Location: Bentonville, AR

Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program 2021 Request for Qualifications

Closing: October 1, 2021

Full RFQ available online at:

The Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program promotes the highest level of design in the development of future public buildings and spaces in Benton and Washington counties. Through the Design Excellence Program, the Walton Family Foundation regularly partners with local municipalities and nonprofit organizations by offering financial support for all aspects of design.

Over the last 25 years, the population in Northwest Arkansas has more than doubled, creating opportunities and challenges in planning and design. The Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program seeks to address these opportunities by encouraging the design of inclusive public spaces that put people first. Since its inception in 2015, the program has supported 15 projects across the region, from transformative downtown parks to municipal buildings to performance venues. A full list of selected projects can be found here. By identifying design professionals with relevant expertise, the program funds projects developed with a clear understanding of how people use and experience public space in the intersection of life and the built environment.

Following an assessment of the program’s impact in 2020 and the launch of a new Walton Family Foundation Strategic Plan earlier this year, the Design Excellence program places emphasis on inclusive community engagement and representation throughout all phases of design and development, and by utilizing collaboratively defined metrics to evaluate projects throughout their conceptualization, design and development. The program will also focus on smaller neighborhood-scale projects that build social capital, mixed-income and mixed-use residential design and housing typologies.

2021 Application Process
The Walton Family Foundation is opening a new application cycle for its Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program. This year’s application cycle places particular emphasis on firms with experience in inclusive and equitable public engagement, firms that would be interested in innovative neighborhood-scale projects, and firms with experience in mixed-income and missing middle housing. Now through Friday, October 1 design professionals, including those with experience in architecture, landscape architecture and urban design, are encouraged to submit their work for review at

Interested parties will be able to submit questions before the application deadline closes at Questions must be submitted by 5 p.m. CST on September 17, 2021. Answers to the questions will be posted to the website by 5 p.m. CST on September 22, 2021.