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Volunteer Project Lead - Local Project Engagement

About Architects Without Borders Seattle (AWBS)

Founded in 2005 by a group of Seattle architects and designers in response to a devastating tsunami, Architects Without Borders Seattle (AWBS) is committed to providing pro bono services to build strong communities. AWBS is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit. Volunteers are fundamental to our work as all of our project work is completely volunteer led and assisted. AWBS has one part time paid staff member, our Executive Director.


AWBS Mission and Values

AWBS volunteers collaborate with underserved communities to deliver ecologically sensitive, culturally appropriate, life-changing design. 

Core Values:

  • Appropriate design solutions are vital to communities and the environment

  • Collaborative long-term relationships with communities are essential to providing effective design assistance

  • Exchange of knowledge and skills can empower both communities and designers

  • Interdisciplinary teams create innovative and insightful projects

  • Volunteer passion, energy and efforts make our work possible


Local Underserved Communities + AWBS

Since our founding, AWBS has engaged in local and international projects. In recent years, AWBS has identified strong volunteer interest in engagement with more local projects in Seattle and the region. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the disproportionate impact underserved communities experience right here at home. AWBS’ current local project, The BLOCK Project, engages volunteers to deliver site plans for permitting for ADUs in the backyard of homeowners in Seattle. This project addresses an urgent community need by providing safe and dignified housing for people experiencing homelessness. The BLOCK Project is an example of a local project which has  has been a successful engagement opportunity in part because:

  • The solution AWBS is providing is local in the City of Seattle

  • Volunteers can engage in chunks of time with a finite commitment

  • Volunteers feel connected to solutions in the local community


AWBS now seeks a Volunteer Project Lead to develop a proactive path forward to identify potential local design needs of underserved communities in Seattle. While the Volunteer Project Lead for Local Projects would not be engaging in design activities, this person would help the organization consider how to develop stronger relationships with local communities and spread the word about AWBS to organizations who may benefit from pro bono design services. 


Responsibilities of the Volunteer Project Lead - Local Project Engagement:

  • Learn the current work and processes of AWBS to gain understanding of areas of interest of our volunteers

  • Engage in landscape research to understand how AWBS might serve Seattle and the region

  • Identify ways to develop local relationships which could be beneficial for AWBS, mission based organizations, and underserved communities

  • Work collaboratively with the Projects Committee of AWBS to identify potential local projects

  • Report regularly with updates to the Projects Committee and attend monthly meetings (the first Wednesday of each month) as able 

  • Serve as an ambassador for AWBS, introducing our mission to communities or organizations who may be unfamiliar with our services


Skills and Qualifications

  • Passion for the mission of Architects Without Borders Seattle

  • Strong organizational skills

  • Knowledge of, relationships with, or lived experience as a member of an underserved community

  • A self-starter who can work independently and a team player who wants to collaborate with AWBS leadership and volunteers

  • Experience as a committed volunteer to an organization

  • A flexible ‘can-do’ approach to work and life. Comfortable working towards an outcome that will change as more information is gathered

Time Commitment

Approximately 10 hours per month, 2 hours each month to participate in our monthly Projects Committee meeting as able, plus time for research, community connection, and collaboration with AWBS members. Commitment to continue in the role through the end of 2021.

Application Process

To apply, please complete the application available HERE. Questions? Reach out to AWBS Executive Director Melissa K Neher at

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