In 2014, the Thornton Tomasetti Foundation awarded $12,500 in grants to the Center for Sustainable Engineering, Art and Architecture at The Cooper Union in New York City to support the materials purchase and construction Reuse of Available Material, Energy, Structures and Supplies for Emergency Shelter (RAMESSES). RAMESSES is designed to provide refugees or disaster victims with protection from the elements, especially accommodating the cultures and climate of sub-Saharan Africa.
Cooper Union students traveled to Africa to source materials, deliver kits and test shelter designs. In the video, taken by one of the refugees, one of the geodesic dome shelters made of raw, biodegradable and indigenous materials is shown weathering an intense wind storm in Africa.
The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation, a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization established in February 2008, has two primary missions including funding fellowships, scholarships and internships for undergraduate students, and those planning to pursue graduate studies in building engineering, design or technology and providing financial support for individuals and organizations pursuing philanthropic activities related to building engineering, design or technology. Key elements of the program are college scholarships, traveling internships, and grants to, and partnerships with nonprofit organizations.