Sharon Prince is the CEO and Founder of Grace Farms Foundation, a private operating foundation established in 2009. The Foundation’s interdisciplinary humanitarian mission is to pursue peace through five initiatives — nature, arts, justice, community, and faith — and Grace Farms, a SANAA-designed site for convening people across sectors. Its stake in the ground is to end modern slavery and gender-based violence, and create more grace and peace in our local and global communities.
In 2010, Prince commissioned the Pritzker Prize-winning firm SANAA to design its accompanying River building, and since opening in October 2015, Grace Farms has garnered numerous awards for contributions to architecture, environmental sustainability, and social good, including the AIA National 2017 Architecture Honor Award, Fast Company’s 2016 Innovation by Design Award for Social Good, and the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize from the Illinois Institute of Technology, where Prince participated in the symposium Reimagining the Metropolis. She served on the 2018 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Jury. In 2019, Prince and Grace Farms received the NYC Visionary Award from AIA New York and the Center for Architecture.
Prince has fought for disrupting contemporary slavery and violence against women on a local and global scale. In 2018, she co-founded, along with Bill Menking, Editor-in-Chief of The Architect’s Newspaper, the Design for Freedom Working Group (formerly Grace Farms Foundation Architecture + Construction Working Group). In short order, more than 60 industry leaders and experts in the built environment, including construction and design principals, scholars, lawyers, and human rights experts, joined the Design for Freedom Working Group to apply their expertise and wherewithal to eliminate forced labor in the building materials supply chain.
By October 2020, the Foundation’s fifth-year anniversary, Prince launched Design for Freedom, a ground-breaking movement to create a radical paradigm shift to remove slavery from the built environment. The launch also included the publication of Design for Freedom, a new report providing analysis and data on how slavery is cemented into the very foundations of our buildings, and a dedicated website with tools, resources, and original content. The initiative also includes partnerships with several prestigious academic institutions to educate future architects and the public about this pressing humanitarian issue, where Prince has led Design for Freedom discussions along with professors in the working group.
In 2016, Grace Farms co-hosted a convening with the United Nations University entitled Fighting Human Trafficking in Conflict, which resulted in a published report to the United Nations Security Council and advocacy for UN Resolution 2331.
Earlier this year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Grace Farms launched the Relief Fund for Connecticut to provide critical PPE to first responders and health care workers and food relief to those in need. In recognition of these efforts, Prince received the CEO Forum’s Transformative CEO Award | Leading through Crisis in the category of Community. Prince has also received NOMI Network’s Abolitionist Award and Auburn Seminary’s Lives of Commitment Award. She holds an MBA from the University of Tulsa.