Design Matters: Taking Action


In honor of Black History Month, Fireclay Tile launches their annual Architecture Scholarship for Black Women

For the third year, Fireclay Tile has partnered with the Architects Foundation in an effort to build a more inclusive and diverse design industry to launch an architectural, diversity advancement scholarship for black women. A 2021 report by NCARB and NOMA National found that women of color are disproportionately impacted by financial limitations along the path to architectural licensure. Only 0.4% of all licensed architects in America today are Black Women.

According to the Architects Foundation, BIPOC architects face three major hurdles on the path to architecture:

1). A lack of awareness of the profession at the K-12 level
2). A lack of belonging due to the current demographics of the industry
3). Particularly for Black women, disparities emerge regarding firm support for licensure, income gaps, and tuition debt

The goal of this scholarship is to change that by raising $75k that will administered in $25K scholarships to three women. These scholarships will go beyond supporting just the recipients—they will benefit the architecture and design community as a whole by narrowing racial disparities and shaping the world for all.


Last year, Brooklyn native Ori Thornell was awarded the 2022 scholarship what gives her $4,000 per year towards tuition for up to five years to attend Syracuse University. Thornell won the scholarship due to her commitment to make meaningful change by incorporating sustainable practices, and most importantly, her advocacy for equal access to the rights inherent in architecture. “In the last few years, I realized that architecture is extremely impactful on how we live and engage with the world around us. While art can be incredibly therapeutic, architecture has taught me a new use of art as a tool for engaging with my environment,” says Thornell. “I studied biomimicry a couple of years ago in my science class and my interest immediately peaked. I was fascinated by the idea of using nature to influence architectural design, instead of trying to reinvent sustainable ways of building and living.”


All donations big and small are welcome by simply visiting the scholarship page HERE. If you are interested in donating more than $1,000, please email your company’s logo (JPeg file) to to be featured on our partner’s page. For more information please visit the official Fireclay site.


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