To make big change, we gather the best ideas—from design and beyond.

About the Foundation

We believe design has the power to address the most urgent challenges of our generation, from social equity to environmental resilience. It is an agent of change. And yet, access to design—for communities who need it the most—is often limited.

Making meaningful and lasting change requires designers to transcend the boundaries that separate practice and research, academia and industry, the profession and the public. Making change requires designers to embrace vastly different points of view. Above all, making change requires collective impact.

At the intersection of research, practice, and community, the Sasaki Foundation is committed to advancing the value of design, inviting diverse partners to co-create change.

“Contribution is the only value.”

- Hideo Sasaki

Hideo Sasaki

History

The Sasaki Foundation was established in 2000 by friends and family of Hideo Sasaki, as well as the contribution of the firm that bears his name. The Sasaki Foundation builds on over six decades of work by Sasaki, an organization that pioneered interdisciplinary practice. Drawing on this legacy, the Sasaki Foundation continues to forge new paradigms in design and design practice.

Who We Are

Today, the Sasaki Foundation is governed by the board of trustees who represent a range of design professions and perspectives.

The Sasaki Foundation’s inaugural executive director is Alexandra Lee, a noted expert in public-interest design, who will lead the next stage of its development.

The Board of Trustees

Mary Anne Ocampo

Chair | Global Community Design & Social Justice

Mary Anne Ocampo practices as an urban design principal at Sasaki and lectures at MIT on subjects of urban resilience in socio-economically and environmentally vulnerable contexts. As Chair, Mary Anne will shape the Foundation’s strategic direction alongside Executive Director, Alexandra Lee. In addition, she will focus on advocating for social justice through design for communities around the world, while simultaneously expanding the design profession to welcome more diverse perspectives.

Mary Anne’s professional practice spans the globe, from Afghanistan to the Philippines. In both design practice and academia she works to improve urban conditions by creating more liveable, sustainable, and equitable environments with the partnership of local communities, academia, government, private industry, and the broader design community. She recently published an in-depth article in The Plan on her Philippines work with the World Bank and MIT.

Mary Anne holds a master of architecture in urban design from Harvard University, a master of architecture from Cornell University, and a bachelor of architecture from the University of Kentucky. She has previously held teaching appointments at Syracuse University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Cornell University. Mary Anne serves as the Associate AIA Director and as a board member for the Boston Society of Architects.

Christine Dunn

Vice Chair | Architecture & Creative Placemaking

Christine Dunn, a principal at Sasaki, is a senior design architect with over 20 years of experience collaborating across the disciplines of architecture, landscape design, and planning. Christine’s practice centers on working with mission-based clients engaged in the arts, culture, education, commercial, and civic realms.

With a background in the visual arts and creative placemaking, Christine’s design work is driven by explorations into new modes of sensory and social human experiences. Her commitment to design excellence is supported by ongoing research into design and construction practices, digital design, fabrication, and material applications. Christine is passionate about working with urban communities, nonprofits, and institutions on design strategies that bolster social equity, economic diversity, educational access, technology integration, and sustainability to serve the common good.

Christine is a member of the American Institute of Architects, NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Association, the Urban Land Institute, the Boston Society of Architects Board of Directors.

Patrick Bassett

Treasurer | Non-Profit Management & Operations

Patrick has been involved in non-profit financial and operational management for over twenty years. As Treasurer of the Sasaki Foundation, Patrick brings his experience in grant and endowment management from his roles as Controller for Research and Special Funds at Boston Children’s Hospital and Director of Finance at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Patrick also serves as the Chief Business Officer of Sasaki Associates, overseeing finance and operations of the firm. Capitalizing on his passion for innovation and collaboration, Patrick works to facilitate positive impact in the communities around him.

Patrick has 20 years of experience working in management consulting, life sciences, research, and financial services. He is a graduate of University of Oregon with a bachelor of science in business administration, finance, and biology.

Laura Marett

Secretary | Environmental & Social Resiliency

Laura Gornowski Marett is a practicing landscape architect and senior associate with Sasaki. Her practice includes landscape design and systems planning for cities and campuses, with an emphasis on resiliency. Laura’s work encompasses a range of scales and project types, from the design of public parks, streetscapes, and waterfronts to large-scale landscape planning and campus master planning. Laura displays particular interest in the design of vibrant urban public spaces through an engaged public process and resilience planning for vulnerable communities.

Laura maintains a close connection to academia and research. She has taught in recent years at the Rhode Island School of Design, Northeastern University, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She recently co-led the development of Sasaki's research initiative and exhibition: Emerald Networks: Reviving the Legacy of City Parks.

Laura is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Boston Society of Landscape Architects. She holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor’s degree in literature from Harvard College.

Executive Director

Alexandra Lee

Alexandra Lee is an established leader in the non-profit and community development sector who brings a robust portfolio of experience to the role of inaugural Executive Director for the Sasaki Foundation. Alexandra will guide the Foundation in establishing a more expansive research agenda and seek new partners to drive innovation.

Alexandra previously served as the Executive Director of the Kendall Square Association, Project Director for the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary, and was the inaugural Director of Public Programs for the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. Her first ties to the design community began with her role with the Boston Society of Architects as Director of Special Projects, a position she held for over fifteen years.

An active civic and community leader, Alexandra has previously served in roles with the The Boston Foundation’s Innovation Economy Leadership Council; the Mayor’s Taskforce on Women’s Pay Equity; the Transportation for Massachusetts Executive Committee; and the Extended Learning STEAM Network Cambridge. Alexandra is currently a member of the Massachusetts Audubon Society Council and helps coordinate Boston’s Christmas in the City, an annual holiday party for thousands of homeless children. Alexandra holds a Bachelor of Arts in art history from Wellesley College and continues her own creative practice through watercolor painting and chorale music.

How We Operate

Today, the Sasaki Foundation operates as an independent 501(c)3 private foundation. While it leverages Sasaki’s in-house resources and global network, the Sasaki Foundation is a separate legal entity with a mission, goals, and programs that are wholly independent from Sasaki.

The Sasaki Foundation has historically been supported by contributions from Sasaki; as it expands its programs, the Sasaki Foundation will increasingly rely on grants from like-minded foundations, corporations, professional associations, and individuals.

The Sasaki Foundation is located on Sasaki’s campus, in Watertown, MA within a new 5,000 SF flexible research and shared work space called the Incubator at Sasaki. As the interface between Sasaki and its academic, professional, and community partners, the Incubator will be a site of cross-industry collaboration. The Sasaki Foundation serves as the steward and convener for this facility: activating it with public programs, facilitating research initiatives, and inviting new teams and ideas to join.

Incubator

The Incubator at Sasaki is housed on Sasaki’s campus in Watertown, MA.

Incubator Launch Sponsor:

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