Marty Leonard Community Chapel receives architecture award

Marty Leonard Chapel

The Marty Leonard Community Chapel on the campus of Lena Pope in Fort Worth has received the 25-Year Award from the American Institute of Architects Fort Worth

The award recognizes architectural design of enduring significance, and is presented by the Fort Worth chapter of the AIA to a project that has stood the test of time for 25 to 35 years. The honoree must serve as an example that elevates the general quality of architectural practices, and help continue to establish a standard of excellence against which all architects can measure performance.

The building of the chapel was influenced by the actions of its namesake, Fort Worth businesswoman and philanthropist Marty Leonard, a longtime leading advocate and supporter of Lena Pope. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to help create hope, happiness and success for children and families. To accomplish this, Lena Pope focuses on counseling and education, providing mental health, substance abuse treatment and family support services.

Fundraising for the chapel began in the 1980s, and more than 300 donors contributed to realizing Leonard’s dream.

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Opened to the community in 1990, the chapel was built to serve the youth and families of Lena Pope, and today also provides a setting for weddings, renewals of vows, church services and other ceremonies.

The chapel was designed by award-winning architect, E. Fay Jones (1921 – 2004), who his design as an “instrument for nature’s music as light and shadows move and change throughout the day,” a place where visitors will “think their loftiest and best thoughts.”

“It is a validation of the design genius and AIA Gold Medal winner, E. Fay Jones” said Marty Leonard of the award. “Fort Worth is fortunate to have several buildings that have received architectural recognition. When the chapel was named the second favorite building to the Kimbell Art Museum by the local AIA, it was such an honor. Now 25 years later, the chapel is again being recognized as an iconic structure. What pleases me most is how much the chapel continues to be used for weddings, funerals, church services, musical concerts and other occasions, which is why I chose the name, Marty Leonard Community Chapel.”

Lena Pope operates Chapel Hill Academy, an open-enrollment public charter school for more than 500 elementary students in South Fort Worth. The agency also has an Early Learning Center that provides quality early learning opportunities for 115 children ages six weeks to five years. For more information, visit