www. NEXT. cc, Inc.

Empowering Youth as Engaged Participants in Building a Better Future

aka STEAM by Designopedia   |   Milwaukee, WI   |

Mission is a STEAM by DESIGN eLearning resource that introduces what design is, what design does, and why design is important to our sustainable and equitable future. It connects topics with trans disciplinary activities that are fun and motivational across nine scales- nano, pattern, object, space, architecture, neighborhood, urban, region, and global.'s standards-aligned journeys connect student-led inquiry with place-based projects in the classroom, community, and across cultures, and continents making creative career connections. Students and teachers explore design thinking, research, making, and processes as integral to imagining a better world. offers family and student workshops, teacher professional development, and curriculum consulting. It makes learning fun!

Notes from the nonprofit

Design is the liberal arts education of today. Current STEM teaching (Science + Technology + Engineering + Math) supports students with the necessary skills and literacies designed to contribute scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technologists to current fields.’s informal E-Learning platform encourages diverse collaborative approaches to learning that engage the world to improve the world. K-12 teaching transforms these objectives into STEAM by Design Inquiry overlapping Science + Technology + Engineering + Environment + Art + Math activities to reimagine new relationships between our built and natural worlds by empowering and including youth voice. "Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones." Herbert A. Simon, pioneer of computer science and artificial intelligence shares "It is not about the world of design, but design of the world." Bruce Mau Massive Change Network

Ruling year info


Creative Director

Ms. Linda N Keane


Mr. Mark R. Keane

Main address

4200 North Lake Drive

Milwaukee, WI 53211 USA

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NTEE code info

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

Science & Technology Museum (A57)

Citizenship Programs, Youth Development (O54)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Workshops delivers Family, Student, and Teacher Workshops to schools encouraging digital fluency and eco-literacy with integrated place-based projects supported by E-Learning. Accessing on mobile devices (phones, ipads, laptops, etc.), enlivens teaching and learning with transdisciplinary activities and place-based projects. Students become curious to explore their interests and to see how artists, scientists, engineers, designers, and environmentalists learn from the world, interact with the world, and contribute to the world. Design offers ways of looking, learning, and making integrating traditional K12 subjects through design responses to changes in society, culture, economy, technology, the environment, and climate. participants develop attention, awareness, curiosity, compassion, and collaboration in their early years that empower their voice, and civic participation.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Does STEAM by a design-based approach to teaching complex energy systems result in greater student comprehension and extended engagement with conserving energy and using renewable energy sources than traditional instructional methods?

Population(s) Served

Greening imagination is a systemic process that needs to be nurtured in classes and communities. The best hope for learning to live in more sustainable ways lies in new ways of learning about human ecology and the environment across the curriculum. Experience of the natural world; learning how nature sustains life; nurturing healthy communities; recognizing implications of the ways we feed and provide for ourselves; and knowing well the places where we live, work, learn and play are essential to becoming eco literate. Teachers are in a prime position to connect culture of place with sense of purpose in the work of their students. introduces journeys, transdisciplinary activities and measures to green existing school curriculum, campuses and communities. supports teachers and students with age-appropriate learning opportunities based on State and Federal Learning Standards including the National Research Council National Science Education Standards, North American Association for Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence, Common Core State Standards and Federal programs such as No Child Left Behind and No Child Left Inside.

Green Imagination Workshops embed systems thinking in scales of investigation. Participants learn directed, supportive and collaborative inquiry based design strategies for working with diverse audiences. Participants mix physical and digital exploration of the the wonder and workings of the built and natural worlds while creating place based projects.
Green Imagination Workshops are held at diverse institutions of learning- schools, museums, libraries, museums and centers.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Our relationship with nature and the big outdoors has changed radically in the last one hundred years. Even more pertinent to the change from the walk to school is bussing. Almost 50% of the K12 population is now bussed to school. Imagine going from the interior of a home to the interior of a bus to the interior of a school with only thirty minutes to eat lunch, socialize and run on an asphalt play yard before returning to school, bus and home. Recess is understood as a place to ‘let off steam’ before returning to learning in a desk in a classroom. In addition, a recent NPR program stated that middle school children spend an average of only 15 minutes a week in unstructured outdoor activity.

