2019–20 Annual Report [PDF]

The Vision of the Jefferson Trust

To allow great ideas at the University of Virginia to come to fruition and demonstrate the powerful benefits of donor-led, university-based grantmaking.

The Mission of the Jefferson Trust

The mission of the Jefferson Trust is to foster a dynamic community of alumni and friends of the University of Virginia who provide catalytic grants in support of innovation and leadership. This donor-led initiative invests in people whose efforts can have a positive impact on the student experience, the University community, or society at large.

The History of the Jefferson Trust

The Jefferson Trust was founded by the Alumni Association of the University of Virginia during the 2005–6 academic year to provide grant funding for initiatives that will enhance the student and faculty experiences at and overall reputation of the University of Virginia. As a state university, the University of Virginia has seen a steady decline in state support since 1991, making dollars for innovative new projects even more difficult to come by.  Given this climate, the Board of Managers of the Alumni Association saw a specific need for supporting the University of Virginia with unrestricted dollars to address funding shortfalls. The Trust was established to raise unrestricted funds from interested Alumni donors and was unique in that these same Alumni donors would be actively responsible for deciding how those funds would be committed across Grounds. The original target fundraising goal for the Trust was $10 million. Providing alumni with an on-going voice on how their donations would be applied was a novel feature of the Trust and has been a key factor in its success to date.

Since inception, the Jefferson Trust has grown to more than $31 million in assets. During the 2019–20 academic year, it gave out more than $960,000 in grant funding, bringing its fourteen-year total to over $8.9 million in grants to fund 227 new initiatives spanning a broad range of schools, departments, student groups, and academic centers at the University.  This generosity has been made possible by the steadfast support of the Alumni Association, the donations of a group of 76 Trustees, each of whom has committed $150,000 or more to build the grant endowment to its current level, and the income from two other assets which have been used to fund operating expenses.

The Trustees of the Jefferson Trust

The trustee board is comprised of three types of trustees: Donor Trustees, Appointed Trustees and a Permanent Trustee. Of the current 76 member trustee board, the majority are Donor Trustees who have contributed or pledged $150,000 or more to the Jefferson Trust. Four Appointed Trustees sit on the board as the result of their positions on the Board of Managers of the Alumni Association; two of whom are the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Jefferson Trust.  In addition, the President of the Alumni Association participates on the Jefferson Trust board as the Permanent Trustee. All trustees are invited to participate in the business of the Trust, attend annual board meetings, review grant proposals and serve on any of the committees of the board.

Learn more about our grant process »