Fourth Annual MICA Grassroots DesignFest Brings Local Nonprofits, Designers, and Students Together

2021 virtual event, sponsored by T. Rowe Price Foundation, supports 19 local nonprofits

SOURCE: T. Rowe Price


March 23, 2021 /3BL Media/ - For the fourth year, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and T. Rowe Price, the Baltimore-based global investment manager, are hosting Grassroots DesignFest, an event where undergraduate and graduate students from schools around the region, as well as local professionals, team up with local nonprofits on branding concepts, logo designs, graphic identities, and other design projects. This year’s event, taking place throughout this week virtually, has brought together 19 nonprofits and more than 130 designers, including undergraduate and graduate students from eight colleges and universities around the region—as well as participants from across Maryland and even South Korea, Thailand, Canada, and India.

The nonprofit participants for this year’s event work on issues related to arts and culture, education, human services, and social justice. The event presents an opportunity to contribute to the social change movement in Baltimore while collaborating with other designers and nonprofits that have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

DesignFest has supported over 50 nonprofits in its first three years. Annually, the event results in branding concepts, logo designs, graphic identities, and more for the nonprofit organizations at no cost— as well as the opportunity for the students involved to gain firsthand experience collaborating with professionals, working with clients, and gaining insights on the nonprofit sector.

“Throughout this challenging year, nonprofits have needed assistance more than ever. This year’s event continues to unite skilled artists and designers with these nonprofits in order to serve the community,” says Sheri Parks, vice president of Strategic Initiatives at MICA. “This event has been a great opportunity for nonprofits to enhance their ability to serve the community and for students to work alongside design professionals to learn about the ways these organizations are serving Baltimore.”

The T. Rowe Price Foundation conceived the idea for DesignFest by taking the “hackathon” model and applying it to an event that would engage the creative community and nonprofits here in Baltimore.

“Baltimore is in critical need of events like DesignFest to give design professionals and students an opportunity to work with nonprofit community organizations,” said John Brothers, president of the T. Rowe Price Foundation. “It’s important we continue this event as nonprofits have been greatly impacted by the pandemic and their need to market themselves has significantly increased. The goal is to support their efforts to drive awareness, action, and donations in order to assist the community as much as possible and give Baltimore’s amazing creative talent real-world experience.”

This year, participating students come from MICA, Stevenson University, Bowie State University, Towson University, University of Baltimore, McDaniel College, Dartmouth College, High School of Art and Design (New York City), University of Nebraska-Lincoln, UMBC, and Johns Hopkins University. Participants include undergraduate and graduate students, as well as professional designers.

Participating nonprofits include: Baltimore Hip Hop Historical Project; Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women; Bethel Empowerment and Wellness Center;  Black Yield Institute; The Choice Program at UMBC; Corner Team, Inc.; Farm Alliance of Baltimore; Fight Blight Baltimore; Holistic Life Foundation; Lil Laughs Corporation; Maryland New Directions; Mount Clare Museum; More Than A Shop; On Our Own Maryland, Inc.; PIVOT; Resiliently You Community Resource Center Inc.; A Revolutionary Summer; Village of Love and Resistance; and Women's Home Preservation Fund.

The 2021 DesignFest kicked off on Saturday, March 20, and will conclude Saturday, March 27. Event leaders welcomed participants in this video before participants began workshopping design challenges. For more information, visit DesignFest’s website.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The college enrolls over 3,000 undergraduate, graduate, and continuing studies students from 49 states and 65 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty, and other established artists.

Founded in 1937, Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. (, is a global investment management organization with $1.50 trillion in assets under management as of February 28, 2021. The organization provides a broad array of mutual funds, subadvisory services, and separate account management for individual and institutional investors, retirement plans, and financial intermediaries. The company also offers a variety of sophisticated investment planning and guidance tools. T. Rowe Price's disciplined, risk-aware investment approach focuses on diversification, style consistency, and fundamental research. For more information, visit or our TwitterYouTubeLinkedIn, and Facebook sites.

Amy Burke Friedman

Heather McDonold
T. Rowe Price

Tweet me: Fourth annual MICA Grassroots DesignFest brings local nonprofits, designers, and students together. @TRowePrice #TRowePriceInCommunity


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