Schools in the United States for the most part, provide nature deprived school campuses and curriculum. Most school campuses consist of buildings placed on grass lawns stripped of any native vegetation. Asphalt parking lots and playgrounds with recreational sport fields complete most campuses. Gone are any signs of the prairies or wetlands or forests that existed before the school was established. This school layout is typical across the United States. Richard Louv, author of Last Child Left in the Woods: Nature Deficit Disorder and The Nature Principle starts his books with the quote from a 4 year old, “ Mommy I’d rather play inside where there are more electrical outlets.”

Outdoor environments provide a critical opportunity to address contemporary challenges.
childhood obesity
preoccupation with electronic media
restriction from open-ended outdoor “free” play time
disconnection from nature

The Green School Yard Workshop is a collaboration between garden educators and architects to raise awareness, understanding and application of learning opportunities outside. Outdoor environments provide a critical opportunity to connect with National Environmental Education Standards and ‘leave no child inside’.
experience of living systems
exploration of interdependency
full sensory learning
fresh air
engagement with place

The Green School Yard Project shares research and best practices from environmentally and place based project learning schools that connect young imaginations on a daily basis with the big outdoors. The Green School Yard Project offers professional development for school boards and teachers in connecting curriculum to outdoor activities. Research has shown that teachers that are actively engaged in choosing curriculum to take place outside or more likely to continue to teach outside on a regular basis. The Green School Yard Project shares research from Sharon Danks, author of Asphalt to Eco Systems; Eric Nelson, Cultivating Outdoor Classrooms, The Outdoor Classroom Project; Sharon G. Solomon, American Playgrounds, Cultivating Community Space; and Roy Diblik, Small Perennial Gardens, Know Maintenance Approach; Richard Louv, The Nature Principle; and Linda Keane, co-founder and director of, an environmental stewardship place based project curriculum. It offers collaboration between K12 educators, garden educators, environmental designers, landscape architects and architects to raise awareness, understanding and application of learning opportunities outside. The Green School Yard Project initiated a series of national webinars to transform school design with outdoor learning in outdoor places on school grounds.

The Green School Yard Project offers design of + outdoor environments + teacher education and activities + children education and activities + free access to place based project learning. Professional development for teachers introduces changes in 21st century learning, opportunities for engaging diverse learner types, and place based project learning that can move teacher directed teaching to teacher facilitated and student led inquiry.

The Green School Yard Project empowers schools to create outdoor classrooms with multiple activity areas and works with teachers to deliver curriculum outdoors.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults, in its 15th year, received a National Science Foundation Grant for Entrepreneurialism. As part of the grant, Board members interviewed over 50 architecture and design firms for their Diversity Equity, and Inclusion policy, and for their Environmental Sustainability Governance.'s research shared a wide variety of donation efforts, internship and diversity scholarship programs, and some volunteer activism. Only about 25% had policies in place; the rest were in process. All AIA firms are working to reach carbon neutrality by 2040. Next is the lack of architecture and design education for youth in K12. Less than 1% of K12 schools offer architecture classes, and only 4 states have Art AND Design Standards. leaving 2/3 of the population who do not attend college without access to built environment education. The third challenge is the lack of outdoor education with most playgrounds being denatured asphalt. introduces Nature and the Built Environment together.

Population(s) Served delivers Teacher Toolkits for introducing Nature and the Built Environment across K12 Traditional Subjects through place-based project learning connected with creative careers. has experience working with Science, Technology, Engineering, Environmental, Art, Design, and Math iinstructors. Toolkits include free access to the E Learning Journeys, with standards aligned activities, and assessment and evaluation.

