Non-profit US design group Architecture for Humanity is to file for bankruptcy – but its work is set to continue via associated groups across the world.
The organisation’s board of directors say they will file the application in the next two weeks, but 57 international chapters have pledged to continue working under a new umbrella network.
Board chair Matt Charney said that Architecture for Humanity LLC would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the US.
He said: “Architecture for Humanity has had incredible partners and funders that made our work possible over the last 15 years but, like many charity organisations, we have had serious funding challenges.
“Our leadership worked to overcome the funding gaps to the best of their ability, but the deficit combined with budget overruns and an overall decrease in donations finally became an insurmountable situation.”
Architecture for Humanity was founded in 1999 and raised money to fund architectural solutions to humanitarian crises around the world.
At its peak it was receiving over $5 million in funding each year. Its work was carried out internationally by independent chapters, coordinated by a parent organisation in San Francisco.
But on 1 January this year the charity’s head office laid off all of its staff and ceased accepting donations.
The associated groups can continue to operate as they have a level of independence.
“Many of the international chapters of Architecture for Humanity, while they share a common name, are separate legal entities and will continue their work without pause,” said Charney.
“Additionally, the US-based chapters of Architecture for Humanity are managed by all volunteer directors, and those directors have vowed to continue the work of the organisation, though it may be under a different name. It is a testament to what Architecture for Humanity has meant to the profession that the work will continue.”
Supporters have taken to social media to pledge their continued commitment to the group’s ideology.
In a statement its board wrote: “Even with this sad news, it is important to remember what the thousands of Architecture for Humanity volunteers and staff accomplished and inspired over the last 15 years.
“In 2006, the TED Prize was given in recognition of this work and spawned the Open Architecture Network, a platform that allowed a community to be born surrounding open source design and connected the world of humanitarian design globally in the digital space like no one had done before.
“Architecture for Humanity has provided important public interest design services to communities with critical needs across the globe, including post-disaster reconstruction in the United States, Haiti, the Philippines, South Africa, and Japan.
“We encourage everyone to take a look at the incredible work that has been done.”