MBH Architects Celebrates 30 Years by Volunteering and Beautifying Local Schools

12/06/2019 By Adrian Thompson

Those looking for ideas on ways to give back to their local communities can check out the variety of charitable initiatives recently led by MBH Architects in honor of the architect firm’s 30th anniversary. The firm’s four offices – Alameda, CA; Mumbai, India; Denver and New York – came together to serve their communities during “Impact Day,” a tradition that started with MBH’s 25th Anniversary in 2014.


Photo: MBH Impact Day. Credit: Misha Bruk

Principal and design director Andres Grechi says it’s the firm’s goal to celebrate every fifth anniversary with a day devoted to community service, as a way of thanking the local communities that have welcomed MBH into the fold.

“Each office has chosen a local nonprofit or school whose values align with our own,” he adds. “New York and Denver each selected a nonprofit that promotes sustainability, though in very different ways, and Alameda and Mumbai chose to help beautify local schools.”

Sustainable Supplies and Food

New York office:

The office partnered with Materials for the Arts – New York City’s largest creative reuse center dedicated to supporting arts and cultural organizations – by preparing the warehouse for “Shopping Days” by unpacking, sorting and displaying a variety of donated materials. These materials included excess fabrics, trim and additional arts and crafts supplies, all of which are saved from landfills and help to support nonprofits and local schools. 


Photo: MBH Impact Day, New York Office. Credit: MBH Architects

Denver office:

The MBH Denver office volunteered at The Urban Farm – a nonprofit organization that seeks to give back to the community by teaching respect for people, animals, plants and the environment by learning how our food is grown, processed and distributed.

“Currently Denver and the surrounding community are facing a large population influx, and as this happens our rates of school-aged children who do not have access to regular meals and proper nutrition also increase,” says MBH principal Dimple Manghani. “This organization seeks to help the public by empowering them with the knowledge to have their own gardens and use sustainable methods for growing.”


​Photo: MBH Impact Day, Denver Office. Credit: MBH Architects

The Urban Farm also works to impart skills and education that prepare participants to pursue post-secondary education and gainful employment in the life, natural or animal sciences, agriculture or environmental/sustainability fields. The MBH team assisted The Urban Farm by helping build stairs for chicken coops, mucking out animal stalls, gardening and helping to prepare the farm for winter. 

School Improvements

Alameda office:

The California-based office assisted the RISE Community School and New Highland Academy in Oakland with landscaping their gardens, painting new planter boxes, murals and classrooms and aided in organizing the teacher’s lounge, flex room, donation room and playroom. 


Photo: MBH Impact Day. Credit: Misha Bruk

“For Alameda, an immediate impact we saw at the schools was in the excitement on the student and faculty faces as they saw the work being completed,” says Grechi. “They were impressed by the transformation a space could have with paint, cleaning supplies and some elbow grease.”

Mumbai office:

MBH’s international office participated in beautifying and transforming the Little Hearts Learning Centre – a school for special needs children. “When we were looking for a project, we had two criteria in mind: One, it should have long-term impact. Second, to do something by which we can add joy in the lives of those who may be deprived of quality life,” says MBH studio director Prathamesh Kudtarkar.

[Related: Fräsch’s Sustainable Christmas Trees Are Colorful and Charitable]

The MBH team took up the tasks of painting educational graphics on a school wall, adding play elements to a sensory path that helps in the students’ learning, addicting turf floor to the school’s play area and creating a green environment in the middle of a concrete jungle. 

A History of Helping

MBH has built a history of creating volunteer opportunities throughout the year for employees to participate in community outreach. A few examples of philanthropic events Grechi says the architect firm has participated in the past or still do include:

  • American Red Cross blood drive
  • Holiday toy drives and Thanksgiving food drives
  • Alzheimer’s Walk and AIDS Walk
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Petchitecture, an event where custom-designed, pet-friendly habitats are auctioned

The firm has also been a longtime supporter of the Good Tidings Foundation. In addition to financial contributions, MBH offers discounted and pro-bono services to create art studios for underserved youth nationwide, like this one for Sol Collective Art Gallery in Sacramento, CA.


Photo: MBH Impact Day. Credit: Misha Bruk

“The one day of service evolves into an officewide mindset of lending a hand when we can,” says Grechi. “Whether it’s helping out a colleague on a project or getting involved in our ongoing volunteer efforts, MBH employees become more aware of the impact they can have daily.”


Photo: MBH Impact Day. Credit: Misha Bruk

Share Your Feel-Good Story

At interiors+sources, we love hearing about all the different ways those in the design community use their time and skills for good. From sustainable holiday décor to shelters for homeless animals, we’ve heard a variety of stories in 2019.

Want to share your feel-good story with us for possible inclusion on interiorsandsources.com or in our magazine? Send information and high-resolution images to associate editor Adrian Thompson at adrian.thompson@interiorsandsources.com.

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