As part of the annual Opportunity Fund to support AIA component initiatives, the AIA and Hanley Wood have awarded AIA Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C., and AIA Topeka in Topeka, Kan., $5,000 each for special programs organized by the components. Both programs aim to promote the role of design in their communities.

AIA Charlotte will host the second part of its "West Side Stories: An Equitable Neighborhood Housing Design Charrette" to address strategies for ending the displacement of longtime residents in the city's West Side neighborhood. AIA Topeka plans to partner with the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library to make age-appropriate building kits accessible to community children to learn about design.

Eighteen components from the U.S. and abroad applied this year. “The submissions were of incredibly high quality," says Ned Cramer, Assoc. AIA, editor-in-chief of ARCHITECT and vice president, editorial, at Hanley Wood, who selected the winners. "AIA components are making important contributions in communities across the nation and across the globe.”

Last year's winner were AIA DC for its Design Like a Girl mentor program that pairs girls ages 11 to 13 with women practitioners and AIA Miami's BAM! Black Architects in the Making program workshops for middle and high school students in underserved communities.

Funding for the Opportunity Fund grants is provided by Hanley Wood, publisher of ARCHITECT. Both winning components will receive $2,500 at the time of the award and the remaining $2,500 upon each program's completion.