time and to our community partner, Spark Philadelphia.

Spark, a national nonprofit, offers a unique program that re-engages middle school students in their education through hands-on apprenticeships and a Leadership Curriculum.

Ballinger also participates in Drexel University’s Co-op Program, in which sophomore and junior students from the College of Engineering work side-by-side with Ballinger engineers.

Learn more about Ballinger’s commitment to engaging and contributing to our community through mentorship here.

Ballinger Supports the 2016 Philadelphia Heart Walk

Ballinger is taking part in the 2016 Philadelphia Heart Walk. The walk is organized by the American Heart Association, the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Ballinger’s community engagement group, B::Engaged, has organized seven teams of walkers to join the15,000 participants expected November 5th. The walk kicks off at Citizens Bank Park and includes a three-mile route followed by a wellness festival.

Ballinger’s B::Engaged is a community engagement group that connects with and impacts the Philadelphia community through long-term commitments and short-term volunteer work. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective while enriching the built and social fabric of their surroundings.

Ballinger celebrates the opening of Puentes de Salud

Ballinger attended the opening celebration of Puentes de Salud, a unique clinic that provides healthcare and innovative educational programs for Philadelphia’s rapidly growing Latino immigrant population. Ballinger donated architectural and engineering services to bring the project to life, along with clinical support from Penn Medicine, and community advocacy from the renowned chef Jose Garces.

Learn more about Puentes de Salud (Bridges to Health) here.

Photo: Ballinger Senior Associate Ben Patane, AIA, LEED AP, Dr. Steve Larson, Co-Founder of Puentes De Salud, and Ballinger’s Director of Healthcare Planning,  Dwight Smith, AIA, NCARB, EDAC

Ballinger Celebrates National Mentoring Month

This January marks the 15th annual National Mentoring Month, and Ballinger is continuing its support of mentorship programs including Spark and Philadelphia’s Charter High School of Architecture and Design (CHAD).

Spark, a national nonprofit, was conceived to re-engage middle school students in their education through workplace-based apprenticeships. Underserved 7th and 8th graders interested in architecture are invited to Ballinger to work with professional architects, designers and engineers. Spark’s parallel in-school curriculum reinforces the link between classrooms and careers while helping students build skills necessary for success in high school and beyond.

Ballinger also partners with CHAD, which was founded in 1999 by the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA and is the first charter high school for architecture and design in the US. The school’s innovative program integrates the design process with a strong liberal arts education.

This month Ballinger recognizes the employees who dedicate their time to mentorship programs, including:

Gurveer Bhuta
Ryan Debski
Charlotte DiGiorgio
Kamille Ditcher
Rayma Garcia
Jeff Harper
Helen Joo
Cory Klawunn
David Lee
Stacey Lindbloom
Kate Lyons
Franc Luu
Margaret Nersten
Emily Perotta
Anthony Prousi
Sara Ridenour
Katie Seftas
Jake Shoemaker
Terry Steelman
Lindsey Walker

Ballinger’s employee-run community engagement group, B::Engaged, leads the mentorship efforts, in addition to organizing short and long term service projects.

High School Students Visit Ballinger for National Mentoring Month

Continuing its support of National Mentoring Month, Ballinger invited high school students for a presentation and tour of our office. Students from the Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square visited Ballinger January 12, as part of JTerm, a two-week interdisciplinary program during which upper school students focus on one subject through intensive, experiential on- and off-campus study. Principal Eric Swanson gave a talk about A/E careers and staff members met with small groups of students to explain their roles.

Ballinger B::Engaged Volunteers Clean Up Kahn Park

Ballinger employees joined over 400 volunteers at 75 parks across Philadelphia for a fall clean-up. They planted crocus bulbs, collected 25 bags of organic material and removed six bags of trash and weeds from Kahn Park. The park, located on 11th and Pine Street, is dedicated to Philadelphia architect Louis I. Kahn, who lived nearby on Clinton Street.

Ballinger’s B::Engaged is a community engagement group that connects with and impacts the Philadelphia community through long-term commitments and short-term volunteer work. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective while enriching the built and social fabric of their surroundings.

Ballinger Launches B::Engaged, An Employee-Run Community Service Initiative

B::Engaged is a community engagement group at Ballinger that connects with and impacts the Philadelphia community through long-term commitments and short-term volunteer work. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective.

Ballinger makes an annual monetary contribution to the Community Design Collaborative, a Philadelphia organization that strengthens neighborhoods by pairing design professionals with non-profits to revitalize communities. Currently 12 Ballinger volunteers are working with community non-profits through the Community Design Collaborative. B::Engaged is also participating in Spark, an apprenticeship program, and a mentorship program for students at Philadelphia’s Charter High School of Architecture and Design.

MBK_0942

Recent short-term service projects include Cradle to Crayons, Philabundance and Love Your Park. By bringing together various volunteer efforts throughout the office, B::Engaged offers both accountability and flexibility for staff members interested in enriching the built and social fabric of the community.