By starting or joining a chapter you are joining a group of like-minded professionals who are at the forefront of a movement to bring sustainable design where it is most needed and can least be afforded. As a chapter, you will have the freedom to create an identity that is unique to your group but is also instantly recognizable as part an international organization that provides architectural solutions. Your group will have access to resources and support that will help you develop your organization internally and get your projects developed.
Our chapters work on a diverse range of projects, from renovating soup kitchens and community centers to designing low-income housing to introducing kids to architecture by facilitating design charrettes and workshops at primary and secondary schools.
A chapter is primarily a local effort. It centers on reaching out to design professionals from the local chapter area to introduce design solutions for that specific community. Becoming a chapter involves setting goals and expectations that are relevant to your region and agreed upon by the members within your chapter.
There are three different levels of Architecture for Humanity chapters:
Starting a Chapter
Level 1 Volunteer Chapters
Level 2 Local Office Chapters
Level 2 Foreign Local Office Chapters
3.1 STARTING A CHAPTER
To start a new chapter, you begin by gathering members, establishing goals, and initiating contact with Architecture for Humanity headquarters to establish basic organizational formalities, such as member registration.
A Level 1 chapter is a group of volunteers who are working together to provide pro bono design services in their community. Level 1 chapters are ready to take on clients and begin identifying and working on projects. At this stage, projects should have a local focus. It is a great boost to membership to be able to see a project to completion. A Level 1 chapter’s initial projects should be feasible and modest in scope.
A Level 2 chapter is one that has grown to at least 25 members, has been successfully operating for at least 3 years, has overseen several projects, and is ready to manage funds and projects independently. Architecture for Humanity will open a bank account in the name of the chapter (at not time should chapters open their own bank accounts). They must carry their own insurance coverage and are responsible for conducting their operations in compliance with local laws and regulations.
A foreign-based Level 2 office chapter has different operational needs that are different from our US based chapters. Most foreign-based chapters typically must register within their respective country as NGO status in order to be able to raise funds. It is for the most part a complicated and long process, and the requirements for registration vary wildly country to country. Architecture for Humanity will assist in the process by filling out any necessary forms about the organization, as well as notarize documents if needed.
The initial chapter meeting is a very exciting event. It’s the launching pad for your chapter but it certainly should not be intimidating or too structured just yet. Most people will be meeting for the first time, introducing themselves and stating what brings them to this first meeting. It typically takes place in a casual place or at someone’s office space. To help you with this first, important step, we’ve produced a suggested agenda and tips on how to run a good meeting. These are suggestions and feel free to adapt these guidelines as best suited for the needs of your new chapter.
These position descriptions provide general descriptive terms of the responsibility expected for each of these key Board members.
Board Chair Job Description
1. Oversees the Chapter's mission
2. Provides leadership to the Board of Directors, who sets policy and who is accountable for delegated tasks
3. Chairs meetings of the Board after developing the agenda.
4. Encourages Board's role in strategic planning
5. Appoints the chairpersons of committees, in consultation with other Board members.
This is one area where Architecture for Humanity and our chapters work closely together.
In the event of a natural or humanitarian disaster in or near the Chapter City, the Chapter agrees to act on behalf of Architecture for Humanity to communicate, document, assess and coordinate necessary actions in the affected communities, if Architecture for Humanity so requests.
Chapters should not issue a press release or seek media advertisement or promotion for any design or construction project unless the project is in construction. Trust us, this is important. We’ve observed over time that when media attention is given to a project prior to construction starting, the project suffers from the undue attention, and this can hinder the overall management of the project. Of course, a client may choose to promote the project, at its own discretion.
The Open Architecture Network is the result of a partnership that began in spring 2006 when Architecture for Humanity won the prestigious TED Prize. In 2007 Architecture for Humanity launched the Open Architecture Network, a collaborative online resource and project management tool for those dedicated to improving the built environment. But it's not just for professional architects--community leaders, nonprofits, technology partners, educators, materials specialists, healthcare workers, and others collaborate and share their expertise on the network.
A Chapter may use this by-law document as is presented below or may choose to modify it to better suit the Chapter needs. Additional articles or provisions may be included. This is merely an example.
Article I. Name of the Chapter
The name of the organization is Architecture for Humanity – [Chapter City].
Article II. Property
No part of the Chapter’s property shall inure to the benefit of any Office, Director, or member of the Chapter.
Article III. Membership
I. CALL TO ORDER
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
III. TREASURER’S REPORT
IV. PROGRESS REPORT – STRATEGIC PLAN
(Committee Chairs should make an individual presentation, advising the membership as a whole, of the progress/status of the committee of which they are responsible)
V. ISSUES THAT MERIT DISCUSSION OR DECISION
VI. FOCUS ON THE FUTURE
Depending on the Chapter’s membership enrollment and scope of projects, qualifications are particularly important in the successful governance of a Chapter. These criteria are guidelines to be used in soliciting and evaluating candidates for any of the Board positions.
Is a registered member of Architecture of Humanity in good standing with the organization and the Chapter
Brings substantive knowledge and experience for a specific position on the Board
Contributes to the Board’s diversity in geography, skills and overall perspective
(Please fill out and return ELECTRONICALLY to xxxxxxx (xxxxxx@afh[chaptername) by _________)
Qualifications (brief bio):
What I will do for the Chapter and its organization: