New Octagon Society advocates preservation and greater public experience of significant architectural sites in U.S.

Washington, D.C. – February 27, 2014 – AIA Foundation (AIAF) President George H. Miller, FAIA, named Sherry-Lea Bloodworth Botop, CFRE, as Executive Director of AIAF, the philanthropic extension of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Bloodworth Botop is responsible for all programs and activities related to the AIAF mission.

Bloodworth Botop joins the AIAF from Architecture for Humanity, where she served as a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Development. Her role encompassed leading the development teams, assisting the Board of Directors with development strategies, and managing key donor relationships as well as relations with foundation, government, and non-governmental organization partners.

Bloodworth Botop’s long-standing philanthropic expertise includes founding Housing Resource Centers with embedded Design Studios following Hurricane Katrina. Following testimony before Congress centered on the value of design in communities, she raised more than $40 million dollars to help rebuild low-income communities across the Gulf Coast. She is a 2014 White House Innovation Fellow and a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Erica Rioux Gees, AIA, will take on a new role with the Foundation as Director of the Octagon, a new initiative and one of three core areas of programmatic focus. In addition to stewardship of the Octagon House, the AIA’s first national offices, Gees will help lead the Foundation’s efforts to advocate preservation of U.S. architectural sites of historical significance as well as administer the scholarship and educational programs.

The AIA Foundation’s purpose is to connect the value and impact of good design with the public through programs recognizing design excellence; drive positive change to meet the challenges of today’s designed environment by highlighting innovative design solutions; and helping shape the future by nurturing talent and diversity in new generations of design professionals.

“The AIA Foundation is in very capable hands,” said Miller. “Sherry-Lea Bloodworth Botop brings creativity and proven leadership demonstrating the essential role of good design in our lives. Combined with Erica Gees’ deep knowledge of historic preservation and planning, I’m confident the Foundation will make great progress in expanding public understanding and appreciation for the enduring value of architecture,” Miller added.

About The AIA Foundation

The AIA Foundation preserves, honors, and advances excellence in design for the benefit of the public. As the not-for-profit philanthropic extension of the American Institute of Architects, the AIA Foundation is the preeminent voice and advocate for architecture and design in America. The AIA Foundation is dedicated to the belief that good design is good for all and plays an essential role in transforming lives and building a better world.

About The American Institute of Architects

Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well-being.  Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit


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