Architecture for Humanity

January 22, 2015; Dezeen

A few months ago, I wrote a newswire about the fact that a group called Architecture for Humanity had found itself in an untenable financial state and was planning on closing. Yesterday, I received a goodbye letter that was about as graceful and gracious and authentically hopeful as such a thing could possibly be. It made me feel enormously positive about the future of its mission.

Read for yourself:

Dear Ruth,

You are receiving this final message because you are one of the countless volunteers, supporters, design fellows, and former staff of Architecture for Humanity. I thank you for all that you gave to this organization over the past fifteen years.

This week, Architecture for Humanity will file for bankruptcy. While we are saddened by the organization’s closure, the mission of Architecture for Humanity is far from ending. Our affiliated international network of designers and allied professionals have resolved to carry on their work at the local level. Over 30 volunteer chapters on five continents, now self-governed, have recommitted to the mission and are emphatically and collectively forging a new path forward. We are overwhelmed by this response, and could not be more proud of those who volunteer their time and expertise to bring design services to where they are most needed within their local communities. We encourage you to keep in touch with the Chapter Network by subscribing to their news feed here.

For the past fifteen years, the mission of Architecture for Humanity was so resonant because its values already deeply resided within its community. Nothing about the closure of an organization changes that. Please continue to carry out the mission of Architecture for Humanity through your own work and practice.

Best Regards, 

Matt Charney, Board Chair, Architecture for Humanity

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Here is what I am taking away:

  • One organization is gone, but the movement is not because the effort had many nodes. The network still exists, although the central hub may not. Very impressive.
  • These people care more about the work than about one organization.
  • They identified for me how to stay connected to that work.

Priceless.—Ruth McCambridge