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.