Sharon Prince is the CEO and Founder of Grace Farms Foundation and commissioned SANAA to design Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut. The Foundation’s interdisciplinary humanitarian mission is to pursue peace through nature, arts, justice, community, faith, and Design for Freedom, a new movement to eliminate forced labor from the building materials supply chain. The open, porous architecture of the River building at Grace Farms is embedded into 80 acres of natural landscape. The building, designed to break down barriers between people and sectors, invites all to pause and reflect, while also encouraging engagement with Grace Farms’ work, including advancing gender and racial equity, all of which leads to creating new outcomes.
Since opening, Grace Farms has garnered numerous awards for contributions to architecture, environmental sustainability, and social good, including the AIA National 2017 Architecture Honor Award and the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize.
After recognizing a void in addressing exploitation in the building materials supply chain, Prince formed the Design for Freedom Working Group. She mobilized leaders from the architecture, engineering, financial, and media sectors to initialize awareness and develop institutional responses to remove forced labor from the building materials supply chain.
Prince launched Design for Freedom in 2020 with the publication of a first-of-its-kind nearly 100 page report that provides analysis and data on how forced labor is embedded into the very foundations of our buildings. At the annual Design for Freedom Summit, Prince also released the Design for Freedom Toolkit, a practical resource professionals use to implement ethical sourcing strategies into their practices. She has guest lectured about Design for Freedom and Grace Farms to universities and industry associations around the world.
Prince is a social entrepreneur who co-founded Grace Farms Foods, a public benefit subsidiary that educates the public about the charitable work of Grace Farms Foundation and demonstrates what the Foundation advocates for: ethical and sustainable supply chains.
Prince’s leadership of Grace Farms and Design for Freedom has been widely recognized. She received the NYC Visionary Award from AIA-NY and the Center for Architecture and the CEO Forum’s Transformative CEO Award | Leading through Crisis. In 2022, Fast Company named her to its list of the Most Creative People in Business 2022.