Virginia Foundation for Architecture, Inc.
2501 Monument Avenue
Richmond VA 23220-2618
Mission Statement

The Branch elevates awareness of the transformative power of architecture and design.




CEO/Executive Director Helene Combs Dreiling FAIA
Board Chair Mrs. Laura B. Cameron
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Contact Information
Address 2501 Monument Avenue
Richmond, VA 232202618
Telephone 804 644-3041
Fax 804 643-4607
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1958
Former Names
Virginia Foundation for Architectural Education, Inc.1987
Virginia Center for Architecture2015
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
Projected Revenue $961,000.00
Projected Expenses $895,489.00
Additional Documents
Business Plan2016View

The Branch elevates awareness of the transformative power of architecture and design.




Impact Accomplishments:


  • Reached an increasing number of students to elevate appreciation of architecture.
  • Created four statewide education programs reaching an extended public audience.
  • Offered a spectrum of exhibitions, lectures, educational opportunities, and tours.


  • Negotiated a renewed lending relationship with more favorable loan arrangement and terms.
  • Established three additional endowment funds for preservation, education, and operations.
  • Cultivated stronger alliances with key constituent groups and related cultural    organizations.


  • Developed a strategy for replacement, repair, and maintenance of our historic home.
  • Continued the window conservation campaign and conducted specific restorations.
  • Shepherded an SUP amendment process collaboratively with neighbors and City of Richmond.


1)       Finances and Fundraising: Stabilize financial operations, resulting in net positive income to support debt reduction and a sustainable positive cash position, while increasing contributions received from fundraising activities.

2)      Programs and Exhibitions: Continue to offer a selection of exceptional exhibitions and associated programs for the benefit of members of the architecture profession, the design and construction industry, and the greater public throughout the state.

3)      Staffing: Reduce staffing costs while minimizing negative impact on fundraising, operation of the property, and execution of the Center’s programs.

4)      Facility Rentals: Appropriately maximize the income stream derived from the short- and long-term rental of the property and its indoor and outdoor spaces.

5)      Alliances: Strengthen relationships with representative neighborhood organizations to bolster the benefits of the Center to the community and leverage alliances with strategic partners to extend the reach of Center programs to a larger audience.

In order to sustain the current strength of programs (highly regarded architectural exhibits and well-attended educational offerings) and maintain the architectural integrity of the Center’s historic ‘home’ in the Branch House, needs for 2013 focus on financial stability:
Debt Reduction: The Center carries a debt of approximately $2.0 million, and the financial package concludes in May 2012 with a balloon payment of $2.06 million. This debt service and debt burden is limiting and represents the highest priority for 2013.
Cash Flow: The 2011 Business Plan developed in December 2010 projects a net income that can be used to retire debt and that plan has been adhered to through four solid quarters of development activity and other actions to derive the expected cash results from the plan.
Fundraising: Prior to 2009, fundraising totals for any given year approached the $1 million mark, while funds raised the last two years were a fraction of that figure. Dedicated attention to fundraising is the next priority and aggressive targets will be set and pursued.
 The Virginia Center for Architecture (now doing business as The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design) opened in April 2005 as an exciting and unique architecture museum as one of the first such institutions of its kind in the nation. The Center, located within the stately “Branch House” on Richmond’s famed Monument Avenue, quickly became a model for other architecture centers to emulate. There are now nearly twenty such centers across the United States, institutions that are dedicated to promoting an understanding of architecture through a museum setting. However, with its 28,000 square foot Tudor-revival mansion home designed by notable architect John Russell Pope, the VCA remains the largest and most preeminent.
The Center is focused on serving a statewide targeted audience of architecture students and institutions of higher education; cultural, civic, and preservation communities; members of the design and construction industry; K-12 teachers and schools; public officials; urban and community planners and developers; and those interested in lifelong learning. Also, as an architectural treasure in the historic Fan and Museum districts, the Center also serves the general Richmond public and regional tourists. 
The Virginia Center for Architecture has the presence -- both physically and programmatically -- to elevate the public’s awareness of and appreciation for architecture and architects. Through a host of creative and inspiring programs, the Center offers opportunities for Virginians to explore the transformative power and critical importance of architecture through exhibitions, educational programs, publications, lectures, symposia, scholarships, sponsored research, the Museum Shop, and tours of its restored historic landmark home - a museum in its own right. The Virginia Center for Architecture illustrates that historic preservation is not only about considering yesterday, but is also about understanding today and guiding tomorrow. The Branch House represents both its time and its place in history, but as the Center, it is artfully readapted to serve the needs and uses of a new public.
In 2015, the VCA took a monumental step by expanding it's mission to include all facets of design, and affirm our status as a museum by renaming to The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design. 
CEO Statement
 I was quite excited to take on the challenge of serving as the Virginia Center for Architecture’s new Executive Director beginning in January 2011. With a mission I have fully supported, both personally as an architect and professionally throughout my career, ensuring the Center's success has truly become my priority.
Since its founding in 1954, the Virginia Foundation for Architecture has led by example in the development of scholarship programs and later, into a broader educational agenda and property ownership. With the purchase of the Branch House and the subsequent transformation into the Virginia Center for Architecture, this legacy of leadership has continued as the VCA became one of the first centers for architecture in the United States. By building strong relationships with members of the architecture profession, the design and construction industry, and private citizens who love architecture, I expect the Center to continue its leadership in these emerging enterprises.
More locally, as an institution focused on architecture and design within the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Center has established a reputation that we shall continue to build upon. With dozens of exhibitions since its opening in 2005 and many more dozens of public programs, the Center has shown that architecture embodies a firm understanding of the past while simultaneously demonstrating an ability to envision the future. This capacity is unique, and our communities everywhere depend on the kind of public understanding and appreciation of architecture that the Center fosters as its main mission.
The greatest challenge for the institution has been identifying and obtaining regular and significant funding. Without proper financial underpinning, the exemplary exhibits and programs - let alone preservation of an historic property - cannot be maintained or sustained. Under my direction, the VCA has developed a comprehensive fundraising strategy that includes public and private divisions, taking full advantage of the potential for federal and state support as well as requesting private gifts from philanthropic foundations; corporations, businesses, and firms; and individuals.   These target audiences reach well beyond the design and construction industry, since the Center’s mission is grounded in elevating the greater public’s understanding and awareness of architecture's tremendous influence in our lives … through its physical and programmatic presence. 
~ Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, Executive Director
Board Chair Statement

