How a coalition of Coloradans is creating the nation's first collaborative center for international development
In 2011, iDE brought a pioneering exhibition to Colorado. "Design for the Other 90%" featured 30 innovative, practical and extremely affordable devices— from ceramic water filters to solar-powered hearing aids— that could change billions of lives around the globe.
The exhibition drew its title and its inspiration from iDE founder Paul Polak. "The majority of the world's designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10 percent of the world's consumers," Dr. Polak pointed out. "Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90 percent."
Now iDE is leading that revolution in a new direction, by creating the nation's first collaborative center for international development. We've built a coalition of 27 Colorado-based organizations engaged in agriculture, education, energy, health, infrastructure and microfinance, among other fields. Our common mission: to advance sustainable solutions to global poverty.
Turning a 19th-century horse barn into a 21st-century headquarters
iDE and our partners will fill a two-story, 25,000-square-foot warehouse in central Denver, at the corner of 33rd and Arapahoe. We're working with the building's owner, the Denver Housing Authority, to transform this 19th-century structure — originally a horse barn — into a 21st-century headquarters for 27 Denver-based organizations. When the renovation is completed, the facility will house 120 employees, a learning laboratory, a workshop, a lecture hall, a commercial kitchen, and a social-enterprise incubator, as well as 5,000 square feet of meeting space.
A portal to the world
The center will host regular seminars on market-based development, convening students, engineers, business leaders, and other experts across the United States and, through a virtual network, in 65 other countries overseas. We're enlisting every major institution of higher education in Colorado— including the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Regis University, the University of Colorado, and the University of Denver— to develop research and training programs, on site and online. And we're teaming up with the curators of the History Colorado Center to design a series of interactive exhibits, making our new home a portal to the world.
This unique facility will energize the surrounding neighborhoods of Curtis Park and Five Points. Denver Urban Gardens, which is moving its staff into the building, will sponsor a farmers' market (in an area currently classified as a 'food desert'), teach cooking classes, distribute seeds and transplants, and cultivate a community garden across the street. iDE and many of the other tenants are also making volunteer opportunities available, allowing young people to learn not only how to grow food but also what life is like for families who have to grow food to survive.
How you can help
Renovating this historic building will cost approximately $3 million. We've secured grants and loans totaling more than three-quarters of our budget. Generous supporters include the Anschutz Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Gates Family Foundation.
We still need to raise $675,000 to complete our capital campaign. You can use the donate button below to help us reach our goal. Your tax-deductible contribution will enable us to open our doors in 2013.