All posts by Amanda Malloy

Five strategic partnerships making an impact in 2021

Source: Digital Media Solutions

This year, Black History Month is hitting a little differently for a lot of people, and brands are responding accordingly. After a year of COVID-19, in which Black and Brown people were disproportionately impacted, and the racial justice uprisings in the summer of 2020, the expectation from consumers is that brands and retailers will take Black History Month more seriously. In lieu of one-off campaigns that can be perceived as performative, brands this year are aiming to create lasting impact by embracing partnerships and collaborations with Black creators, Black storytellers and nonprofits that amplify Black voices.

“As brands make plans to celebrate diverse communities through Black History Month and others, it’s important that they approach their campaigns with authenticity, empathy and cultural intelligence,” said Cassandra Blackburn, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Sprout Social. “Center your campaign on advancing the mission and purpose of the celebration by seizing the opportunity to honor the accomplishments of Black Americans.”

1. Fireclay Tile X Architects Foundation 

Architects Foundation, a philanthropic organization which undertakes “philanthropic efforts that lay the foundation of architecture’s future, by attracting, inspiring and investing in new and diverse generations of architects who will create inclusive spaces and places of tomorrow” partnered with decor brand Fireclay Tile to promote more Black women in architecture. According to an Instagram post from Fireclay Tile, only “0.4% of all licensed architects in the U.S.” are Black women. Fireclay Tile teamed up with Architects Foundation to create a “Diversity Advancement Scholarship” that will be used specifically for Black women pursuing architecture.

Read more from Digital Media Solutions >

Curry Stone Foundation pledges $125K

WASHINGTON – The Curry Stone Foundation (CSF) has pledged $125,000 to the Architects Foundation’s 2021 Diversity Advancement Scholarship program, to support five scholars through 2025.

The multiyear scholarship will support students of an ethnically diverse background, with a preference for those attending one of the seven accredited architecture programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

The CSF, whose mission is to empower the practice of community-driven social impact design, is co-founded by Clifford Curry, FAIA, and Dr. Delight Stone, RPA.

“We are extremely grateful to Cliff and Delight for their continued support of the Architects Foundation,” said Architects Foundation President R. Steven Lewis, FAIA. “The opportunity created by the CSF is a huge stride toward our goal of a more diverse and inclusive profession.”

The Architects Foundation annually runs an application process for Diversity Advancement scholars. Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year are under review and will be announced in late spring of 2021.


CSF’s mission is to empower the practice of community-driven social impact design.  The Foundation supports groups and individuals using design to build healthier, more vital communities.  CSF actively advocates for the use of design as a tool for social change, especially in marginalized communities. In all cases, the Foundation encourages designers and communities to work in close collaboration.

Safdie Architects funds $20K scholarship

WASHINGTON – Safdie Architects today announced their commitment to support the Architects Foundation’s Diversity Advancement Scholarship by funding a five-year student scholar entering or transferring into an architecture program in fall 2021.

The recipient will be supported throughout their scholarship by a mentor from Safdie Architects, as well as a paid internship at the firm following their 3rd, 4th or 5th year of school.  In addition to the $20,000 scholarship, Safdie Architects will select a current Diversity Advancement Scholar for a paid internship this summer.

“We are thrilled to join with the Architects Foundation in its mission to broaden diversity within the field of architecture. At a time when systemic racism persists and the rights of many are being violated, we recognize the need for our industry to be proactive and outward-focused,” said Christopher Mulvey, Assoc. AIA, Safdie Architects’ Managing Principal. “We are committed to creating more opportunities for Black, Indigenous and people of color, both within the firm and in the profession-at-large.”

Foundation President R. Steven Lewis, FAIA, expressed gratitude for the firm’s generosity. “The Architects Foundation is so pleased to work with Safdie Architects to create a more diverse profession,” Lewis said. “As the philanthropic partner of The American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Foundation is working to create a culture of philanthropy within the AIA. Let’s hope other firms follow this example.”

The Architects Foundation annually runs an application process for Diversity Advancement scholars. Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year are under review and will be announced in late spring of 2021.

