Design for a Cause: Joy Street Initiative's Impactful Journey

In 2018, I had a revelation that would shape the future of Joy Street Design. I realized that design could do more than create beautiful spaces — it could change lives. Literally. That’s when Joy Street Initiative (JSI) was born, and it continues to be a testament to our belief that the impact of volunteering is most powerful when it aligns with your natural gifts.

JSI isn’t just a nonprofit organization. It’s an embodiment of our core values, an extension of our design philosophy, and a commitment to giving back to our community. Today, I want to pull back the curtain and share how the Joy Street Initiative came into existence, its impact so far, and our expanding role (and yours) in this meaningful cause.

Designing with Purpose

The faces behind Joy Street Initiative

At Joy Street Design, we’re on a mission to infuse joy, comfort, and hope into every corner of our community. From the beginning, we knew that to make a real difference, we needed to collaborate with local Bay Area organizations that support disadvantaged individuals through housing, advocacy assistance, and education support.

We’ve contributed to several different projects over the years, but the biggest to date is our work with Ruby’s Place, an organization that provides emergency shelter for families and teenagers in need. These young individuals have faced adversity and need a safe, nurturing environment where they can heal and grow. We knew immediately that design could help.

Ruby’s Place: Creating a House of Hope

Ruby’s Place 2021

From our first project together in 2021 until now, our goal has been clear: create an uplifting, home-like atmosphere that would bring these teens comfort, dignity, and hope. So far, we have achieved that goal in several spaces: their living spaces and several bedrooms.

Of course, this initiative has always been a collective effort. Yes, we selected and personally purchased items to furnish the spaces, but we couldn’t have done it without the generosity of our partners, volunteer trades, and donors.

Our latest designs in Ruby’s Place included donations from organizations like Loloi, Currey & Co., and The Company Store. Their contributions, from rugs to cozy blankets and light fixtures, have been essential:

Just a few of the incredible donations we received.

While we personally covered additional expenses and did our best to reuse existing items, such as bunk beds, every contribution counted. As of mid-2023, 7 additional teenagers are off the streets and in a place where they can focus on rebuilding their lives. I can’t tell you how meaningful that feels to me.

JSI’s involvement doesn’t stop here either. We’re dedicated to continuing our work with Ruby’s Place, gradually updating several other spaces. Our next project involves renovating their kitchen. Despite a few roadblocks and permit delays, we’re more determined than ever to make it happen.

Renderings: Prep Kitchen (left) ; Dining Area (center) ; Main Kitchen (right)

An essential ingredient in living spaces that feel uplifting and joyful? Color. (I know you saw that coming.) You can always count on an abundance of color when working with us, and we bring that same spirit to our nonprofit work, too. From the kitchens to the dining area, we’re leaving no surface untouched. Floor. Cabinets. Counters. Backsplash. Ceiling. Lighting. You name it.

In addition to infusing these spaces with bright and cheerful hues, we’ve also put a lot of thought into the practical side of things. With the task of feeding a crowd in mind, we’re ensuring enough storage to organize all the necessary supplies. Once complete, these spaces will be functional and good for the soul.

Elevating Our Role (& Yours) in Our Mission

So, how does JSI’s work affect you? Usually, we would ask for a donation or tell you that 10% of Joy Street Design’s annual profits go to JSI. But lately, this hasn’t felt like a big enough commitment to reflect how ingrained this cause is in our DNA. So instead, we’re implementing a new approach…

Beginning in 2024, ALL of JSD’s design projects will include a tax-deductible statement showing your specific contribution to the Joy Street Initiative.

By choosing to work with us, you’re choosing to support our mission and contribute to a happy future in your own home and for those in the community. I hope you feel as passionate about it as we do! And if you’re feeling generous, you can always make a direct donation. ;)

Either way, we’re honored to have you as a partner on this journey. Let’s make an impact!

— Kelly

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