About Make the Connection

Make the Connection is an annual mixer that brings together professionals from the architecture, engineering, construction, interior design, and building industry marketing communities in Northern California for an evening of conversation, cocktails and charity—with event proceeds benefiting a different A/E/C nonprofit each year.

Who We Are

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 $79,500 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, RECON, IIDA NC, and IFMA-SF.

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.

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.

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.

RECON is a unique organization solely focused on networking. RECON's mission is to provide business development opportunities for the Commercial Real Estate and Commercial Construction industries, as well as foster relationships that benefit our member companies and create a healthier business climate for the markets we serve.

The Northern California Chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA NC) is an active, diverse and vibrant community of over 900 Professional, Associate, Educator, Student and Industry members. Our Chapter connects with our members throughout our geography, which stretches as far north as Redding, south to San Luis Obispo, and all of Nevada except Las Vegas.

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is an association dedicated to providing support to facility management professionals through programs of career development, education and research. San Francisco IFMA provides an informative and fun forum in which members foster relationships, network with peers and industry professionals, and enhance careers through educational development.