The AIAS program Freedom by Design™ (FBD) is being revamped to incorporate a broader scope and make it easier for chapters to start an FBD program. Beginning immediately, the FBD program will formally embrace efforts to improve four areas of need:
- Accessibility (ease of physical impairment),
- Sustainability (energy, agriculture, recycling),
- Learning/Education (K-5 or related), and
- Community (homelessness, social impact, community improvement, urban development).
Additionally, FBD will embrace the areas of need above with two project levels:
- Design-Build (physical construction)
- Engagement (interactive participation)
Starting in the 2017-2018 school year, any chapter will be able to declare an FBD project at any point in the year. Chapters will also be able to apply for grant funding three times a year:
- October 15th for fall projects,
- February 15th for spring projects, and
- April 15th for summer projects.
Grants will be distributed dependent upon availability, with required FBD Director attendance at Grassroots in order for a program to apply for and receive grant funding to help implement their project. In addition to the required attendance for grant application, attendance at Grassroots is encouraged for all FBD Directors.
The FBD Advisory Group (FBDAG) will now become the primary outreach arm of the program: tracking chapter projects, collecting and writing content, training and developing resources, and supporting projects throughout the year. The FBDAG will also expand to include specialist roles that help to support projects related to accessibility, sustainability, elementary/learning, and community improvement.
The AIAS National Office will continue to serve as the primary administrator of the program.
During a special meeting on April 18, 2017, the 2016-2017 Board of Directors approved these changes that strive to move the program forward.