Eskew + Dumez + Ripple Employees Do Pro Bono Work On MLK Day

NEW ORLEANS – Like many business offices on Martin Luther King Day, the offices at Eskew + Dumez + Ripple, a multidisciplinary design studio, will be closed for business. 

But the its 50 employees won’t be resting on Jan. 15 with a day off. 

For the fourth year, employees at Eskew + Dumez + Ripple will participate in a day of service in conjunction with the federal holiday, providing a combined 400 hours of pro bono work to seven non-profits in the New Orleans area. 

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Employees will work in teams to provide a range of services for the non-profits. The beneficiaries of the day-of-service this year include:

Past pro bono design services from Eskew + Dumez + Ripple range from providing architectural drawings and plans to designing promotional material that helps promote the organization’s mission. These are specially-designed services that these non-profits may otherwise not be able to afford.

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“Its a full-scale work day, where our office is not working on things for our paying clients; this day is totally devoted to the pro bono work we are doing,” said Mary Catherine Bullock, an architecture intern at the firm and the director of the firm’s employee day-of-service.  

Bullock said some teams have already begun work in advance of Martin Luther King Day, visiting the community partner sites to coordinate design services and plans in advance.  

“In a lot of cases, we work with communities that the non-profits serve to get perspectives before beginning the design process,” Bullock said. “All the prep work for the day of service is part of the process, and part of our community engagement process is getting to know the people the non-profits are serving. I think this is a unique program not just in New Orleans, but nationally as well.” 

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“It’s not just drawing plans; we help with an organization's problem solving, and delve into their programs and overall missions,” she adds.

The specific community partners were chosen after a request for proposals was sent out in October. The firm also reached out to its clients, especially those having connections to non-profits in the greater New Orleans area, for suggestions.

 A past project was pro bono design services for Propeller, a nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs tackle social and environmental issues. 

"Eskew+Dumez+Ripple helped Propeller design a second site specifically for water entrepreneurs," said Andrea Chen, executive director. "Working with their team helped us envision how we could create a site that would bring together entrepreneurs, established industry leaders, policymakers and neighborhood residents to work on a common issue."

She adds, "Design work can be a huge investment for an entrepreneur or community organization, and we are grateful to have a local firm dedicated to realizing our ideas."

The day of service will include a lunch for networking, bringing together the company teams and the non-profits. A presentation of all the teams and the community partners will be held at the Eskew + Dumez + Ripple offices on Jan. 26.

“The different non-profits will get to meet with each other and benefit from those connections,” Bullock said.

“The day-of-service was chosen for Martin Luther King Day as a way to embrace the holiday by donating the office’s time and expertise; it seemed like an appropriate way to observe the holiday,” she adds. “Our focus is New Orleans. It’s our home, and the day of service makes our community a better place.”

-By Jenny Peterson, Associate News Editor, Biz New Orleans

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