Areas of Service
Areas Served
Board Chair
Board Chair Mrs. Laura B. Cameron
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Term Dec 2016 to Dec 2017
Board of Directors
Board Members
James Alexander Redmond Asset Management, LLC
Robert A. Boynton FAIABoynton Rothschild Rowland Architects PC
Sally Brown Community Volunteer
Laura B. Cameron Community Volunteer
Stephen A. Caudle Community Volunteer
Stephen A. Coor Hon VSAIARiverside Brick and Supply
John H. Crouse AIASaunders + Crouse Architects, LLC
Samuel W. Daniel Daniel & Company, Inc.
Walter M. Dotts, III Old House Authority
Helene Combs Dreiling FAIAThe Branch Museum of Architecture and Design
Lori Garrett AIA, LEEDGlave & Holmes
Meril Gerstenmaier HG Design Studio
Dana Gibson Dana Gibson, Inc.
Richard Wells Gresham AIA, LEED APE.T. Gresham Company, Inc.
Kathleen S. Kilpatrick Retired
Marc Moyers Community Volunteer
Kathryn T. Prigmore FAIA, NCARB, NOMA. CDTHDR Architecture, Inc.
Joseph Seipel Dean Emeritus, School of the Arts, VCU
Robert A. Steele AIABeyond Ordinary Boundaries Architecture, PC
William S. Talley AIAGensler
Thomas T. Winborne AIARetired
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 20
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 13
Female 8
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 80
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 25
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Program / Program Planning
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Advisory Board Members
T. Bernard Clements Movement Mortgage, LLC
G. William Greer Community Volunteer
Bruce Kay Markel Corporation Eckert
Thomas Lisk Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC
Calder Loth Retired
Vernon Mays Gensler
Will G. Payne Odell
Jacquelyn Pogue Community Volunteer
Craig Reynolds Ph.D.The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design
Evelina M. Scott AIACommunity Volunteer
Edwin Slipek Jr.Community Volunteer
Curtis Straub Towne Bank
Julie W. Weissend Dovetail Construction Company, Inc.
Fran Zehmer Community Volunteer
We are pleased to have increased our Bylaws-directed Board size from 24 to 25 persons in 2013.  
Executive Director
Executive Director Helene Combs Dreiling FAIA

Professional Experience

01.2011 - present: The Virginia Center for Architecture | Executive Director: Chief executive for museum and historic property, dedicated to developing the understanding of architecture and its influence on our lives, our communities, and our world through exhibitions, public programs, special events, and publications.

11.2009 - present: The Plum Studio, Ltd. | Roanoke, VA | President: Managing Principal of a specialty firm with expertise in architecture and design, program management, association/non-profit planning and facilitation, organizational consulting, fund-raising and grant-seeking, business writing, and artistic commerce.

04.2000 - 11.2009: The American Institute of Architects | Washington, DC:

6.2007 - 11.2009: Managing Director, Component Relations: Oversight of communications and service delivery to 280+ state and local components (chapters) including support of component leadership and executives, overseeing Grassroots Leadership Conference annually, and developing collaborative documents. 

