The 2023 application is now closed. The next cycle will open August 2023 with an October 2023 deadline

An Opportunity for Career Development

Since 2001, AFO has partnered with The Van Evera and Janet M. Bailey Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation in awarding the $25,000 annual Van Evera Bailey Fellowship to advance the professional development of design and building professionals and encourage greater contributions to their profession and community. This Fellowship is an opportunity for professionals in the field to examine not only what they think, but how they think.

Fellowship projects follow a variety of paths but the most compelling projects propose work that can have an impact on communities as well as individual professionals. Examples of eligible activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Sabbaticals for study of innovative architectural design to be applied in Oregon
  • Teaching engagements that promise enhancement of the applicant’s and students’ creativity in architectural design
  • Collaborations of architects and planners or others toward the implementation of new projects
  • Preparation of public education projects; or research and writing on a specific topic

Watch the information session featuring past Fellows and AFO Executive Director Claire Blaylock to learn more about how to prepare your proposal for submission. Recorded September 10, 2020.

Meet our 2021 VEB Fellow, Todd Lawson

Todd Lawson is a licensed architect, interior architect, lighting designer and artist based in Seattle, Washington. He has spent much of his design career influenced and excited by his ancestral ties to the Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribes. The Clatsop-Nehalem people inhabited the northern Oregon coast for centuries before a government termination policy, racism, and disease destructed their community. In 2020, the North Coast Land Conservancy transferred 18.6 acres of salt marsh and forest near Seaside, OR, back to the tribes.

A member of the tribes, Todd is helping define, design, and facilitate the creation of a new cultural center, museum, and traditional longhouse on the Clatsop-Nehalem’s reacquainted land. Todd is using the fellowship to deepen his research on contemporary west coast Native American cultural centers, traditional structures, art, and the building traditions that inspired them. Through elevating Indigenous perspectives and experiences, he will assist the Clatsop-Nehalem people’s return to Seaside and record their legacy.

As his tribal mentor explained to him, “Our history is broken, we need to look forward and not mourn the past… now is the time for members like you to continue the work.”

Related Articles:
NCLC returns ancient cultural site to Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribes
Building a longhouse on Clatsop-Nehalem land


Eligibility for the Fellowship is flexible. Favorable emphasis will be given to applicants based in Oregon who are at a point of inflection in their career. The intention of the Fellowship is to provide time for creativity, reflection and a pursuit of deeper understanding of ideas that will result in lasting value to the applicant, the profession and the greater community.

The Fellowship is intended to promote dissemination and application of ideas. Support may be requested for stipends, travel, lodging, materials, and other relevant needs. Projects must include follow-up activities that in some way share the results of the Fellowship with the professional community and general public. Fellows will be asked to provide information to document their experience. At the end of the Fellowship, AFO and the Fellow will collaborate on a short presentation highlighting their work and findings.

Applicants may apply jointly for a Van Evera Bailey Fellowship. For example, if an architect and an urban planner see potential for an innovative project that requires unusual research, they might apply jointly for stipends or support of travel and other expenses in order to examine relevant work in other communities, states, or countries; consult with professional peers and leading thinkers; formulate detailed plans; and produce articles or public education programs.

Current members of the board of AFO are not eligible to apply or to receive Fellowship funds indirectly as a partner in a proposed project.

Application Requirements

In 2020 we transitioned our application process to a platform called Submittable. Applicants must now submit proposals electronically through an application form. You will be asked to make a free account through Submittable, which will allow you to save drafts as you work through the application and allow you to access your submitted application at any time.

(1) Greatest scoring weight will be given to the application essay prompts outlined below:

  • Describe your proposed project and a clearly articulated thesis statement that will guide and frame your work. (500 word limit)
  • Explain the impact of the project on the applicant, the building profession and the communities served. Explain the documented need to be addressed by the Fellowship and any challenges you feel you might face. (500 word limit)
  • Describe the plans for dissemination of the project results – dissemination plans do not need to adhere to any specific criteria and creative communication tools are encouraged. Please consider public access to the project and how the outcomes/findings will be communicated. (500 word limit)
  • Explain your experience and qualifications to address the topic at hand – including but not limited to your academic, civic and professional experience. (250 word limit)
  • Explain or list your schedule/timetable/work plan for the completion of the project. (250 word limit)

(2) Additional Attachments:

  • Resume of the applicant(s)
  • Itemized budget for the entire Fellowship. If other sources of support will be used to complement Fellowship support, please identify them and whether they have been secured. IMPORTANT NOTE: The award of a VEB Fellowship is taxable income. Applicants must plan and budget accordingly.
  • Two or three letters of support from different perspectives which may include other design professionals, architectural organizations or representatives of other fields, indicating why the proposed Fellowship is important to the professional community. References should address personal capabilities of the applicant and value of the project.
  • Brief design portfolio of materials that illuminate the applicant’s work and its relevance to the proposed project.

Process and Timetable

Applications will be reviewed by a committee including design and building professionals in collaboration with OCF and AFO. Applicants may be asked to submit further information or to speak with representatives of OCF and AFO to clarify their proposals. The review committee will make recommendations to the board of The Oregon Community Foundation. OCF reserves the right to approve Fellowships at its sole discretion.

Invitation for Proposals will be announced in July with an October deadline. The VEB Fellowship will be awarded by OCF through the Architecture Foundation of Oregon and will be announced publicly by December for the year-long Fellowship period to begin January 1 of the following year.

2023 Invitation for Proposals

Application Deadline: Monday, October 17, 2022, 11:59pm

The next cycle will open August 2023 with an October 2023 deadline. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when applications go live.

See our past VEB Fellows


Susan Myers
Associate Director

VEB Fellow Spotlight

Jackie Santa Lucia
2020 Van Evera Bailey Fellow

Jackie used the fellowship award to expand Your Street Your Voice, a program where youth get paid to learn about design as a tool for racial justice. Learn more about our past Fellows.