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Anyone with Pro-Bono stories?

  • 1.  Anyone with Pro-Bono stories?

    Posted 11-03-2017 00:17
    Hello All ---

    After rooting-through some old files, I found some of my Pro-Bono projects, for assorted charitable groups and non-profits, and wondered how others have done with such work.

    My experiences were, sad to say, high on service and low on appreciation.

    Any good stories out there?

    Thanks ---
    william j. devlin aia, inc.,
    Springfield, MA

  • 2.  RE: Anyone with Pro-Bono stories?

    Posted 11-06-2017 17:31
    I have found it is a mixed bag.  Some of each. 

    The ones that really appreciate my time make it worth-while. 

    My only complaint is they all soon forget what you did for them. Then when there is a paying job you are lucky if you get invited to provide a proposal.

    John A. Feick, AIA, CSI, LEED AP
    224 East Water Street
    Sandusky, Ohio 44870
    419-625-2554 (w)
    419-656-3017 (c)

  • 3.  RE: Anyone with Pro-Bono stories?

    Posted 11-06-2017 18:49
    A mixed bag, but mostly VERY POSITIVE!  The ones that stand out in my mind include:
    (1) An addition on a vacation home originally designed and hand-built by a prominent and much respected architect in our community that had been acquired by a non-profit for use as a "retreat" after the original owner's death.  The new not-for-profit owner couldn't afford to pay us, but occasionally offered us a weekend stay -- very nice to spend a relaxing weekend in the woods in an especially architecturally interesting house!
    (2) A barrier-free addition on the home of a high school classmate who had a paralyzing spinal injury in his 40's.  Our firm designed the addition, and the community built it with 100% donated materials and labor -- very gratifying!
    (3) Remodeling design services for domestic violence shelters.  Typically these are grassroots, shoestring operations.  BUT that experience enabled us to have qualifications for the paying jobs when those came along, as well as great recommendations from organizations that really appreciated our help.

    In our firm we have always believed that "giving back to our community" is an important part of our professional obligation.  So I encourage all  firms to do pro bono work.  (We also some turned down requests that seemed a bit squirrely, but tried to do about one pro bono project a year. )

    Martha Peck Andrews FAIA
    Portland, Oregon

  • 4.  RE: Anyone with Pro-Bono stories?

    Posted 11-07-2017 18:04
    It is important to do on a personal/societal level, and very satisfying and appreciated by the, usual, non profit organization. And...like they say...any publicity is good publicity..... however..many times the articles in the paper and grand openings speeches seem to forget about our contribution. That..is a problem....if there is no money...you should at least get accolades....just sayin'.... They always mention the contractor, but seems to forget about the design team sometimes. It kinda sours my consultants donated time on it sometimes. I know, I know, personal satisfaction, etc. ad infinitum.

    It is also unfortunate that donated principal time cannot be deducted on taxes. Only paid staff or materials. Has anyone found a trick around that tax issue? I have donated many thousands of dollars in time to non-profits, but it means nothing to the IRS. If you care about those kind of things, that is.

    David E. Christensen AIA, LEED AP
    Architect and Planner
    Christensen Design Management
    P.O. Box 5068,1108 11th Street, Suite 304B
     Bellingham, WA 98225
    Office: 360-676-4800
    Cel: 360-319-5333 

  • 5.  RE: Anyone with Pro-Bono stories?

    Posted 11-06-2017 19:07
    Definitely! Been much appreciated working for non-profits and religious groups.

    Ralph Mechur
    Ralph Mechur Architects
    3400 Airport Avenue, Suite 5
    Santa Monica, CA 90405
    t: 310-398-2940
    c: 310-721-1254

  • 6.  RE: Anyone with Pro-Bono stories?

    Posted 11-07-2017 17:38
    For years AIA Minnesota has run a weekend Charente  called Search for Shelter.  Teams members, students, landscape architects work on projects for local non profits who have an idea and need some graphic information to help sell the idea for a shelter, home or park to others.  It has worked.   If and when the non profit assembles money they eventually hire a firm to proceed.  I don't know as anyone has every tracked if those that did the volunteer work end up work, but that is not the intent.

    Back in 1991 the local chapter AIA Saint Paul started giving awards for public awareness as much as anything.   The State wouldn't let us give awards for architecture or design.  One of the awards we devised was an award to an architect for his volunteer work.   We looked for someone who sat on planning commissions, neighborhood groups applying his knowledge on activities that wouldn't lead to architectural work.   We named the award the Lou Lundgren Award.  Lou Lundgren, FAIA interest in housing for everyone led to the Search for Shelter mentioned above.

    Peter Carlsen AIA
    Carlsen & Frank Architects
    Saint Paul MN