AIA Board of Directors approves equity initiatives

Actions will improve equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession

For immediate release:

Washington, D.C. – December 15, 2016 –  The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Board of Directors have announced a second donation of $1,000,000 to the Diversity Advancement Scholarship fund, aimed at improving equity, diversity and inclusion among people entering the profession. This builds upon the $1,000,000 already earmarked in 2013 for the Diversity Advancement Scholarships, administered by the Architects Foundation.

The AIA Board also adopted recommendations of the Equity in Architecture Commission, which included leading architects, educators, and diversity experts.  The group identified root causes for the lack of diversity and inclusion in the profession and offered recommendations on how to address those issues, as well as a timeline for implementation.  The Commission launched its work in November of 2015 to forge action plans for achieving equitable practices, and measurable goals, with tools to assess progress.

“We are years away from true equity within the profession, but the path forward is beginning to take shape,” said Commission Chair, Emily Grandstaff-Rice, FAIA, Senior Associate, Arrowstreet Inc. “A seismic shift in architecture is underway, but it will take vigilance and continuous assessment to make equity in design a reality.”

The Commission’s work focused on the implications of increased equity, diversity, and inclusion in architecture. Highlights of the group’s recommendations:

  • Expose children and families to architecture through K–12 Programs, with elements that help underrepresented groups to discover architecture.
  • Develop self-assessment tools to collect data on diversity and inclusion issues in the biannual AIA Firm Survey, and use results to establish best practices.
  • Create and publish best practice guidelines for architectural practices, covering such themes as career progression, work culture, pay equity, and talent recruitment.

“The AIA is continuing to make profound commitments to improving these vital aspects of our profession,” said 2017 AIA President Thomas Vonier, FAIA. “We are indebted to Equity in Architecture Commission for its work, and will implement their recommendations as rapidly and effectively as we can.”

Updates on the Commission’s recommendations will continue throughout 2017. To learn more about AIA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, see the Position Statement and the EDI web portal.

About The American Institute of Architects

Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit


Matt Tinder
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