Autodesk logoIn late September at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York, Autodesk launched the Autodesk Technology Impact program. This new philanthropic program will provide software donations to nonprofit organizations in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico that are directly using design to create a better world. Through this program, qualifying nonprofit organizations can receive initial grants of two professional software suites—valued at up to $15,000 worth of software - for $30 per license.

Available Software Suites

  • Autodesk Building Design Suite Premium – This is 3D building design software for simulations, architectural drawing, contractors, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineers. This suite contains 11 programs including five different computer aided design (CAD) programs.
  • Autodesk Product Design Suite Premium - This is 3D product design, drafting, and simulation software for designing tools of all sorts, mechanical devices, automotive products, and consumer products. This suite contains 13 programs including Autodesk AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor.
  • Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite Premium - This is design and modeling software for larger civil engineering projects like transportation, land use, and water projects. It is useful for urban planning, designing utilities, and large construction planning.
  • Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite Ultimate - This is 3D animation software for creating film, video, TV, and game special effects. Autodesk entertainment products have won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for several years. This suite has five programs. They were used for visual effects, for instance, in the James Cameron film, Avatar. This software even creates crowd simulations. This software suite is available for both Windows and Mac.

All these software suites are professional level design software. If you are selected for the donation, the software is download-only. The Autodesk software runs best on recent vintage 64 bit Windows 7 or Windows 8 PCs with a good video card and lots of RAM memory (8 GB minimum).

Eligibility

Find the eligibility criteria for applying for the software grants here. Essentially the program is for 501(c)(3) nonprofits or Canadian charities that have a demonstrable need for design and engineering software. Organizations that promote a religious belief or faith as a primary mission and also those that discriminate on the basis of race, gender, orientation, religion etc are ineligible. You’ll be asked to clearly demonstrate that the use of Autodesk software will increase the impact of your ideas and innovations. To apply, simply complete and submit a brief online application. There is no word limit for the field that asks you to describe your program and how you plan to use the software. Find a list of some recipient organizations here.

Autodesk’s Philanthropy Plans

Autodesk is committed to supporting the wealth of innovation happening in the nonprofit sector. Their philanthropic goal is to ensure nonprofit organizations making the world a better place through design have ready access to their software. In the first year of this program, they will provide 1,000 licenses of their four most popular professional suites to charities. This represents a $7.5 million investment in the nonprofit design sector.

John Cary, executive director of the Autodesk Foundation, says, “Our goal is to equip at least 500 nonprofit organizations with our software in the first year of operation. The work by these organizations represents the full spectrum of design with social impact—some are building hospitals, housing, and schools around the world, while others are producing low-cost, life-saving healthcare devices.” 

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Image: Autodesk