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News > DP Education > Center for Architecture and Design Receives Grant from William Penn Foundation

Center for Architecture and Design Receives Grant from William Penn Foundation

The Architecture and Design Education (ADE) program is committed to exponentially expanding access to design education for K-12 students in Philadelphia.
17 Jun 2022
Written by Liz Paul
United States of America
DP Education

Philadelphia, PA, June 7, 2022 – The Center for Architecture and Design (Center) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a three year grant from the William Penn Foundation. The purpose of this grant is to support its long-term goal of increasing the number of BIPOC architects and designers by expanding their design education program to 2,000 Philadelphia public school K-12 students from predominately BIPOC and low-income communities.

The Center has a long history of working with students in Philadelphia’s public school system, and in working collaboratively with teachers to plan, implement, and continuously improve the Architecture and Design Education (ADE) program. In 2016, the Center developed the ADE program based on the ideas from a program developed 35 years earlier by members of the Foundation for Architecture called the “Architecture in Education” program. Throughout the past five years, the Center has actively engaged teachers and its Architect Volunteers in on-going evaluation and refinement of the program to ensure its quality, relevance, ease of use, and impact. In addition to Architect Volunteers, the Center is actively recruiting volunteers from multiple design disciplines, engineering, and construction industries to expose students to the wide variety of potential careers.

The ADE program is an innovative educational initiative which enhances and supplements the normal school curriculum whereby children in grades K-12 in participating public schools learn architectural and design concepts through fun, engaging, hands-on activities. The program aims to introduce children to the design process, familiarize them with careers in architecture, design, engineering, construction, planning, and real estate development and help children understand that the world is intentionally designed by people and that they themselves can shape the environment of their homes, neighborhoods, cities, and the world.

“The Center’s in-class ADE program is designed to generate benefits over the short, medium and long-term, for the students involved,” says Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director of the Center, “Over the long-term, the Center aims to create a more racially equitable and just Philadelphia. We know that creating racial equity, in part, requires that citizens from all neighborhoods must be engaged in the design of the City. Therefore, we need more BIPOC individuals working in architecture, design, and construction industries. Our program is an important entry point for Philadelphia public school students. This grant enables our organization to expand our program in every way so that we can deliver the highest quality program possible, because that is what our students deserve.”


About the Center / Architecture + Design

An independent non-profit, the Center was founded in 2002 by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Philadelphia). The Center provides the public with a place and with programs to explore architecture, urban planning, and design, allowing us all to understand how these creative professions affect us in our daily lives. Using Philadelphia's distinctive breadth of architecture, pioneering urban design, and diverse manufacturing heritage as the foundation for discussion, we educate the public through exhibitions, guest speakers, hands-on workshops, design competitions, city-wide festivals, and children's programming. The Center brings together architects, designers, developers, thought leaders, and the public under one roof and also provides office space for AIA Philadelphia and the Community Design Collaborative. The Center is open to the public five days a week. For more information visit:

About the William Penn Foundation:

The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, provide inclusive and equitable public spaces and arts and culture experiences, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. Learn more at

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