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Paul R. Williams Collection announces scholarship fund


Inspiring a generation of architects

The Paul R. Williams Collection announces the launch of The Paul R. Williams  Scholarship & Education Fund, an initiative created to inspire, support, and celebrate young people  pursuing careers in architecture.

The Fund is named for trailblazing architect Paul R. Williams, FAIA, who designed more than 3,000  structures across his five-decade career that began in the 1920s, including some 2,000 designs in his native  Southern California. Even with the racist practices of the era, including those that barred him from living in  many of the neighborhoods where he built homes, Williams became favored by affluent business leaders  and celebrities, earning renown as “architect to the stars,” while also building affordable housing and public  projects. This year marks the centennial of  Williams becoming the first Black member of the American  Institute of Architects (AIA).

With a goal of inspiring future generations through the legacy of Williams and other trailblazing figures  within the field, the newly established Fund will introduce K-12 students to career paths within the field of  architecture. The fund will also provide financial support and mentoring to students of color on their journey  to professional licensing, with scholarships for fourth and fifth-year architecture students attending one of  the seven Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) offering an accredited architecture  program, as well as at the University of Southern California, Williams’ alma mater.

The inaugural fundraising gala for the Fund will take place on Oct. 11  in partnership with the  landmark Beverly Hills Hotel, for which Mr. Williams completed a major renovation beginning in the late  1940s, including the iconic signage and design elements of enduring appeal.

"I am often asked, ‘Why now?’ As caretakers of my grandfather’s estate, we have always tried to make  decisions that he would make,” said Karen E. Hudson, executive director of the Paul R. Williams Scholarship fund. “Without a doubt, he would be heartbroken by the fact that 100 years after  he became the first African-American member of the AIA, Black licensed architects represent only 2% of  AIA membership today. This effort is more than a tribute to Williams and other trailblazers in the  field, it is a call to action.”

For information and updates,  visit or Instagram at paulrwilliamscollection.

The Paul R. Williams Scholarship & Education Fund is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives,  a registered tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.