About Safdie Architects

Safdie Architects is an architecture and urban design studio imbued with a spirit of idealism and innovation. The practice is research oriented and forward thinking, drawing upon a depth of experience to solve contemporary building challenges in imaginative and unexpected ways. Headquartered in Somerville, MA, with offices in Toronto, Jerusalem, Singapore and Shanghai to support ongoing projects, Safdie Architects is constantly engaged in the design of a diverse range of projects in terms of building type, scale and geographic location.

Architects Foundation announces recipients of 2020 Architect Registration Examination scholarships

Scholarships cover costs of the Architectural Registration Examination.

The Architects Foundation today announced recipients for three Architect Registration Examination® (ARE) scholarships.

Through the Jason Pettigrew Memorial ARE Scholarship, LFRT ARE Scholarship, and the 400 Forward ARE Scholarship, candidates for licensure receive funds covering costs of the Architect Registration Examination®.

Jason Pettigrew Memorial ARE Scholarship

The Jason Pettigrew Memorial ARE Scholarship recognizes the significant contributions of emerging professionals at early stages in their careers and helps defray the costs associated with the ARE. Each of the scholarship recipients will receive funds to cover all sections of the ARE, as well as a free subscription to ArchiPrep® and up to $500 worth of ARE 5.0 study materials. This year’s scholars include:

  • Mercedes Bellino, Assoc. AIA
  • Alexus Davis, Assoc. AIA
  • Joshua Foster, Assoc. AIA
  • Seher Hashmi, Assoc. AIA
  • Eric Harris, Assoc. AIA
  • Brian Johnson, Assoc. AIA
  • Megan Kapua Pimental, Assoc. AIA
  • Didier McQueen Porter, Assoc. AIA
  • Evan Stravers, Assoc. AIA
  • Lauren Tucker, Assoc. AIA

Complete details on the Jason Pettigrew scholarship program are available on the Architects Foundation website.

LFRT ARE Scholarship

The AIA Large Firm Roundtable presents two awards to Black and African American candidates for licensure. Awardees receive a grant covering the full cost of the Architectural Registration Examination, as well as study materials, access to Archiprep®, and Assoc. AIA membership. The 2020 LFRT ARE Scholarship winners are:

  • Jonathan Cartwright, Assoc. AIA
  • Rebekah Gaines Schranck, Assoc. AIA

Applications for next year’s LFRT ARE Scholarship will launch in the second quarter of 2021.

400 Forward ARE Scholarship

Two additional scholarships are also being donated this year by 2018 Pettigrew Scholarship recipient Tiffany Brown, Assoc. AIA. Brown’s scholarship will cover the cost of AREs for Black and African American females who did not already receive an award this year through her organization 400 FORWARD, which aims to support the next generation of licensed women architects. Recipients of Brown’s award, include:

  • Fallon Johnson, Assoc. AIA
  • Sharlita Olaleye, Assoc. AIA

“We very much appreciate the generosity of LFRT and 400 Forward,” said Architects Foundation Board Vice President and Jury Chair Bill Roschen, FAIA. “With their support, we can help move the needle toward licensure of Black and African American ARE candidates.”

Learn more about the Architects Foundation scholarships online.

Architects Foundation Announces 2021 Board of Directors

Two former NOMA presidents and two-time scholar among new board and leadership.

Washington, D.C. – The Architects Foundation, the philanthropic partner of The American Institute of Architects, today announced two new members of its Board of Directors. Kimberly Dowdell, AIA, and Vaughn Lewis, Assoc. AIA, will serve on the board from 2021 to 2023.

Kimberly Dowdell, AIA, NOMA, is the immediate past president (2019-2020) of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and a 2020 AIA Young Architects Award recipient. Dowdell is also the director of business development for HOK’s Chicago office.

Vaughn Lewis, Assoc. AIA, NOMA, is a past recipient of the 2019 Architects Foundation/McAslan Fellowship and the 2015 AIA/AF Diversity Scholarship. Lewis is also a junior designer at MBB Architects in New York.

“Kim and Vaughn join a board of leaders who are eager to support the next generation of architects through national programs and partnerships,” said 2021-2022 Architects Foundation President R. Steven Lewis, FAIA, NOMA. “We are enthusiastic that they will help the Foundation expand and solidify its community.”

A complete list of directors can be reviewed online.