Annual Report: Volunteers

Year after year, APA is well served by member volunteers who dedicate time and talents to lead the association and its component groups and to serve on committees, working groups, and task forces. More volunteer members, working in Community Planning Assistance Teams, reaching out as APA Ambassadors, and acting in many other capacities, are serving individuals and communities across the country.

New oversight

The new Community Assistance Planning Services (CAPS) Committee is charged with raising the profile of the Community Assistance Program, both within APA and among the American public. Key goals are promoting the work of Community Planning Assistance Teams in a variety of media, increasing student volunteerism, and enhancing volunteer recognition.

Volunteer leaders

National, chapter, and division volunteer leaders keep APA's programs and priorities responsive to members. They carry the flag for the planning profession and speak on APA's behalf to partner organizations and at local celebrations and media events.

Elected leaders and other volunteers serving on national committees, task forces, and working groups led a number of projects, ranging from the Daniel Burnham Forum on Big Ideas to Development Plan initiatives. Members can see results of their efforts in the final reports presented to the APA Board of Directors by the Economic Development, Planning Agency of the Future, Smart Cities and Sustainability, and Water task forces.

Student leaders implemented and expanded a wide range of activities at Planning Student Organizations on campuses across the country. The Student Representatives Council, led in 2015 by Lisandro Orozco, produced the first SRC strategic plan to engage student leaders and guide their work in APA and the planning profession.


During August and September, APA realized a long-desired goal: a consolidated election. For the first time, members could vote for officers of all components of the association — APA Directors; AICP Commissioners; and chapter, division, and student leaders — on a single ballot. The new officers began their service on January 1, 2016.

Work continues on efforts to expand members' leadership and service opportunities and to improve and facilitate leadership transitions and orientation throughout APA.

Get involved! To learn more about APA leadership and other opportunities to serve, email

AICP Community Planning Workshop

AICP's annual workshop during the National Planning Conference joined planners from around the country with residents and stakeholders in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, focusing their energy and expertise on parks and open space, affordable housing, and transportation and mobility issues.


Community Planning Assistance Teams

CPATs completed four projects in 2015:

  • A team helped Lewis and Clark County and the City of Helena, Montana, develop joint smart-growth policies to limit the negative effects of sprawling development.
  • A CPAT engaged the community of Deerfield Beach, Florida, and assisted city staff with designs, policies, and other recommendations to revive the original town center.
  • Five team members worked with a spirited Spanish Fork, Utah, community, contributing their skills and expertise to revitalizing a historic Main Street corridor.
  • A CPAT created a downtown plan for North Beach, Maryland, a small, vibrant, seasonal town on Chesapeake Bay.

Next up for CPAT: projects in Philadelphia's historic Germantown neighborhood and West Melbourne, Florida.

Would you like to join a Community Planning Assistance Team? Learn more and volunteer!

CPAT Projects 2005-15

APA Ambassadors

The new APA Ambassadors pilot program reflects a commitment to diversify our association and profession by engaging and inspiring future planners of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Individual Ambassadors act independently while APA offers support with guides, webinars, toolkits, and other resources. More than 100 APA members serve as Ambassadors in 32 states, Canada, and Guatemala, while five APA chapters are developing state-level programs.

"As a professional planner, this is the type of activity that makes my career so rewarding. I didn't learn about planning until college so I think this is a wonderful way to expose the profession to younger minds." – Amanda Douglas, AICP, Renaissance Planning Group, Orlando, Florida

Had so much fun teaching these kiddos about planning, walking and APA. #APAAmbassadors
Thanks @uwsl

— Meag Booth (@MeagBooth) December 3, 2015

Mentor Match

Once again, Mentor Match at the National Planning Conference brought young and experienced planners together. Mentors and mentees alike appreciated and benefitted from the matchups:

"The best aspect was hearing about the dreams, goals, and plans of young people entering the planning profession. The two mentees I met with are so energetic and skilled." — Lisa Verner, FAICP
"Thank you for such a great opportunity to get to know the best and the top of APA! Keep doing it for other students in urban planning!" — Galyna Korniyenko, University of Kansas

Photos: CAP – Jennifer Graeff, AICP; APA Ambassadors – Amanda Douglas, AICP; NPC – Joe Szurszewski; Parking Day – University of Southern California PSO

Infographic: Susan Lee Deegan

Next: Finances