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A grid of four headshots of the first LAF Ignite recipients
3 Black students in business attire look confident sitting on a bench

Ready to ignite your journey to becoming a landscape architect?

LAF Ignite is a comprehensive Scholarship + Internships + Mentorship program for BIPOC* college students, providing participants with an annual $10,000 scholarship, annual paid summer internship, and access to mentors throughout their educational path. 

Each year, 3-5 students are accepted into Ignite and participate until they have completed their landscape architecture degree. Every new cohort joins the group from past years for facilitated virtual meetings and peer-to-peer mentorship. Participants are matched with a one-on-one mentor and use paid summer internships to explore different career paths within landscape architecture.

*For the 2022 and 2023 application years, eligible candidates must identify as Black/African American. This will be broadened in future years.

 

Program Goals

We live in a world that is inequitable by design. And through design we can begin to change it. Ignite represents a focused effort by LAF — and the many individuals, firms, organizations, and partners who have invested in the program — to make the discipline of landscape architecture as diverse as the communities in which landscape architects work.

Many barriers to becoming a landscape architect occur during the period between entering college and entering the workforce, particularly for BIPOC students who may not see themselves or their lived experience reflected in their faculty, employers, and peers. Ignite was developed to support BIPOC students through this important stage and help them overcome prevalent barriers by providing:

  • reliable and meaningful funding, so they can stay in and focus on school
  • access to mentors, so they have a guide and support network
  • paid internships, so they get real life (paid) experience and exposure to a variety of ways to practice

By investing in these deserving students, we can grow and change the field of landscape architecture and infuse it with new energy and ideas to create a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable future.

 

Expanding Over Time

The LAF Ignite program has been several years in the making with input from many different groups to ensure it responds to identified gaps and needs. In the long term, the program will be open to all students of color, however, for the first two years, it will focus on Black/African American students, recognizing the disproportionate oppression and disinvestment Black/African Americans have experienced and continue to experience, upheld by systemic racism that is embedded in all aspects of society.

Starting with this more targeted group has allowed LAF to build the program with Black/African American partners, more effectively understand and address the specific barriers experienced by Black/African American students, and create an experience and network of support that will more strategically focus on the identified needs and opportunities.

As the program builds and is opened to other students of color in future years, LAF will continue this process by seeking out partners and landscape architects from specific racial/ethnic groups to more fully understand and address the particular barriers and provide focused opportunities for each community. 

The LAF Ignite program was launched in 2022 thanks to the generous multi-year support from donors to the Ignite and Fuel Campaign. In particular, LAF thanks the following top contributors to LAF's diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) Fund.

Lead Supporters

  • CEO Roundtable
  • Robert Chipman
  • Landscape Forms logo
  • Sasaki Associates logo
  • Smithgroup logo
  • Bill and Kathy Main, Hon. ASLA
  • Landscape Structures logo
  • OLIN logo
  • SWA Group logo
  • Beth Wehrle
  • ANOVA logo
  • Oak leak with text: "Biohabitats"
  • Jeanne Lalli
  • Logo of Lamar Johnson Collaborative: white text on a purple textured background
  • OJB logo
  • Sherry & Brian Ramsay
  • TEXT: "Reed Hilderbrand
  • TBG logo