San Francisco-based Public Architecture, a nonprofit advocate for pro bono design, recently launched the second phase of its program "The 1%," which started in 2005 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The 1% program was created to challenge architecture and design firms to pledge 1 percent of their billable hours to pro bono work. More than 200 design and architecture firms have signed on.
Now the program features a matchmaking website—www.theonepercent.org—that connects nonprofit organizations in need of design assistance with architecture and design firms offering their time. Hundreds of groups seeking pro bono design work have contacted Public Architecture over the past two years, but there was nothing set up to address their inquiries. Theonepercent.org is a clearinghouse allowing nonprofits and firms to register themselves in The 1% program, identify the type of services they are seeking or offering, and connect with each other.
Public Architecture also has released a print booklet that corresponds with the website and is geared toward educating nonprofit groups as well as architecture and design firms about the concept and principles of pro bono design. The booklet was made possible by a grant from the "Ideas that Matter" program of Sappi Ltd., a global paper company.