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Who We Are

400 FORWARD was named in light of the 400th living African American woman recently becoming a licensed architect in 2017 (out of over 115,000 total licensed in the US). Did you know women represent 20% of licensed architects, and black women only .3%? This new initiative aims to seek out and support the next 400 licensed women architects with an underlying focus on African American girls through exposure, mentorship, and financial assistance.


400 FORWARD’s Mission: to uplift girls by giving them the tools they need to address social issues created by the unjust built environments of our inner-city communities.


An initiative of the Urban Arts Collective (a nonprofit organization), 400 FORWARD has been launched as a comprehensive program which introduces young girls to architecture, provides scholarships and wrap around services to college students, and pays for study material and licensing exams for African American women in architecture.

400 FORWARD wins $50,000 Matching Grant from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation 


In a submission titled "Art & Architecture: Changing our Cities Through Our Youth," 400 Forward was selected as one of the winners for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight Arts Challenge. 


The programs, support, and multi-level scholarships to be provided by 400 FORWARD aims to position young women to realize their talents in STEAM, and grow the presence of African American women in the profession of architecture (currently less than .3%) through the incorporation of artistic excellence.


An article about the story behind 400 Forward can be found at  www.curbed.com.

Mentorship & Outreach

We provide free art & architectural summer camps and workshops that feature local city-builders, makers, artists, musicians, and dancers, creating presentations and art installations. We provide participation in summer festivals and design summits hosted in Detroit showcasing the work of the youth. We connect girls to mentors in cities across the country.

What We Do

Community Engagement

Through the use of technology to tell stories of discussing the use of the spaces around them, we can connect communities to companies and organizations doing work in their neighborhood. In the words of city-builder Jay Pitter: Urban Development should not be something happening *to* you. We have the power and knowledge to be directly involved. 

Scholarships & Financial Support

Financial issues can be a major barrier to the success of a student reaching their full potential. 400 FORWARD has direct access to connecting students to assistance, scholarships and wrap around services, and providing study material and licensing exams for African American women in architecture. The cost of architectural licensing exams is a total of $1,410 alone.

Ellyse Scott, Los Angeles
California State University, Long Beach
Class of 2020 
Jadyn Jean-Louis, Detroit
Nepolean High School
Class of 2020
Headed to Kent State University's 
College of Architecture
SmithGroup Exploring Post Scholarship Recipient
Dejana Warren, Detroit
University of Michigan 
Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning
Class of 2024
Old Redford Academy - High School
Class of 2019
SmithGroup Exploring Post Scholarship Recipient

Featured Mentees

The future is in good hands. 

400 Forward Licensure Exam 

Scholarship Recipients 

400FWD Campus Tour.jpg
Destiny Warren
Detroit School of Arts High School
Class of 2021
Brionne Davis
Detroit School of Arts High School
Class of 2021
Dea'Onne Reynolds
Detroit School of Arts High School
Class of 2021
Seeking, inspiring, and mentoring the next generation of women designers through art excellence. 



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Fort Collins, Colorado

" Zandria is currently working as an architect-in-training at Tobin & Associates, a design firm centered around community-oriented architecture, primarily focused on hospitality and education. Throughout college to the present, Zandria continues to mentor young women and girls who show an interest in architecture or design."

—  400 Forward ARE Scholarship

     Recipient, All Exams Covered

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