Last Saturday, November 19th, our Hawai‘i Wildlife Center had its official opening, and Will Ruhl and Sandra Baron were fortunate to be able to be in Kapa‘au to represent Ruhl Walker Architects in paradise. We were joined by our Associate…
We are proud members of the 1%, but before anyone gets upset, we are not talking about vast, personal wealth (au contraire!), but about the program founded in 2005 by Public Architecture with support from a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. Public Architecture is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in San Francisco, and The 1% program encourages pro bono service within the architecture and design professions, and helps connect architects and non-profits. Their inspiration is that “if every architecture professional in the US committed 1% of their time to pro bono service, it would add up to 5,000,000 hours annually – the equivalent of a 2,500-person firm, working full time for the public.” We renew our commitment to meet our part of this goal annually.
As we have shared in earlier posts, we’ve provided the bulk of our pro-bono support over the past four years to the Hawai’i Wildlife Center on the Big Island of Hawai’i. (See previous posts from November, August, May, and March). We have proudly contributed over 2,000 hours of our time – a true labor of love / aloha! – not to mention all the time donated by our affiliated architectural and engineering partners in Hawaii. How did our efforts help this non-profit? Our early design digital modeling and renderings allowed this under-funded non-profit to leverage its fundraising position by illustrating a serious, well designed facility, attracting substantial public and private support without the aid of a professional fund-raising team, and in the midst a deep recession. With those early funds, the HWC was able to build the building shell and landscaping, and the building itself – the physical embodiment and symbol of the center – became a compelling fund raising tool, its image and the progress giving additional donors the confidence that the HWC was worthy of their support, allowing the HWC to raise additional funds for the labs and interior finishes, fittings and equipment. In a very real sense, the donated architectural services made the mission of this non-profit possible, not just affordable.
As our fellow professionals in medicine and law work for health and justice for the underserved, we believe that architects have an obligation to ensure that a well designed, sustainable environment should not be a privilege reserved only for the wealthy (the other 1%!). As we complete our work in Hawaii, we’re actively looking for another great fit for our interests and abilities. We’d love to have you recommend any New England organizations that could use our design help to further their mission! Please do let us know if you have any non-profits near and dear to you that you think could benefit from our efforts by commenting below.