Letter from President McKenzie: AIA Cincinnati Launches Impact Grant

In the Fall of last year I began putting more thought into what I hoped to accomplish in my upcoming year as AIA Cincinnati President. Typically, my best thoughts don’t come to me during structured “thinking time,” but rather when I let my mind wander and make connections while doing mundane things like walking the dog or waiting in line at the grocery store.  As I was preparing for the 2019 board retreat in November, an idea came to me during a morning kickboxing workout. Past AIA Cincinnati Membership Survey results had made me very consciously aware that our members want to make a difference locally and to concentrate on programs and actions that show the power of design to enrich the Cincinnati community. I was also acutely aware that as a board of only nine people, AIA Cincinnati has to rely on our larger membership if we want to make the biggest impact possible. Enter the AIA Cincinnati Impact Grant.

My idea was to create a micro grant program that would empower and encourage our members to tap into their own passions to make an impact. The program would award a small amount of money to an AIA Cincinnati member, or group of members, who had an idea on how to use design to enrich our community and bring attention to the value of architects. In exchange for the grant to pursue their project, the awardee(s) would be responsible for creating a program for the AIA Cincinnati membership that presented their idea and project. I presented this framework of an idea to the 2019 AIA Cincinnati at our board retreat, and there was enough support to develop the idea further.

With development help from board members Angela Mazzi and Cynthia Williams, we are now ready to launch the AIA Cincinnati Impact Grant program! We are very intentionally keeping the guidelines and requirements of the program open and flexible as we try this out for the first time. Have a great idea that a little funding would help you execute? Please read more about the Impact Grant and how to apply here: https://www.aiacincinnati.org/awards-impact-grant/ Applications are due on or before May 28!

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