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This '1 percent' helps nonprofits solve architectural problems

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Courtesy of The 1% program of Public Architecture

(Read caption) 'In a moment of ambitious insanity, I decided to start a nonprofit,' says John Peterson, the founder and president of The 1%, which matches architectural and design firms with nonprofit groups that need their help.

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Inside the sleek steel and cement workshop of Bikes Not Bombs in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood, at-risk youths recondition bicycles before sending them on for use in developing countries.

Halfway across the country at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital, a “showcase suite” shows how a child's hospital room can be made less intimidating and more comfortable.

The "1 percent" built the bike-repair workshop. The "1 percent" also built the hospital room.

No, not the 1 percent that’s been the object of Occupy Wall Street protests. This is "The 1%" program of Public Architecture. Based in San Francisco, the
organization connects nonprofit groups in need of design assistance with architecture or design firms. The name for the group comes from the idea that if firms across the country donate just 1 percent of their time each year to charitable work it would equal 5 million hours.

“In a moment of ambitious insanity, I decided to start a nonprofit,” says John Peterson, the founder and president of The 1%.

Mr. Peterson previously ran a small private architecture firm that specialized primarily in residential projects. But as his firm began taking on projects that forced him to think about its role in various kinds of neighborhoods, he saw an opportunity to help underserved communities.

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