Meet our DC-based team leading fundraising, managing day-to-day programs, and preserving The Octagon for visitors and future generations.
Marci B. Reed, CFRE, MPA
Following a career in commercial real estate, Marci B. Reed, CFRE, MPA, turned her talents to the nonprofit sector, where she has served in executive level and fundraising roles for more than 25 years. She joined the Architects Foundation as Executive Director in 2017 following three years at Southface Energy Institute as Chief Development and Communications Officer. She was Southface’s first director of development and communications from 2000-2006.
Previously, she was Executive Director of The American Institute of Architects, Georgia Association and has been a development officer in the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech. Marci is past chair and a current executive committee member of EarthShare, the national federation for environmental charities. She was recently honored with the Earl Blauner Award for outstanding contributions to environmental philanthropy and was inducted into the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership Hall of Fame. She was named by CODAworx as a 2022 Creative Revolutionary for her vision, connections, strategy, and effective practices to bring about positive change. Marci holds an undergraduate degree in English from Georgia State University and Master’s in Nonprofit Management from GSU’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. She has been a certified fundraising executive (CFRE) since 2009. Marci and her husband Robert Reed, Assoc. AIA, split their time between Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC.
Manager of Disaster and Community Assistance, AIA
Paola Capo is Manager of Disaster and Community Assistance for AIA. She strives to provide architects and communities with the resources they need to create healthier, more sustainable and equitable built environments. In her current role, she divides her time between managing the Disaster Assistance Program (assisting architects and AIA chapters before and after disaster events occur) and supports Communities by Design, a program of the Architects Foundation that matches communities with interdisciplinary expertise to achieve community aspirations. In her time at AIA, Paola has supported several other portfolios related to sustainability and climate action, including the 2030 Commitment program, the Materials Pledge, and the Committee on the Environment, with a focus on building robust programs and resources.
In 2020 she completed IAP2’s Foundations in Public Participation Program, and in 2019 she participated in UC Berkeley’s [IN]City program to expand on her knowledge in urban design. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2017 with a degree in Science, Technology, and International Affairs, concentrating in Energy and the Environment—a degree inspired by the many places she lived growing up as an Army brat.
Senior Manager for Development and Communications
Celia Carnes joined the Architects Foundation as Senior Manager for Development and Communications in the summer of 2023. Celia strives to sustain and amplify the impact of the Architects Foundation by cultivating strategic relationships and engaging diverse audiences. A firm believer in the power of design to create a better world, she is passionate about positioning the Architects Foundation and The Octagon to empower the design community and educate the public. Celia has over a decade of experience supporting non-profit organizations and design firms through fundraising, communications, marketing, and project management. Most recently, she developed, managed, and fundraised for educational programs and events at The Cultural Landscape Foundation and coordinated the business development and marketing efforts for a boutique architecture firm in Washington, DC. Her writing has appeared in publications including South Writ Large and ArchitectureDC. Celia has a BA in Anthropology and Global Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MS in Architectural Conservation from the University of Edinburgh.
Clay Eggleston joined the Architects Foundation as a Grant Writer in the spring of 2023 after graduating from The George Washington University with a MA in Public Policy with a concentration in Philosophy and Social Policy. Prior to graduate school, Clay served in the AmeriCorps VISTA program in California and Louisiana where he embraced his passion for public service and started his career in the nonprofit sector. While at HandsOn New Orleans, an organization focused on empowering communities through volunteer service, Clay drafted and submitted a number of grants that were subsequently awarded to the organization. Through this grant writing work, he supported the organization’s COVID-19 response program that transported hot meals and groceries to homebound seniors in the city, among other organization initiatives.
Amanda Ferrario believes museums should be inclusive, engaging, and spark curiosity in the world around us. She is passionate about creating programs and activities that reach diverse audiences of all ages and abilities, cultivating inclusive spaces, and giving voice to those lesser known individuals and their stories.
Over the past 13 years, Amanda has worked in various museums where she has cultivated lasting partnerships, developed various inclusive programs and events, and has built and managed dynamic teams of staff and volunteers. Most recently, Amanda was the Docent Coordinator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, where she managed over 374 docents and implemented new programs, trainings, enrichments, and museum-wide initiatives. She has a BA in History from Coastal Carolina University, an MA in Historic Preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design, currently serves on the Board of the Prince George’s County Historical Society and the Small Museum Association.
Communities by Design Sr. Director
Joel Mills is Senior Director for the Communities by Design program. Joel’s 28-year career has been focused on strengthening civic capacity, democratic processes and civic institutions. This work has helped millions of people participate in meaningful public processes, visioning efforts, and community planning initiatives. In the United States, Joel has provided consultative services to hundreds of communities, leading participatory processes on the ground in over 100 communities across 38 states. He has led public processes, training programs and workshops in over a dozen countries across 5 continents. His work has been featured in over 1,000 media stories and several books. Joel has served on dozens of expert working groups, boards, juries, and panels focused on civic discourse and participation, sustainability, and democracy. He was a founding Board Member of the International Association for Public Participation’s United States Chapter. He has spoken at numerous international conferences concerning democratic urbanism and the role of democracy in urban success, including serving as the Co-Convener of the Remaking Cities Congress in 2013. Joel is an Academician of the Academy of Urbanism in London and serves as a Senior Editorial Associate for Civic Green. He is the author of numerous articles on the relationship between democracy, civic capacity and community.
Design Assistance Sr. Director, Communities by Design
Erin Simmons is Senior Director of Design Assistance for Communities by Design, a program of the Architects Foundation. For more than 17 years, Erin has provided technical assistance to hundreds of communities around the world, leading democratic planning processes and training workshops focused on empowering citizens to create equitable, sustainable, and resilient communities. Her work has been featured in hundreds of news articles and publications, and she has spoken extensively as a subject matter expert on the topics of participatory planning, sustainability, and community revitalization.
Prior to her work with Communities by Design, Erin worked as historic preservationist and architectural historian for an environmental and engineering firm, where she practiced preservation planning, created historic district design guidelines, and conducted historic resource surveys. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Florida State University and a Master’s degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia. Erin is an Academician of the Academy of Urbanism in London, UK.
Vanesa Zelaya is the foundation specialist at the Architects Foundation, providing scholarships and administrative support. She also handles the social media for The Architects Foundation and The Octagon Museum. Before joining the Foundation, she held a membership outreach position in a nonprofit which sparked an interest in social media management and communications. Vanesa holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.