Financial Gifts Grow, Inspire New Opportunities


In the midst of a pandemic, helping hands changed lives, enabled education, and saved careers. Would you believe it was the vision of a few architects 100 years go—bridged with the spirit of current-day needs—that led to these inspiring stories?

It’s all thanks to the Architectural Education Foundation, which among other things, offers annual scholarships and financial aid, opportunities for which are are now open.

On February 17, AIA Colorado hosted a Financial Opportunities webinar with the Architectural Education Foundation along with previous award recipients to learn how these opportunities helped advance their careers. Following are the three takeaways from the event and greater insight on how you can take part.

1. Apply today!

Webinar attendees heard from AIA Colorado CEO Mike Waldinger and Architectural Education Foundation Trustee Robert Fuller, FAIA. Fuller gave an overview of the three different types of financial opportunities available for 2021: 1) Travel Scholarships, 2) Academic Scholarships, and 3) the Licensure Advancement Fund. March 1 is the deadline to apply!

2. This funding opens doors.

Meg Schubert Allen, AIA, with Stantec is a previous Travel Scholarship recipient and shared the story of her three-week travels to Europe and several Scandinavian countries in 2019. She offered useful tips for applying for the Travel Scholarship such as conducting preliminary research, building a case study, scheduling, budgeting, and planning travel accommodations. Schubert Allen traveled with fellow award recipient and member Drew Allen, AIA. Their experience was richened by proactive planning—the duo requested meetings with those in the profession and found it easier and more impactful to coordinate being on a research trip funded by an AIA scholarship. To this end, having world-class architecture in Colorado can only be realized with sending our local architects around the world.

We also heard from a recipient of the newly launched Licensure Advancement Fund, which helps with exam fees and more. Jenny Kivett, AIA, shared her personal journey of starting her career during the 2008 recession and challenges during this ongoing pandemic. Her vulnerability spoke to the heart of every professional seeking to rise in his or her career. COVID turned the ordinary into an obstacle course that stretched time and miles. A pause in facility testing led to a canceled exam, but Kivett persevered and ultimately passed her remaining exams and obtained her license. Not only was she in career transition, but also, she endured long travels to find a test site—with family in tow. While initially discouraged, Kivett was surprised at the ease of applying for the Licensure Advancement Fund. It was too easy. Are you an AIA member? Yes. Have a need? Yes. AIA is here to help.

Last but not least, an ambitious, first-generation college student, Victor Gonzalez, told his story of seeking and finding how architecture and design would define his academic studies. Victor is a previous Academic Scholarship recipient and is a student in the University of Colorado Boulder’s Environment Design program. When his curiosity of architecture bubbled, Gonzalez’s eagerness sent him traveling out of state to an architecture orientation week. Next, a high school snow day found him applying for RTA Architects student program with one remaining spot on the last day for applications. Today, this young leader gives back by serving on several national and local boards. And heads up—he is expecting to graduate this May!

3. You can use funds in the future.

If awarded a Travel Scholarship or receive support from the Licensure Advancement Fund, you don’t have to use the award today. Particularly given the pandemic, safety, and travel restrictions, you can apply now and use for future travels and exam fees.

AIA Colorado is truly grateful for everyone who contributes to these financial opportunities. These helping hand scholarships and grants are truly game changers for careers, firms, and our members.
To submit your application by March 1, please visit the  AIA Colorado website. As well, you can visit this site to contribute the Architectural Education Foundation. Be part of a 100-year legacy of helping others and your career. APPLY NOW

About the Author

JP Arnold

JP Arnold, LEED Green Associate, APR, is Marketing and Business Development Manager at Bridgers & Paxton. He is an AIA Colorado Allied Member and is a member of the Editorial Committee.

Arnold is a retired U.S. Army Public Affairs Officer (PAO) and Signal Officer. As a PAO, he worked with more than 150 media engagements around the world to include The New York Times, CNN, BBC, Newsweek, NBC News, along with Seattle and Colorado Springs media markets. He worked on the National Army Marketing and Advertising Recruiting Campaign alongside Weber Shandwick PR and McCann Erickson Ad Agency.

He is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mass Communication from Ouachita Baptist University and Middle Tennessee State University (Phi Kappa Phi Honors). He has been married for more than 20 years to his wife and they have two children and several pets.

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