AIA Ohio Foundation: Contributing to the Growth of the Profession
By Bruce Sekanick, FAIA, OAA

As AIA Ohio and the AIA Ohio Foundation wind down our work for the year, we can look back on this year as one of the strangest that any of us will remember. With schedules and plans quickly amended, or discarded, 2020 will in many ways be the year that wasn’t. All of us have had to change the way we do things, and, in the long run, that may not be a bad thing.

The AIA Ohio Foundation has been challenged like everyone else, however, it is especially important for organizations such as ours, to step forward when the need occurs.

The Foundation, now in our 52nd year, has continued to evolve into an organization that, in addition to scholarships, works to advance architectural education, research and the awareness of architecture. Added last year to our list of programs is the AIA Ohio Foundation Grants. These grants, developed to assist components in their efforts, allow the Foundation to help AIA Ohio chapters bring programs of value to their members and communities. This year, that includes assistance for programs such as Camp Architecture at the Columbus Center for Architecture and Design, AIA Cleveland’s OHIO:Say It Loud, the AIA Columbus COVID-19 Relief Scholarships and AIA Akron’s Kent State Laptop Fund. Earlier this year, through a targeted donation, the Foundation also helped support the John Hay High School architectural program in Cleveland. While we do not take credit for the planning of these activities and events, we are glad to be able to provide funding to make them a reality.

While the pandemic has impacted our relationship with the schools and AIAS, we have continued to work with each of the five Ohio programs in the best way possible as events and programs are cancelled or postponed. We did however, for the first time, fund scholarships for five accredited programs with this year’s addition of Bowling Green State University. Our scholarship program will continue and we look forward to building a strong relationship with our schools and AIAS chapters.

The Foundation’s Charles Marr Citation continues to be an important part of our fundraising effort. Each year, members at the chapter level step up and take on leadership roles at their component. Through the Charles Marr program, chapters or individuals contribute $1,000 to the Foundation and we are able to not only recognize members for their service, but also use the funds provided to help supplement our scholarship and AIAS grant program. This “pay it forward” program is a win-win effort that helps the AIA make a difference.

This year’s recipients include:
Cynthia Williams, AIA for a donation in her name made by AIA Cincinnati
Jodi van der Weil, AIA for a donation in her name made by AIA Cleveland
Mike Vala, AIA for a donation in his name made by AIA Columbus
Craig Pickerel, AIA for a donation in his name made by AIA Toledo
Stephanie Gula, AIA for a donation in her name made by AIA Youngstown
Jennie Becker, Becker Impressions for a donation in her name made by AIA Ohio

We congratulate the recipients and thank them all for their hard work and their dedication to the profession.

The Foundation is led by a group of dedicated members of AIA Ohio. Many have served in a variety of roles in their local components and at the state level. Faced with new challenges this year, the board worked harder than ever to advance the profession. This year’s board has been exceptional, and I thank each of them for their contributions. As the year comes to an end, I would like to express the Foundation’s sincere appreciation to two members of the Foundation Board of Trustees who will be leaving the board this year. John Kelleher, AIA, the AIA Ohio Representative to the Foundation, and Jim Dalton, FAIA, both who have served the Foundation with determination and passion. We appreciate everything they have contributed and thank them for everything they have done for not only the Foundation, but the profession as well.

The Foundation’s work, like that of AIA Ohio, would not function nearly as well, without the dedication and commitment of our Executive Director, Kate Brunswick, Hon. AIA, CAE. Her ability to manage an organization with an everchanging focus at such a high level, allows our board to focus our time and energy on the goals and strategies necessary to better serve the profession.

Finally, we want to thank the members of AIA Ohio for supporting us. The Foundation would be nothing without your ongoing support. We look forward to continuing our work, and it is a privilege to serve you, the members of the architectural profession in Ohio.