ACTIVATE North Carolina

Inspiring people to take action and get involved in their communities.

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We believe everyone wants to be involved in the decisions that shape their lives.

That's why we started ACTIVATE North Carolina. We want to inspire people to take action and get involved in their communities, with local AIA Sections at the core of that engagement.


ACTIVATE North Carolina started as Activate 14 which was a program series hosted during the summer of 2014 and continued into 2015. Programs were hosted at the Center for Architecture and Design in Raleigh, NC - located at 14 East Peace Street - which inspired the name.

The founders hoped to grow participation at the Center, with three goals in mind:

  1. Promote the Center for Architecture and Design as a public resource
  2. Engage architects, artists, and designers in exploring “big picture” questions
  3. Convene the public around environmental and social issues

The Activate 14 programming included talks, workshops, parking lot expos, and design-builds exploring a variety of issues like food, transportation, and housing. Each event was designed to be a call to action for those interested in activating their communities and wanting to make a difference in shaping the world around them. Citizens in Raleigh and the Triangle embraced the inaugural programming, which lead to AIA North Carolina establishing it as a statewide program.


Architects not only design buildings - they also help people shape the future of their communities. The goal of ACTIVATE North Carolina is to help architects guide, listen, observe, advocate, connect, and envision with the public and their communities. Through these six exercises, the end goal is to inspire people to take action and shape the future for their communities around them. Architects can:

  • Guide -  Architects use a design process to find solutions, facilitating clearer communication
  • Listen - Identify opportunties and potential challenges through interviews and conversations
  • Observe - Collect understanding and offer different perspectives
  • Advocate - Support citizens as they develop more confidence to seek change
  • Connect - Facilitate relationships and identify key stakeholders
  • Envision - Communicate tangible ideas by illustrating a vision that shows the future a community desires


Since its' inception in 2016, ACTIVATE has granted over $220,000 to over 100 programs around the State. These funds have provided support for a diverse field of programs, including K-12 programs focused on building diversity in the profession, design-build projects, publications, community gatherings, and more! Every local AIA Section and their members work hard to bring creative and engaging programs and resources to their community. We applaud their efforts and look forward to continued success in 2023 and on!

Each year, up to $40,000 is granted to support programs that encourage this engagement. Anyone can apply for a grant, but the submissions will be reviewed by the leadership of one of our seven local AIA Sections.


Jan 11 - Call for Submissions Opens

Feb 19 - All Submissions due through online form

March 22 - Notification of Program approval

When you are ready to submit, use the online Call for Submissions form here.

Feel free to download the Call for Submissions form TEMPLATE here, or at the link at the top of the page.


We encourage you to contact your local AIA Section for ways to support and engage this year’s ACTIVATE programs in your community. You can also follow along on our social media channels below.

AIA Asheville

Maggie DeLap

Keri Dixon


AIA Charlotte

Marc Manack

Kate Shelton


AIA Eastern

Procopio Serrano

AIA Piedmont

Charles Pearce

AIA Triangle

Bailey Allred

Mia Xavier


AIA Wilmington

Daniela Ayers

Michelle Marks


AIA Winston-Salem

David Byington


General ACTIVATE Questions

AIA North Carolina

Megan Bowles

Joel Pominville


Competitions and Events

View Previous Competitions Here>>

Image credits

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