Last week at Contract's Best of NeoCon® Awards Breakfast in Chicago, John Peterson and John Cary of Public Architecture announced a new initiative that will encourage commercial furnishings and finishes manufacturers to become more engaged in socially responsible design. The new concept, Public Offering, began when Addie Powell of OfficeInsight and Ros Brandt of Brandt Resources invited a group of industry leaders, including Maxine Mann and MaryEllen Magee of Teknion, Jeannie Bochette of Steelcase, and yours truly, to explore more socially conscious alternatives to the generous gifts manufacturers bestow upon their design clients each holiday season. When our New York-based "Group of Six" teamed up with Public Architecture and New York creative firm The Moderns to brainstorm possibilities, the concept of Public Offering…"Gift Design Today" was born. Through its The 1% program, Public Architecture extracts commitments from leading design firms (more than 500 to date) to devote one percent of their billable hours to pro bono design in support of local non-profit and community-based organizations, thereby applying design thinking and design solutions to addressing social problems. Public Offering, in turn, encourages manufacturers to rethink their gift-giving practices and commit instead to diverting those monies spent to support the pro bono work realized through The 1% program…essentially adding the next logical variable to the equation of giving. Over the next few months, Peterson and Cary will fine-tune the details to accommodate various levels of commitment from manufacturers. Visit the Public Offering website and watch the pages of Contract for more information on this exciting initiative.