Celebrating extraordinary individuals and organizations for their service to the community and to the profession.

Since 2015, the Center for Architecture + Design and AIA San Francisco’s Community Alliance Awards has honored 100+ individuals, firms, and organizations whose overall work, leadership, and dedication has shaped the character and vibrancy of our communities and the future of our built environment. VIEW previous year’s Community Alliance Awards honorees and learn more about this annual program. 

In addition to the annual awards program, our ongoing Community Spotlight and Community Builders Series recognize the contributions of an array of extraordinary individuals and organizations for their service to the community and to the profession. Their continued efforts to engage, educate, collaborate, and advocate elevates the value of design and its impact on the experiences of our daily lives. 

2023 Community Alliance Awards Honorees

Congratulations again to this year’s recipients in the following categories:

Social Impact Award 

Recognition of an organization or individual for extended commitment to community service or significant contribution evidenced by a positive impact on urban,environmental, or neighborhood issues.

Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)

MEDA is a nonprofit started in 1973. Rooted in San Francisco’s Mission District, MEDA is advancing a national equity movement by building Latino prosperity, community ownership and civic power. We envision generations of Latino families choosing where to call home, thriving economically, succeeding in learning opportunities, and leading policy and social change toward a more equitable society. 

Young Community Developers

YCD believes that every individual should have the right to sustainable and generational economic mobility. We impact lives! Positively impacted lives, empower people to break cycles of poverty for themselves, their families and their communities.

Resilience Award 

Recognizes individuals or organizations who have been a mainstay in the community and whose mission aligns with the historic documentation and preservation of community stories.

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

The Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts was established in 1977 by artists and community activists with a shared vision to promote, preserve and develop the cultural arts that reflect the living tradition and experiences of the Chicano, Central and South American, and Caribbean people, and to make arts accessible as an essential element to community development and well-being. 

Changemaker Award 

Recognition of an organization or individual that applies art, technology + research to tackle societal problems while also providing resources for growth to other communities in the Bay Area.

Women in BIM

WIB (Women in BIM) aims to address gender disparities & promote the participation and growth of women in the AEC industry. It is a diverse network of female professionals within the AEC industry dedicated to supporting women in design technology and BIM related roles for skills, education and career progression. WIB is successful in empowering women in making game-changing contributions to the digital development of the built environment.

Opera Parallèle

Opera Parallèle is a prominent contemporary opera company based in San Francisco, known for its innovative and boundary-pushing productions. Founded in 2007 as Ensemble Parallèle by conductor Nicole Paiement, the company has been a driving force in redefining the operatic experience for modern audiences. Collaboration is in Opera Parallèle’s DNA: the company was named for founder Nicole Paiement’s belief that working “in parallel”, or in partnership, with organizations and artists in our own communities is essential for the survival of opera as a living art form.

Revitalization Award 

Recognizes business owners, property owners, developers, and neighborhood organizations who have enhanced the local community by making significant improvements to their properties or invigorated the culture, which has, in turn, had a positive impact on the surrounding area.

Into the Streets SF

Into The Streets is a cultural production studio specializing in outdoor civic and cultural events, community engagement, and capacity building for social impact organizations. As a woman of color, LGBTQ-owned, San Francisco-based small business, Into the Streets SF is committed to empowering female, Indigenous, brown, Black and queer communities realizing economic liberation while making our city a more just, joyous, and environmentally regenerative place.

Mentor Award 

Recognizes individuals for their commitment in guiding students, colleagues, and/or other community members as they progress through all stages of their career.

Andre Higginbotham / June Jordan School for Equity: Motorcycle Mechanics Extended Day Program

As a school for Social Justice serving predominantly working class communities of color, the mission of June Jordan School for Equity is not just to prepare students for college but also to prepare their graduates to be agents of positive change in the world. Their mission and vision is to prepare young people in three key areas. Four years ago, June Jordan School for Equity — a small high school on the edge of McLaren Park — started offering a motorcycle design, maintenance and operation course. It’s the only school in the country to offer a class that teaches students everything from motorbike anatomy to responsible riding. 

Quinlin B. Messenger / JUST Design

Quinlin founded JUST Design (JUST) in 2017, an emerging minority owned studio with a guiding value set that systems should be and can be just for all. As director, Quinlin has championed social and environmental justice projects throughout the country and internationally giving him a unique sense of the inequities that face our global and local communities. His experience has clearly shown that unjust systems have been by design, and therefore, can be redesigned. 

Marie Pecot / Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure (OCII)

The Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure chapter is comprised of a diverse range of public workers including engineers, architects, accountants, auditors, administrative analysts, and more.

Sandra I. Vivanco Education Award 

Recognizes an organization or individual who upholds the values to inspire students, peers and the community that extends beyond the boundaries of the pedagogy into practice.

Sameena Sitabkhan / Academy of Art University

Sameena is a California licensed architect deeply committed to empowering the next generation of architects through an emphasis on spatial justice. Teaching at ArtU since 2014, she has served in the roles of Licensing Advisor, AIAS faculty advisor, and NOMAS faculty advisor. Since 2018, she has been directing B.Lab, the undergraduate department’s community-based design initiative. The student-designed and constructed projects have won numerous awards in recognition of the creative and empathetic ways of meeting the needs of underserved communities in the Bay Area through a robust participatory model with neighbors, local youth, city agencies, and nonprofits.

Community Alliance Award 

Recognition of an organization or individual outside the profession who has made significant contributions to the improvement of the Bay Area’s built environment. Contributions may include advancement or development of initiatives that promote excellence in architecture; the commissioning of notable additions to the built environment; or activities that raise the public’s consciousness of the importance of excellent design in the shaping of our world and culture.

Downtown San Francisco / Landing at Leidesdorff

Downtown San Francisco is The City’s economic powerhouse and historic core, continually redefining what makes our city vibrant, resilient, and welcoming. Landing at Leidesdorff is a reimagined downtown experience for San Franciscans – activated with pop-up vendors, cultural programming, varying food and beverage options and local art installations – across historic alleyways and underutilized public spaces in the city’s traditional commercial corridor.