SPD Grant Call for Submissions

When:  Jan 14, 2021 from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM (ET)
Associated with  Small Project Design
Small Project Design 2021 Grant Program
Call for Submissions

Notice: This 2021 submission period is now closed. Please visit aia.org/spd for information on current programs.

The SPD advisory committee is pleased to announce the 2020-2021 Small Project Design Knowledge Community Grant. The purpose of this grant is to provide financial support for non-profit organizations working with architects on community-based projects. Along with supporting the work of non-profits, we want to  demonstrate the value of hiring an architecture firm (and AIA member) for community projects, by helping cover some of the costs associated with hiring the design team.


We understand that community-based projects often struggle to find funding, especially the funds needed to hire professional design teams to help solve design challenges. Too often non-profits feel they can’t afford to pay for design services even though architects would provide immense value and can make the project more successful. To help demonstrate the value architects can bring to a project, this grant aims to help cover some of the design fees associated with hiring a professional design team.

  • The grant funds are to be used to hire an architecture firm to assist with the design and/or feasibility studies for a community-based project.
  • The architecture team must include at least one AIA or Associate AIA member.
  • The grant application must identify the 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization and the selected architecture firm.
  • Either the architecture firm or the 501(c)3 may be the primary applicant.
  • Funds can only be used to cover the costs of hiring an architectural firm including their fees and reimbursable expenses.
  • Preference will be given to small projects with the potential for a big impact.

Grant Amount

This grant is aimed at helping cover some of the costs involved in hiring a professional design team. The number of grants and funding awarded each year may vary based on funds available, quality of applications, and how to allocate the funds to make the biggest impact.

  • We will be awarding grants up to $5,000 

The jury reserves the right to adjust the number or amount of the grants awarded depending on funding availability, quality of entries, quantity of applications, or other factors


  • The design team must include at least one member of the American Institute of Architects. (Both AIA and Associate AIA members are eligible.)
  • The non-profit partner must be a 501(c)3 organization
  • Matching funds (The non-profit organization must demonstrate that they have the funds to match the grant amount going towards design fees. Example: if the grant amount is $5000, the non-profit must show that they have another $5000 dedicated to the design fees in addition to the grant amount.)


The grant applications will be reviewed by the AIA Small Project Design Knowledge Community advisory board who will serve as the jury.


Applications for this grant may be submitted by a 501c(3) or by an AIA member in conjunction with a 501(c)3 organization. Submission consists of a form and a single PDF no larger than 10mb and no more than six (6) total pages. Email any questions to spd@aia.org

For the form, you will need to submit:

  • Contact information for both the architecture firm and the non-profit.
  • A description of the non-profit and its mission
  • A short description of the project, including
    • Who will benefit from this project?
    • How will working with an architecture team enhance the project and support your goals?
    • How does your project address sustainability (environmental, social, and/or economic)?

For the PDF, please include:

  • One page outline of the full project budget
    • What is the design budget?
    • What is the construction budget?
    • Are you receiving funds from other grants or donations?
    • Does the non-profit organization have matching funds dedicated to the design fees? What is the total amount of the matching funds?
  • Include any relevant images of the project, site plan, site photographs, design concept sketches or renderings, or any additional graphics that can help describe the project and its benefit to the surrounding community, etc.

Requirements for Winning Proposals

  • The grantee must demonstrate that they have executed a contract with a qualified design team within 6 months of being awarded the grant. Funds will be disbursed directly to the 501(c)3 organization as reimbursement for design fees.
  • The grantee must credit the AIA Small Project Design Grant in any/all marketing materials (websites, social media, print publications, news stories, etc.)
  • The SPD retains the right to use winning projects for promotional materials
  • A final deliverable of the work produced by the grantee and contracted design team must be shared with the SPD within one year of the grant being awarded.
  • It is encouraged that each grant awardee submits their completed project to the annual SPD awards program

Submission deadline is January 14, 2021 at 5pm PST

Incomplete submissions may be submitted and updated later - you will be sent an email with a link to edit the submission. At the close of the submission period, only complete applications will be considered.