The first Make the Connection (MTC) event was held July 30, 2009 as a joint collaboration of the San Francisco chapters of Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) and International Facility Management Association (IFMA), and the International Interior Design Association, Northern California Chapter (IIDA NC).


The MTC committee comprises all-volunteer members from each organization who deemed it vital that the proceeds from the event would be donated to a charitable organization associated with the local A/E/C community, consequently selecting Philanthropy by Design as the first beneficiary. The inaugural event sold out with over 200 attendees and raised $1,800, affirming the value to reach out beyond our individual circles to ”make the connection” for a worthy cause.


The next year, MTC grew to five professional organizations when the committee was joined by American Institute for Architects, San Francisco (AIASF) and US Green Building Council (USGBC). The event expanded to over 400 attendees and raised $7,000 to renovate community service organization environments for underserved populations. The annual benefit has been hosted by Autodesk Gallery since 2013, and by 2015, the MTC committee also included AIA East Bay, RECON Nexus, Association of AE Business Leaders (AEBL) and Drinks by Design, breaking a fundraising record of $15,735 for this one-night-a-year event.


MTC promotes the spirit of philanthropy while celebrating our sector’s collaborative culture that thrives in cross-disciplinary partnership, and reinvigorates the causes that drew us to the field. To-date, MTC has raised over $95,500 to support arts education; encouraging pro bono service in design firms; A/E/C mentorship; skilled trade pre-apprenticeship programs; low-income, first generation internship opportunities; and dream room makeovers for children with life-threatening illness. Read about MTC's beneficiaries.


This year's MTC is presented by AIASF, AIA East Bay, SMPS, The Care Group and CREW Network.

AIA San Francisco represents more than 2,000 members in SF and Marin County. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in the Bay Area by promoting architecture and design. We further this goal through community involvement, education, advocacy, public outreach, member service, and professional excellence.

The CARE Group is an all-volunteer, zero profit, zero payroll, 501c3 non-profit organization connecting Construction, Architecture, Real Estate, and Engineering leaders, while dedicated to raising money for underprivileged youth in the Bay Area.

The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) is a community of marketing and business development professionals working to secure profitable business relationships for their A/E/C companies.

Since 1984, CREW SF has been dedicated to changing business’ gender trends and closing the parity gap by giving women in real estate the support, resources and opportunities they need to connect, influence, and lead. As a chapter of CREW Network, CREW SF also provides our members with direct access to 12,000 commercial real estate professionals in 75+ major global markets.

AIA East Bay, an architectural community of more than 900 architects and design professionals, supports our membership in exemplary practice and professional growth. Our many programs include education for Bay Area architects and outreach to the community on vital topics such as earthquake safety, accessibility, sustainable design, and those architect-related issues that focus on how the Bay Area community benefits from well-informed design and development.