News Release: October 4, 2019

APA Foundation Grants Six Scholarships

CHICAGO (October 4, 2019) — The American Planning Association Foundation has awarded a total of $25,000 in scholarships to six university students studying to pursue a career in planning. The goal of the scholarships is to make planning more accessible to individuals with limited means and to attract the best, most talented individuals to the profession.

Each of this year’s scholarship recipients has demonstrated a commitment to advancing the planning profession while also creating spaces to increase the diversity and equity of the field.

Five students received the newly created APA Foundation Scholarship, each receiving $4,600. APA Foundation scholarships make the planning profession more diverse and accessible to individuals with limited means. This year's scholars are passionate about the importance of equity within the profession and all communities.

Eligible applicants are women, people of color and indigenous descent, veterans, disabled persons, and members of the LGBTQ community who are currently enrolled in an approved Planning Accreditation Board planning program with the intention of pursuing a planning career.

The 2019 APA Foundation Scholarship recipients:

  • Valeria Henao Cano, University of Colorado, Denver
  • Priscila Coli, University of California, Berkeley
  • Alexandra Duprey, Tufts University
  • Claire Jaffe, University of Pennsylvania
  • Laier-Rayshon Smith, Harvard University

One student received a $2,000 Charles Abrams Scholarship. This scholarship is given annually to a student who intends to pursue a career in planning and demonstrates financial need. The scholarship is given in memory of Charles Abrams, a recognized authority on housing and urban affairs and a dedicated planning professor who sought to help students enrolled in planning programs. Award candidates must be a U.S. citizen enrolled or accepted into one of five universities where Abrams taught. Students must be nominated by the department chair at the participating university where the student is enrolled.

The 2019 Charles Abrams Scholarship recipient:

  • Vanessa Toro Barragan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“The APA Foundation is proud to support the diversity of future planners through scholarships,” said Mary Kay Peck, FAICP, chair of the APA Foundation Board. “The scholarships are possible thanks to the generosity of our donors. We look forward to watching the students grow and impact the planning profession.”

The APA Foundation was founded in 1978. Since 2015, the Foundation has awarded $90,000 in scholarships to deserving planning students who will be leaders and advocates in their communities.

During National Community Planning Month, celebrate Giving Day on October 8, 2019, by supporting the APA Foundation, the only foundation dedicated to the planning profession. Your gift will support the APA Foundation in its mission to advance the art and science of planning through philanthropic activities that provide access to educational opportunities, enrich the public dialogue about planning, and advance social equity in the profession and in our communities.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides vital leadership in creating great communities for all. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the profession of planning — physical, economic and social — to foster quality of life for all residents. The 45,000 members work in concert with community members, civic leaders, and business interests to create communities that enrich people's lives. Through its philanthropic work, the APA Foundation helps to reduce economic and social barriers to planning. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Learn more at

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Roberta Rewers, APA, 312-786-6395;

October 4, 2019