10th Year Anniversary: Letter From Steve Meier

Posted by on Jun 6, 2009

Architecture for Humanity,

I met Cameron and Kate during the summer of 2001 when we were living in New York City. We had been introduced by a mutual friend — a classmate of mine from law school. Cameron and Kate were looking for a lawyer to help them legally establish Architecture for Humanity and obtain 501(c)(3) status. I had been practicing law for less than three years at the time, but I was game for the challenge of helping AFH get on all fours, and Kate and Cameron were game for the challenge of being represented by a well meaning but somewhat inexperienced attorney.

Well, we were all busy at that time, and then 9/11 happened, but through fits and starts we began to make progress. We got Architecture for Humanity legally incorporated in New York in January 2002 and, after some arm-wrestling with the IRS, AFH got its 501(c)(3) status in June 2003. Success! Typically, a pro bono legal representation would end at this time, but Architecture for Humanity was special, and needed lots of help. I moved to Chicago and joined Jenner & Block in the summer of 2003, and since then have been advising AFH on all sorts of legal issues — from grants to sponsorships to affiliate matters to book deals to real estate to trademarks — you name it, we’ve done it.

There are a lot of well meaning people in the world, and I’ve met quite a few through my pro bono legal work. But I don’t know anyone other than Cameron and Kate who, in addition to having good intentions, have the talent, solid business sense and drive to create anything like the AFH we see today. When I first met Kate and Cameron, Architecture for Humanity was a two-person dream being run part time out of a tiny apartment on West 20th Street in Manhattan. Today, it is a major international force for organizing the design community to provide architectural solutions to humanitarian problems worldwide. All I can say is that I am honored to have been along for the ride, and gratified that I was able to play a small role in helping Architecture for Humanity become the organization that it is today.

Best regards,

Steve Meier