The movement

A radical paradigm shift driven by global leaders in the built environment

Launched by Sharon Prince, CEO and Founder of Grace Farms Foundation and the late Bill Menking, Editor-in-Chief of The Architect’s Newspaper, the Design for Freedom Working Group includes an expanding group of more than 60 experts and leaders that have committed their expertise and wherewithal to eliminate modern slavery in the built environment.

Impact timeline

Our work to illuminate and change the pernicious stream of modern slavery within the built environment, within one of the largest global industries.

The Movement Begins with a Question

Sharon Prince, Grace Farms Foundation, asked Bill Menking, founder of The Architect’s Newspaper, why forced labor in the building materials supply chain was not on the industry’s agenda. That inquiry would launch a convening of leaders in the built environment to take action.


Design for Freedom Working Group launches


Off-site Meetings

Meetings are held in architecture spaces that inspire action and collaboration

Rogers Partners Architects+Urban Designers

Welcomes first Working Group meeting in September 2018

Grace Farms

Grace Farms has served as a constant gathering space for Working Group members since 2018


May 2019 meeting

AIA NY | Center for Architecture

September 2019 meeting


January 2020 meeting


Expanding awareness locally and globally

The Design for Freedom Working Group is announced in The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Record, and other industry media.

New York AIA and Center for Architecture leadership raise the building materials supply chain flag, making space for Working Group meetings and spotlight for 1,000 members


Generating Awareness with the Next Generation of Influencers

Design for Freedom Working Group members that are also faculty and administrators from leading undergraduate and graduate programs are an integral part of the solution. We are seeing universities working to incorporate anti-slavery education into the curriculum and hope to drive the research agenda for the coming years.

Recognizing that lasting change will be driven by generations to come, Sharon Prince and members of the Working Group have organized a series of symposia, lectures, and classes at prominent architecture schools, colleges, and universities. Since 2019 and continuing over the course of the next year, members of the Working Group will speak with students at Cooper Union, IE (Madrid), Illinois Institute of Technology, Parsons, Pratt Institute, Princeton, and Yale.


Public launch addresses institutional obligation and commitment

This media recognition of the issue and the leaders addressing it are shortly followed by first-of-its-kind presentations and events at:
— International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering Congress (IABSE)
— Top1000Funds Fiduciary Investors Symposium
— Urban Thinkers Campus, an initiative of the UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign
— Grace Farms, first U.S. public program discussing forced labor in building materials supply chains


Movement among industry leaders accelerates

New publicly accessible resources and advocacy efforts are launched to galvanize key stakeholders

Working Group Members inspire their firms

— Design for Freedom Working Group meetings formalize action groups, and members begin to propose changes in their own firms and a means to build awareness.
— Executive presentation at COOKFOX Architects

First full-semester class and visiting lecture series at distinguished universities

Design for Freedom Working Group members who are also faculty initiate a class at Yale School of Architecture and visiting lecture series at Cooper Union, Pratt Institute, Parsons, and more.

New branding and website launch is launched to formalize the movement, designed pro bono by GoodFolk.

Collaboration leads to new face mask

Ethically-produced face masks are designed pro bono by Grace Farms project architects Shohei Yoshida and Peter Miller. Herman Miller retails the masks with proceeds supporting the Design for Freedom movement through Design Within Reach.


Strengthening Partnerships and Widening Our Reach

Once you know: digital awareness campaign begins

12-month Design for Freedom digital campaign to spread awareness

Sharon Prince and Working Group members present to a range of industry professionals and organizations locally and nationally

including the Construction Specifier Institute, the Northeast Summit for a Sustainable Built Environment and the Center for Innovation in Design and Construction.

Partnerships with major colleges and universities continue

with presentations to Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.