A letter from AF President James Walbridge, AIA

2020: For most us, the most transformational year of our lives. Everything has changed across all boundaries and all borders. Nothing will be the same; changes are occurring at a dizzying pace.

While the complete disruption of our lives has taken its toll, the Architects Foundation finds itself in a unique position – our purpose could not be more relevant than it is right now. The tragedy of George Floyd and many others after has cemented clearly upon us that 401 years of systemic racism and structural inequality cannot be “unseen” anymore. We are all on a new journey together, with compassion and empathy our shepherds, to make real societal change.

We are grateful for our relationship with The American Institute of Architects. While our voices are unique to our respective missions, together we are even more courageous to forge a path we know is right.

Our Architects Foundation board and staff are united, resolute and committed to being bold. We understand where we have been and where we need to be, and we have much to do. Our charge is clear, JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) is our watchword. Our actions will be precise and focused as we continue to broaden our scholarships and magnify our fundraising efforts. The Octagon has evolved in its delegation and will serve as both teacher and convener. Its history will be told with transparency and radical candor to learn from its past and support an expanded conversation for the future of the profession.

Our scholars are at the center of the Foundation’s narrative. Their collective voices are the engine placing us in the forefront of possibilities – they are the future. We aspire to be the social proof needed in this new discourse, leading by example and action, to bring about the change we cannot delay any longer.

We thank you for your continued support and invite you to join us as we create a culture of philanthropy for the future.