Population(s) Served offers Curriculum Consulting to middle and high schools that desire to expand maker spaces across the school campus and across traditional topics. Consulting involves introducing TOOLS<, LANGUAGE< DISCOVER, and DESIGN Journeys with trans-disciplinary activities linked to creative careers. University professors work with elementary, middle, and high school teachers to develop place-based projects that are meaningful to the school community.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people
Immigrants and migrants
Ethnic and racial groups
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people
Immigrants and migrants

Where we work


AIA State Illinois Nathan Clifford Ricker Award in Education 2019


National Creative Achievement Award for 2018


Green STEM Innovation Award 2012

NEEF National Environmental Education Award

National DESIGN MEDIA Award for 2012

AAO Association of Architecture Organizations

Design Media Education for CHildren 2011


Excellence in Green Building Education 2009


Merit Award for 2009


Urban Engagement Award 2009


Design Education Award 2008


Merit Award for 2006


Green Works Award 2006

City of Chicago

Design Education Award 2005

The Graham Foundation

MNI WICONI : Water Is Life Available City Workshop 2021

Chicago Architecture Biennial

A City Runs Through It 2019

Chicago Architecture Biennial

TEENS H2) w/ Friends of the CHicago RIver 2018


Energy eLearning with Scientists for Tomorrow 2016


Sustainability Design HAck with CPL YOUMEDIA & CAF 2015

Hive Chicago Mozilla Foundation

Education Award for 2012


Faculty Enrichment Grant for 2007

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago ago

Green Initiaitves: Green Roof Website 2007

CITY OF CHICAGO & SAIC Collaboration

Design Media Education for K12 Design Education 2004

Graham Foundation

Digital Media Grant for AAII CDROM& BOOK 1998

McGraw Hill COmapnies, INc.

Digital MEdia Grant for AAII 1997

Wiley & Son,Inc

Creative Acheivement Award 2018

Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture

Affiliations & memberships


A+DEN Architecture & Design Educators Network 2008

AAO Association of Architecture Organizations 2011

Careers in STEM 2018

Chicago Burnham 100 Educators Resoruces 2010

Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum 2007

Earth Day Educators' Network 2007

Future Lab's Info Cow 2009

Global Action For Climate CHange 2010

GLobal Green STEM 2018

Harvard Career Link Project 2009

HIVE CHicago 2015

Ingenuity Artlook 2010

Milwaukee Environmental Consortium 2014


The Connectory 2018

Salvadori Center 2011

Scientists For Tomorrow 2015

STEAMpop Australia 2015

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago 2009

University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee 2007

US Green Charter Schools 2009

Union of International Architects' Children's Built Environment Education 2011

WI Green & Healthy School Provider 2016

Wyland Foundation 2011

Milwaukee Water Connectors 2018



Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve K16 youth with design opportunities via e-Learning, in person, and virtual presentations. We offer workshops for families, students, and teachers as well as STEAM by design curriculum consulting. We believe it is the right of every child to be introduced to design in nature and the design of the built environment from wherever they are. Our mission is to connect youth to the places in which they live and learn to empower their voice and participation in envisioning and building a better, more equitable, world. We specifically reach out to diverse populations of students, ESL students, and students that do not have access to art or making opportunities. received several national and international awards. In 2022 its programs were commended by UNESCO .

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To assist teachers using eLearning to support Place-based project learning with their students., To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Teachers are interested in using eLearning resources to support their classroom teaching. To this end aligned Journeys to North American Environmental Education, Art and Design, and NEXT Generation Science Standards so that they can use's integrated activities to deliver standards-based learning. Teachers are fascinated by but report being unsure where to start. We created the ability to choose a scale and/or a subject (or combinations of scales and subjects).Upon teacher request we a Another improvement was the addition of related journeys to each journey to encourage continued inquiry. Finally, we linked's Youtube videos of workshops, FLKR albums of workshops so teachers could get an idea of what student experience and production could offer.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback


www. NEXT. cc, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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www. NEXT. cc, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr Mark Keane

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Term: 2007 -

Dr. Nancy Frank

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Tobiah Deutsch

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/22/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/22/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.