From Don Tomasi, Principal TLCD Architecture, AIARE Scholarship Fund:

I want to take this opportunity to bring everyone up to speed on one of our chapter’s most important endeavors.  Since its founding in 2005, our AIARE Scholarship Fund has awarded a total of $22,800 to 16 architecture students from throughout our chapter area, from Petaluma to Eureka. In addition to myself, current members of our Scholarship Committee are Aaron Jobson, Jaime Stich, Drew Weigl and Sara Woodfield.

The nuts and bolts of running a scholarship fund can be time consuming and expensive, but we are fortunate to be able to rely on two local non-profits for support.  For a very minimal cost  10,000 Degrees  manages the fund as a part of their scholarship fund portfolio, and Community Foundation Sonoma County  handles the investment aspects of the fund, and determines how much is available to us to award while allowing our endowment to continue to grow.  Notably, 10,000 Degrees actively seeks out and supports students from low income backgrounds who often otherwise would not be thinking about going to college.

This year we wanted to make two $1,000 awards, which exceeded the amount available to award. Fortunately, Scholarship Committee members’ firms stepped forward to cover the difference, and even grow our endowment which currently stands at about $34,000.

This year’s awardees are Kimberley Garcia Arechiga and Zoe Frothinger.  Both are from Petaluma.

Kimberley is a Junior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and this will be the 3rd year we have awarded her a scholarship.  In her scholarship application she included a thank-you letter and had this to say: “I wanted to thank you, truly through your generosity I have had an easier time financially. It can be very mentally and physically taxing but with your aid I am able to complete projects and get the supplies I need to do said projects with similar ease as my peers. I have always been so passionate about how a building looks, its functionality, how it affects the culture and civilians, more importantly how it can better benefit the community. Architecture is a vessel to make a difference in a community and I want to someday give back to mine similarly to how you are helping me through my journey. I am so truly grateful and wish you all an amazing rest of your year!”

Our other awardee, Zoe is now a Freshman at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  She became interested in architecture through high school STEM classes, which included CADD classes and experience with rendering.  She is active in sports, has worked at a bookstore during summers, and has her own photography business photographing senior portraits, Christmas cards, and local events.

In order to be able to make meaningful awards to future scholarship applicants it is imperative that we continue to grow our endowment.  In the past we have had fund drives that have significantly increased our endowment.  Given the current uncertain economic environment, this is not the ideal time to be raising funds.  In view of that, our Scholarship Committee has decided to seek smaller, annual contribution pledges from Chapter members, firms, and allied members.  You will be hearing more about this shortly.

In closing, I wish to thank everyone who has contributed to the Fund over the years.  Being able to support local architecture students is rewarding and has made an important difference to many students over the years who rely on such scholarships to fund their education.

Don Tomasi