09.2006 - 06.2007: Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Relationships: Member of Executive Team with overall management of AIA150 (the AIA’s sesquicentennial observance), the AIA’s strategic     initiatives (sustainability and integrated project delivery), and advancing relationships with the collaterals and related groups.

08.2002 - 09.2006: Team Vice President, AIA Community: Member of Executive Team, liaising with Board group as well as managing four AIA staff departments supporting member aspects of the AIA: Component Relations, Membership Services, Communities by Design, and Alliances; briefly included Government Relations.

04.2000 - 08.2002: Managing Director, Stakeholder Relations: Responsible for supporting member constituent groups, nurturing emerging professionals through programs/services/committee structures, bridging to architecture education, and cultivating alliances with collaterals and related professional groups. 

01.1989 - 04.2000: The Dreiling Partnership Architects, PC | Roanoke, VA | President: Managing Principal of a small, woman-owned business enterprise with expertise in residential remodeling and additions, custom homes, religious facilities, and small commercial projects; and expanded services in programming and technical writing.

06.1986 - 01.1989: Smithey & Boynton, PC | Roanoke, VA | Project Architect: Responsible for facilities planning, presentation preparation, feasibility studies, and programming for a large architectural and engineering firm specializing in educational and institutional work.

03.1984 - 06.1986: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation | Williamsburg, VA | Space Planner & Project Architect: Duties included supervising alterations to the Foundation’s 300,000+ square-feet of office space in both historic buildings and support facilities for the Architecture and Engineering Department.

Former CEOs
Jean W. Bower May 2009 - Dec 2010
John W. Braymer PhD, Hon VSAIANov 1986 - Mar 2009
Senior Staff
Penelope C. Fletcher Development Director
Craig A. Reynolds Ph.D.Museum Director
Full Time Staff 3
Part Time Staff 4
Volunteers 30
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 75
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Jan 2017
Management Succession Plan? Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
The Branch has worked diligently to enhance the existing relationships held with many partnering organizations, most importantly the Monument Avenue Preservation Society and the Fan District Association.  Additionally, we now have several formal student programs underway with Virginia Commonwealth University, with the Maggie Walker Governors School, and with the Math Science Innovation Center.  Other opporunities to create program- or project-based strategic alliances with related arts and cultural organizations are being explored.
We are presently identifying a series of projects throughout the state for which the VCA can serve as faclitator, integrator, and connector to provide a significant architectural "intervention" using a public/private partnership approach - on projects that might otherwise not be realized if shepherded solely by the local municipality.
Population Served General/Unspecified
Budget $0.00

12 campers start by exploring the nooks and crannies of The Branch House, igniting their interest in this fabulous house as a part of Richmond’s history, even exploring the beautiful architectural details of John Russell Pope’s magnificently designed chimneys. Next, they walk through The Fan to Pope’s other Richmond treasure, the building which is now the Science Museum of Virginia. As they explore on their walk through The Fan, they begin to see and understand design! Throughout the week they will explore their City, develop plans for its future, and begin to see the potential that design unleashes in their own lives.

Description Throughout the month of April, The Branch participates in city wide partnerships to spread awareness of the transformative power of design.
Description Rotating exhibitions are shown throughout the year. Examples include: The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley, VCUarts MFA Candidacy Graphic Design Exhibition, Resue The Box (in partnership with Virginia Tech Graduate Students), etc.
Description Each summer, a variety of lectures are presented that focus on different aspects of architecture and design. Past speakers included: Calder Loth, and Dr. Craig A. Reynolds
CEO/ED/Board Comments
We at The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design are working diligently - and successfully - to stabilize our current financial position, offer expanded programming and outreach, and provide for our institution's future security.  The Board of Trustees and staff have taken significant steps to assure that The Branch is solid and sure by accomplishing much in the broad areas of financial health, fundraising, outreach across state, strategic alliances, exhibitions/programs, public outreach, and historic preservation.
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $961,000.00
Projected Expenses $895,489.00
Spending Policy N/A
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$178,048$196,270$463,486
Investment Income, Net of Losses$66,817$57,851$91,219
Membership Dues------
Special Events$12,772----
Revenue In-Kind------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$193,430$317,912$443,332
Administration Expense$62,259$77,607$419,309
Fundraising Expense$118,822$160,338$1,000
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.190.560.97
Program Expense/Total Expenses52%57%51%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue34%82%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$2,883,779$2,909,202$4,437,345
Current Assets$2,640,223$2,511,698$235,393
Long-Term Liabilities$0--$1,881,935
Current Liabilities$395,981$425,957$217,058
Total Net Assets$2,487,798$2,483,245$2,338,352
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities6.675.901.08
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%42%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 11/2015View
Foundation Comments
  • IRS Form 990s represent the financial position of the Virginia Foundation for Architecture.
  • Audited financial statements represent the combined financial position of both the Virginia Foundation for Architecture and its subsidiary, the Branch House.