Letter from the President

The state of the Architects Foundation (AF) is strong! In 2022, the dedicated and passionate individuals who comprise the AF staff and its Board of Directors remained committed to supporting architecture students by administering a variety of scholarships and served as stewards of the historic Octagon House, the original home of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in the nation’s capital. The year ended with AF agreeing to add AIA’s Communities by Design (CxD) program to its portfolio of opportunities to serve the profession. AF will begin raising funds for CxD in 2023, which presents an exciting opportunity for design professionals to serve alongside students on future Design Assistance Teams. I had the privilege of participating in a CxD session last year in Savannah, Georgia, and found renewed affirmation in the value of what we, as design professionals, can accomplish working side by side with community members. CxD migrated to AF to leverage its 501(c)(3) non-profit status for fundraising purposes, and we are grateful to have the CxD staff as the newest members of the AF family.

As AIA’s philanthropic partner, it is important that our efforts reflect AIA’s values and priorities. During my tenure as AF Board President, which concluded in December 2022, we chose to prioritize two of them: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and Sustainability. This annual report showcases the ways in which AF donors made access to learning and design more available in communities across the built environment and took action to help protect the Earth.

I am especially proud of the growth of our Diversity Advancement Scholarship (DAS) program, which allows AF to offer financial assistance to a diverse group of students for whom such support can make the difference between continuing along the path toward becoming an architect or falling off it. Likewise, in partnership with the AIA Large Firm Round Table, AF offered financial support to candidates studying for and taking Architectural Registration Exams. One of the highlights of our student engagement process happens during the annual AIA Conference on Architecture, when recipients are invited to meet inspirational leaders at an event AF sponsors in partnership with Material Bank. Hearing their testimonials about the impact AF has made in their lives is what keeps us highly motivated to do this work!

The Foundation’s support of climate action should also be celebrated. Historic preservation is a cornerstone of resilient design, and in 2022 we registered The Octagon, the Architects Foundation’s historic home, for EarthCraft Sustainable Preservation (ECSP) certification. ECSP was designed by Southface Institute to focus on the challenges historic buildings face in balancing historic features with occupant health, resource efficiency, and high performance, especially in hot, humid climates. We received a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to have Southface perform building envelope testing on The Octagon as a first step in preparing for much needed building improvements that will allow us lead by example in updating our building to be a model of sustainable preservation.

In my final role as AF president, I would like to acknowledge my predecessor, James Walbridge, FAIA, who laid a clear path of succession that enabled me to effectively hit the ground running. I am particularly gratified to have led our active and diverse Board in a thoughtful and effective strategic planning process and the adoption of the resulting plan. As the torch has now been passed to my good friend and colleague, Bill Roschen, FAIA, I take comfort knowing that his leadership will continue to advance the work that we are charged to do with his own style and demeanor that leads with love and joy. The state of the AF is indeed strong!

R. Steven Lewis, FAIA, NOMAC


Year in Review


Architects Foundation scholarships are building a more diverse profession. Innovation drives design, and diversity of thought and representation will bring better ideas and solutions to the built environment. In 2022, AF donors empowered the next generation of architects by investing $468,788 to award 54 new scholarships across 8 programs.  

Among the scholarships awarded in 2022: 

Diversity Advancement Scholarship (DAS) 

In 2022, donors contributed approximately $168,000 to the DAS, which was created in 1970 to support ethnically diverse students who are entering, enrolling in, or transferring to an NAAB-accredited undergraduate architecture program. Seven DAS awards were made in 2022.  

The DAS gives trade school and college students the chance to transform their career trajectory, with financial support and access to AF’s extensive network of alumni, mentors, and scholars. Students may renew scholarships every year until degree completion for up to five years ($20,000 total award). 

Large Firm Roundtable (LFRT) Architect Registration Examination (ARE) Scholarship 

In its second year, support from the LFRT/ARE is helping Black architects become licensed. This scholarship is working to help fulfill the LFRT’s goal to double the number of licensed Black architects by 2030 by defraying ARE costs. Recipients also receive $500 in study materials and one year of Associate AIA or NOMA member dues.   

In addition to awarding 40 scholarships, the AF Board connects regularly with scholarship recipients to let them know that the AF network extends beyond financial support. 

McAslan Scholars 

2022-23 marks the final year of AF’s partnership with global firm John McAslan + Partners to fund an international academic travel grant and mentorship program. The most recent recipient, Vijay Rajkumar, a graduate student at MIT, traveled to Florence, Italy, to study the Manifattura Tabacchi project and other significant works of Pier Luigi Nervi.  

Richard Morris Hunt Prize 

On alternating years, the Richard Morris Hunt Prize is awarded to historic preservation architects from France and the United States. Cultural exchange has never been as important as it is today, when the world needs to shine a bright light on the beauty we can create together, across cultures and physical boundaries. In partnership with the French Heritage Society and Les Amis du Richard Morris Hunt, the AF Board President and the Prize Founder together oversee the jury. The first-place laureate and the second-place scholar receive funding for six months and five weeks, respectively, of travel to the partner country to pursue a scholarly project. The results of their research strengthen the body of knowledge for the preservation field, as well as the ties between our two countries.   

In 2022 first-place laureate Lurita McIntosh Blank, NCARB, RBEC, APT RP, traveled to France to study Vertical Timber Framing Practices.  

Second-place scholar Marika Dalley Snider, PhD, AIA, focused her research on Curating Paris’s Layers through Historic Preservation. 

French scholars delayed by COVID will complete their American research trips in 2023. 

The Octagon 

A Washington, DC, landmark built in 1799, The Octagon is a living laboratory for historic preservation, sustainability, and community engagement, as well as the home of AF’s core programs. Originally constructed by local craftsmen and enslaved laborers, The Octagon is now a space to advance conversations about the architect’s role in creating a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive society. 

A new speaker series, “Revealing Parallel Histories Hidden in Plain Sight,’ was launched at The Octagon by AF President R. Steven Lewis, FAIA in 2022 to share historical knowledge and narratives across social divides. An installation of elegant tapestries from the CODA Award-winning I Was Here project, with contemporary artistic representations of enslaved workers, reminds visitors to The Octagon of the skilled and talented historic figures whose impact on the early American built environment is often overlooked.  

In 2022, AF engaged the consulting firm Alexion Fischer to help support AF’s efforts to scale donor giving. Early planning has begun to launch a campaign to build an endowment capable of sustaining the building and its programs in perpetuity.  


The Architects Foundation leads philanthropic campaigns to support a core element of our mission: Attract, inspire, and invest in the next generation of architects. 

Collaborating with partners and sponsors who share in our mission, our campaigns raised more than $757,000 in donations and pledges throughout 2022. Highlights of these campaigns follow: 

Fireclay Tile Fundraiser for Black History Month 

Recognized in 2021 with the Webby Awards’ Inaugural Anthem Award and named by Digital Media Solutions as the #1 top brand+charity partnership making a difference for Black History Month, the Fireclay Tile Fundraiser for Black History Month raised more than $50,000 for our Diversity Advancement Scholarship to support Black Women. 

A’22 Conference Experience for Diversity Advancement Scholars 

With support from Material Bank, we were able to bring five Diversity Advancement Scholars to A’22. This inaugural event launched an ongoing initiative to provide scholars with opportunities to engage with diverse design professionals and hear about their career journeys. 

The Octagon Reopening and Membership Launch 

The Octagon reopened in May 2022 with a cocktail reception, audience engagement exercise with the I Was Here tapestries, and the launch of the Octagon Alliance, a membership program with benefits including free and reduced admission to select events. 

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