Annual Grant Cycle Updated & Open!

We fund great ideas. To apply, start with a Letter of Inquiry.

The Jefferson Trust Annual Cycle application is open for the 2021-22 academic year, and we’ve streamlined our process! We have implemented a two-step application to help grant seekers refine their project and opportunity for funding. Applicants must now complete a short Letter of Inquiry (LOI), which will be reviewed to determine if their proposal moves forward to the full application. Letters of Inquiry will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with notifications made within two weeks of LOI submission. In addition, the full application has been revised and simplified.

Timeline of New Process:

  1. Now – LOI forms are currently available in the grant portal and may be submitted any time prior to October 1!
  2. October 1, 2021 – Last day to submit a LOI. LOIs submitted after 10/1 will NOT be eligible to apply.
  3. October 25, 2021 – Full applications due for approved LOIs
  4. January 28, 2022 – Some applicants will be asked to meet with the board to provide more information.
  5. Early February 2022 – Funding status notifications sent to applicants.

The spring Flash Funding cycles will not be impacted by the LOI change and will be conducted with the simplified one-step application document. We encourage you to plan ahead, register to participate in our upcoming Grants Information Session, or contact Amy, Director of Grants & Oversight, with questions.

Light at the End of Tunnel

Astronomical constellations digitally projected onto the interior dome of the Rotunda. This project was funded by the Jefferson Trust.

This time last year we had no idea what the future would hold. Everyone on Grounds and across the Country was masked, and markets were stagnant, but we were “alone together.” We were walking into a tunnel not knowing where it would lead but knowing we had to move forward.

There were rays of light along the way. In the Trust’s 15th year, we hit records in proposal funding requests of $4,063,323 and grant funding of $1,112,157. The University of Virginia Investment Management Company posted phenomenal returns leading to dramatic endowment growth. Zoom proficiency made Trustees halfway around the world seem as close as colleagues in Charlottesville.

As the tunnel’s end grows brighter, the path forward is clear and full of optimism.

The Trust welcomes a new Chair, Sharon Owlett (Law ’75), and Vice Chair, Alex Arriaga (Col ’87). Both are in their second Trustee terms and have a deep understanding of the organization and what lies ahead.

“The future of The Jefferson Trust is all about impact,” says Sharon.

“Every idea we fund is designed to change lives, from student-led projects to University-wide initiatives. The strength of our endowment and the dedication of our Trustees and staff, past and present, have given us the foundation not only to fund innovation, but to fund it first.

“We want all of the creative, exciting minds we have here at UVA to have only one thought: Let’s take this to the Trust.”

A new annual grants process will help bring those new ideas to fruition. The Trustees have implemented a letter of inquiry (LOI) system to help grant-seekers develop the best proposals possible, which we hope will increase the yield of proposals receiving funding as well as allowing funding at larger amounts. This development will be supported by an increased annual cycle funding amount of $1.25 million.

As students, faculty and staff return to Grounds, the Trust is ready to help chart the next path for UVA.

Grant Projects in the News

A small autonomous car built by the Cavalier Autonomous Racing Club

Many grant projects are working over the summer, and their efforts have been highlighted in news outlets!

The Cavalier Autonomous Racing Club is testing, training, and preparing to race at the Indy Autonomous Challenge in October. To take a look behind the scenes and follow their journey, visit the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s YouTube page.

UVA’s School of Architecture arctic exhibition has opened at the Venice Biennale; the team received a Trust flash grant in 2020.

Trust funding is supporting UVA’s partnership and work in the “Green Book” digital project, which received a flash grant in 2021.

UVA Edge, a 2021 annual grant recipient from the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, has recently launched a partnership with Univision to provide employees access to higher education workforce development.

Teachers in the Movement received a Trust grant in 2014 as they began capturing early oral histories from educators who taught between 1950 and 1980 throughout the South. They’ve launched a podcast featuring the voices and stories of those teachers.

The Buzz about Infrastructure

Infrastructure. It’s becoming a bit of a buzz word, but what does it actually mean? According to the Oxford dictionary, it comprises “the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.” So infrastructure is…everything!

Will PikeWill Pike (Engr ’16) serves as a regional vice president at Pike Corporation, which is described as “a leading provider of turnkey infrastructure solutions for electric and gas utilities, as well as telecommunications companies.” So, what does “infrastructure” mean today and what does the future hold? The Trust Staff asked Will Pike to find out.

Jefferson Trust: What’s happening in infrastructure?

Will Pike: Infrastructure has certainly been a big conversation topic nationally, and events such as Winter Storm Uri in Texas last February and President Biden’s legislative agenda have brought critical infrastructure even more into the spotlight. Our company actively serves hundreds of utilities and cooperatives across the nation, and I can say, without question, this is the most exciting time to be in our space. The levels of investment in grid modernization and hardening coupled with a focus on technological innovation are unprecedented. These opportunities do not come without their challenges though. Our industry faces an aging skilled workforce and must continuously seek new ways to attract and develop the talent of tomorrow.

Jefferson Trust: What does the future of our electric grid look like?

Will Pike: We will continue to see technology as the driving force for not only the operation and resiliency of the grid, but also more broadly in the context of how work is performed and how critical infrastructure personnel collaborate in real time across complex systems and large geographies. With my engineering background, I’m particularly excited by the opportunities for software and data science innovation. These two areas will be critical to empowering people to accomplish more with the tools they have at their disposal and developing more data-driven approaches to skills assessment and development, which will help to compress the overall training curve for future infrastructure workers.

Jefferson Trust: Is renewable energy a big driver?

Will Pike: The landscape of energy generation changed over the last decade with greater focus on distributed energy resources, such as wind, solar and battery storage. We have been heavily involved with solar projects as well as battery storage, which we see as a critical part of the future grid. The combination of smart grid technology and storage resources, such as large-scale battery storage, will better equip utilities to manage peak demand scenarios as well as provide sustainable reliability and resiliency improvements. We are also following the advancement of electric vehicles very closely and see considerable opportunity in the buildout of charging infrastructure and the possibility to leverage EVs as distributed energy resources.

Jefferson Trust: What role does/can UVA play in this space?

Will Pike: I think the University is extraordinarily well-positioned to be a catalyst for infrastructure advancement given its extensive depth across disciplines, access to industry leaders and policymakers, and highly respected national reputation. Students at the University are also fortunate to have such a strong and diverse alumni network, which is an incredible resource for anyone interested in pursuing careers or launching entrepreneurial ventures related to infrastructure.