2023-24 Annual Cycle is Open

Want to start something new? We can fund it.

UVA students, faculty, and staff: do you have a crazy idea but need funding? The Jefferson Trust Annual Grant Cycle is open for the 2023-24 academic year!

Proposals can come from students, faculty, and staff for a variety of new programs and projects—everything from starting a new student group to supporting an innovative research project to seeding a University initiative. The Annual Cycle is intended for requests with budgets ranging from $10,000 to over $300,000, but there are no minimums and maximums vary based on available funds.

Key dates to remember:

  • August 2023: LOI forms are available in the grant portal and can be submitted now!
    • Every Annual Cycle grant starts with a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), which is an opportunity to simply explain the idea (no need to justify it or cite sources; less is more). Requests are reviewed on a rolling basis.
    • Early LOI entries (before September 15) have a chance for edits and resubmission.
  • October 1: Last day to submit a finalized LOI. From there, selected LOIs move to the proposal stage.
  • October 31: Proposal deadline. After review, the final batch moves forward for in-person pitches to the full Board of Trustees.
  • January 2024: Proposal pitches
  • February 2024: Grants awarded.

We encourage you to plan ahead! You may preview the LOI questions and the Annual Cycle Proposal. When you’re ready to submit an LOI, log on to our Grant Portal.

Annual Cycle Tips

UVA grant seekers, are you already working on your proposal or considering applying for a Jefferson Trust grant? Consider these tips:

  1. Keep your Letter of Inquiry (LOI)/proposal form succinct. The key is to sell the idea first and not get lost in extraneous details.
  2. Use numbers to illustrate the scope and scale of your project whenever possible. Trustees want to clearly see the potential impact of your project—on the student experience, University community, or society at large.
  3. Budgets are important, so double-check your numbers and make sure it all adds up.
  4. Write for a lay audience. Not all reviewers are subject-matter experts in your field, so ask someone who is not affiliated with your project to read the LOI/proposal to see if they understand what you are presenting.
  5. Focus on your project’s novelty, uniqueness, or the specific niche it fills. The Trust has recently moved into funding research projects but is limited to efforts that bring students into the lab or is completely new. Graduate thesis projects, existing projects, or projects that clearly could be funded elsewhere are not likely to receive a Trust grant.

Have additional questions? Visit our grant seekers page to view our grant guidelines and contact our Director of Grants, Amy Bonner, at 434-243-9078 or abonner@virginia.edu. An idea is more likely to be funded if we have a chance to work with the grant seeker. You may preview the LOI questions and the Annual Cycle Proposal.

Grant Projects in the News

Starr Hill Nursing Pathways (Photo: Dan Addison)

Catch up on Trust grant projects recently featured in the news:

Year two of the Starr Hill Pathways program occurred this summer! See features of the camp in the Daily Progress, CBS19 News, and NBC29. In addition, the program has received additional grant funding to further programs, research, and support. Learn more from CBS19 News.

The Holsinger Studio Portrait Project’s “Visions of Progress” exhibition has ended, but additional programming is being planned and offered this fall. Check out this UVA Today feature to see what is in store.

Gideon French received a flash grant in 2021 to lead a team of undergraduate researchers in the digitization, transcription, and curation of private letters written by Rev. John W. Alvord, a Civil War Army Chaplain and Freedmen’s Bureau Superintendent of Schools and Finance. See this blog post about the work involved, history uncovered, and next steps in the project.

To stay up to date on grant news, follow us on Instagram, Facebook , and Twitter.

Announcing New Chair and Vice-Chair of the Jefferson Trust

Alex Arriaga and Jenn Nisi

As we begin a new fiscal year, we also welcome a new chair, Alex Arriaga (Col ’87), and vice chair, Jenn Nisi (Engr ’98). Both are slated to serve two-year terms and guide the Trust towards new grantmaking and fundraising heights.

Alex Arriaga is the founder and partner at Strategy for Humanity LLC, a consulting firm that works with mission-driven organizations and those who fund them to achieve meaningful results. She has deep expertise on a breadth of global issues and policy development and a successful track record facilitating organization-wide priority-setting, strategic planning, and change management.

Earlier in her career, Alex held leadership roles at the White House, US Congress, and large international nonprofits. She has served as the Vice-Chair of the Jefferson Trust for the past two years, has been on the Board of Trustees since 2012, and serves on several Boards focused on education, disability inclusion, refugees, and human rights. Alex is bilingual and of Spanish and Chilean descent.

Jenn Nisi has been a Jefferson Trust Trustee since 2019. She is General Manager for Innovation in the Microsoft Industry Solution Group, helping customers achieve business outcomes through Digital Transformation and Process reengineering. In her more than 25 years with Microsoft, Jenn has served in various roles including Chief Technology Officer, Director of Global Workforce Planning, and P&L Leader for the Americas Industry Solutions Organization.

In 2003, Jenn established Sprout Creek Capital, which invests in early-stage seed startups, established technology funds, and new businesses in the Hudson Valley area. She brings her experience in scaling delivery and customer success organizations to founders throughout the Hudson Valley and the New York Metro Area. She continues to sit on the Board of Trustees for Dutchess Day School, a pre-k through 8th grade private school in Millbrook, NY.

Alex and Jenn bring extensive professional experience and a passion for all things UVA to their new roles. We look forward to the great years ahead!