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January 20, 2015

Money Woes Close Architecture for Humanity

Architecture for Humanity, a leader in the field of altruistic construction to serve the needs of populations ravaged by natural disasters and war, has abruptly shut down in the face of persistent deficits, The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle report. The San Francisco-based charity laid off its roughly 30 employees on January 1 and plans to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

Founded in 1999, Architecture for Humanity designed sustainable shelters, schools, and homes in areas like Haiti, Kosovo, and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. Eric Cesal, the nonprofit's most recent executive director, said its deficit reached $2.1-million at the end of 2013, an untenable shortfall for an organization with an annual budget that ranged from $2-million to $12-million.

The charity cut payroll and relocated to smaller offices to cut costs, but "it just became clear that we would be unable to completely reduce our operating deficit," board Chairman Matt Charney said. "We ultimately lacked the funding to continue."